Last week I lost one of my best friends. My beautiful German shepherd Bear. I’m still grieving and processing this sudden death and I’ve experienced a wide range of emotions. Grief and mourning a loss is so personal and subjective. It is a lonely and exhausting experience. No one is immune from it, it is all part of life. Which is why I want to share some things that I have learnt in the past week.
- Nothing about grief makes sense. We feel hurt, upset, angry and confused. We lose perspective and rational thought. We hide from it. We wear it as a badge. Grief is a perplexing state and its because of that we should stop analysing it. Don’t question how long you should grieve for or even how you should feel. Just feel the emotions as they come. Don’t label it or justify it. Just be. Because this too shall pass.
- Lean on your friends and family. It can be difficult to explain certain events and circumstances and therefore telling people you are grieving can seem really daunting. Only tell those who love you and have your back. Other people will find out in time but let your friends and family in because they will hold you up. When you only see darkness around you, let them bring the light in.
- Feel the emotions but don’t linger too long. Becoming consumed by grief means that you become lost yourself. Death should not cause anyone to forget what it means to be alive. So be sad, be angry and hurt but remember to view them as temporary states of being. This is not always easy when the pain is freshest and no one has the right to tell you when to look ahead. Be gentle with yourself and support yourself through the pain.
- Numbing the pain is not the answer. There will be times when you want to erase the bad feelings and make it all go away. You’ll also want to protect yourself from ever feeling like this again. The problem with this is that when you protect yourself from the negative feelings you will never experience the positive feelings. Life is about the light and the dark. We have to experience both to get a true appreciation of both. When the pain becomes to much, lean on your friends and family. There is support all around you.
I feel so blessed to have had Bear in my life. He was an amazing companion. He most definitely changed my life. There will always be a hole in my heart, which I would never want to fill. Nothing will ever take his place. So as sad as this good bye is, I’m grateful to still have the memories.
For those of you who are grieving, my heart goes out to you. Please find support and remember you are not alone. Contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 if you need to talk to somebody.