gratitude of grief

May 30th, 2016

This weekend I attended a retreat and gave a workshop that I called The Gratitude of Grief. After the recent loss of my incredible cocker spaniel, Cooper, grief has been palpable. Losing a pet is a different flavor of grief because pets (especially dogs) touch a very different part of our hearts. They live in our homes and our hearts. They bring us unconditional love. They provide 24/7 entertainment. The loss of a human and the loss of a pet are like apples and oranges–they really can’t be compared.

In addition to the depth of the loss, I believe that gratitude is a powerful tool at a time of grief. When we celebrate the life of a loved one, we honor the fun, joy and love that we shared. So celebrate. Celebrate their memory. Share stories. Ask others for their stories and memories. Honor the intimacy and shared experiences. This doesn’t take away from the tears and the sadness of the loss, but they can live side-by-side. Staying open-hearted allows us to love again. I recently adopted another cocker spaniel mix a few months before Cooper died. I’m still not sure about the timing of introducing a new addition at that time, but now my challenge is to make room in my heart for Bowie and to carry all of these recent experiences with respect and tenderness. Gratitude and grief…

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