A recent experience supporting a friend who has lost her small dog, a treasured soul companion who had seen her through many life crises, has served to highlight how important it is to be provided with some strategies to cope at this time.
It is now well documented that those of us who enjoy living in harmony with multi-species suffer very intensely when animal companions are dying. Many find the void almost unendurable to cope with. Unfortunately, not everyone understands the depth of grief associated with the passing of an animal companion.
If you are anticipating or coping with a significant loss in your life and wish to better understand the grief that accompanies such loss, you may need to spend some time connecting with someone who has had personal experience.
Having experienced considerable loss, I have found my own way through grief many times. As one who’s always wanted and needed animals in my life, over the years I’ve loved, lost and mourned a number of cherished companion animals as well.
Last year I formally graduated as a Master of Social Work but over the years I have helped individuals understand and cope with their grief. As a former volunteer at the Melbourne City Mission, I worked with carers who were mourning the loss of their partners and family. I have also supported a number of friends who have lost cherished animals. The Temple of Solace offers visitors who have signed in a safe place to express their grief. All you need is a WordPress account.
My years of bereavement counseling have taught me that grief is indifferent to the species of the loved one who was lost. I believe that anyone who loves greatly in life and grieves deeply in loss is deserving of whatever respect, caring and support I can offer.
This site was designed to meet the needs of those who are mourning the loss of their loved ones, whether human or animal. Whatever your particular circumstances may be, I hope that you will feel welcome and that you will find some comfort here.
If you need personal support I charge a minimal, one-off fee and I will maintain contact via email and offer creative suggestions to help ease the pain.
An elderly woman calls her country’s emergency hotline. Her 95-year-old husband is suffering from “complications”, she informs the operator.
But when police show up on her doorstep, they discover the man was not in need of medical attention at all. The couple was just so lonely they fabricated the story out of desperation for someone to talk to. So the cops did what anybody with a heart and a pulse would do; they sat with the couple “for a brew and a chat“.
This true story out of the UK is a bittersweet tale that betrays a widespread but largely hidden social tragedy; we are failing our elderly.
A 2013 survey by Australian community care franchise Just Better Care found that loneliness and social isolation was the primary concern of elderly people living at home, eclipsing financial worries, lack of independence, and loss of mobility.
Read More and take action
Ben Usher writes about the grief associated with the loss of animal companions. I have never been embarrassed to show my grief over their deaths. It is only those who have not shared an intense bond with animals that cannot understand the sense of loss and the associated devastation.
After facing one death of a significant other after another, and another, words stuck well below my throat. I was silenced and spent many years lying fallow. Time, adjustment, resettling and reading articles like these have helped to finally break the silence.
Most of us live in parts of the country where there is a distinct change of seasons. Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall each have their own unique qualities. Grieving is also like the seasons – there are a variety of events that we experience as we grieve, much as we experience a series of events as the seasons change.
So, as we explore these seasons of grief, let us turn our reflections to the power of these seasons of grief – pre-grief, a time to grieve, a time to heal and renewal.
Sometimes when I can’t sleep I walk through my grandparents’ old house in my head. I sit in the breakfast nook and watch as my grandmother shakes from a jar the handful of raw almonds she would eat each morning. Or I watch myself – I’m six and wearing a dress Grandma crocheted for me – pester her for the liquorice allsorts she always kept at the back of a cupboard.
Summer’s here and Canada-wide, tomatoes are in the ground, mine included.
I live alone now, and at 61 years of age, I have little need for all the food I gr ow. But I do love my own produce, my pesto made with home-grown garlic and basil, which lasts me into the following summer.
I have been thinking of my connection to the land, of closely observing the daily, seasonal and yearly changes that occur. I like that every day something is happening: Another rhododendron opening its buds, the daffodils dying back, the asparagus poking out of the ground, the hummingbird flying past to the flowering red currant, beetles mating.
There is an undeniable sadness to Ireland. The history of the country is mired in despair. Littered across landscape are the ruins of celtic Christian abbeys, Norman castles, famine houses abandoned in the 1840s and more recent homes left during times of trouble.
I spent the month of May, 2011 out in the desolate uplands that mark the border between County Kerry and County Cork. Day after day crows swept across the windswept hills, their mournful, lonely cry echoing across the wilderness. Photographing the landscape became a way for me to connect with the spirit of the place.
It is hard to describe how I felt during this time. The landscape over there has a power, a potency and an energy that speaks of ancient despair and grief but also of something far deeper –there is a sense that the land is inhabited by a spirit as old as time – a vast and essentially unknowable spirit that transcends the limitations of human life spans. The ancient goddess Sheela still lives amongst the craggy rocks and misty mountains. The plaintive cry of the crows wheeling in the wind echo her cry.
Historically Ireland is a place people leave. This exodus continues today as the global economic crisis bites deeply into the Irish economy. Young people leave for America and Australia as soon they graduate. Others wish they could go. My own daughter is among them. Her vengeful ex-husband will not sign the papers for the children to come to Australia.
I pray for Ireland and all her people.