Grief. Its processing and accepting it into our daily routine.
- Peanut butter.
- Returning home from work.
- Grocery shopping.
- Being able to unexpectedly stay out all night.
Up until recently these were all very random, uneventful items and events…….. Until the beanbag incident.
I thought I had processed my grief following the passing of our much-loved and cuddled Staffy, Xena.
I had found myself recalling so many shared memories happily and with a smile. Odd moments attracted nostalgia, a tear or two, a sigh and a pause but life was continuing on since Xena checked into Rainbow Bridge.
For the past 6 years, rights to a resident beanbag had been mutually shared. More mutually by me but it was considered dual occupancy. Xena had the beanbag whilst I positioned myself, yogi-like, on top of the remaining beans. Fair deal (in her big brown eyes).
It was a mobile occupancy. Moments shared in our bean-bag included the deck, in front of the TV, on holidays but mainly in The Healing Room where we spent many hours working together.
To then, one day, have sole rights to said bean bag was not a moment for celebration. There was just too much space and I was not comfortable. The multitude of beans brought emotions back to the surface which I’d considered processed, not dormant.
Xena joined me during that moment of resurging emotions but I still had all the beans. There was no requirement to contort around her little body, allowing her to snooze undisturbed. I felt her laughing warmly as I wrote this. Suggesting I make myself uncomfortable for nostalgia’s benefit. I graciously declined and thanked her for her advice, making a mental note to get more beans. My bottom didn’t sink to the floor with two of us in it. Maybe it did, I just never noticed.
Just as I never noticed the significance of the items on the above list either. They were just items and events prior to Xena’s ‘departure’.
Suddenly, every aisle in the supermarket became a reminder of Xena.
Grocery shopping morphed from a part-present meander into a teary blurred dash as each aisle housed an item fit for our Warrior Princess.
The uneventful process of plastering a layer of peanut butter onto a slice of toast became a monumental mountain of emotions as I revisited Xena’s choice of food in her final days.
The lack of clippety-clop as her nails crossed the hardwood floorboards to welcome you home, turned silence into a deafening emptiness.
And housework turned me into a heartless traitor. How could I possibly vacuum her hairs away?
I felt like I was erasing her slowly as each hair was sucked up.
Washing her blankets and bandanas were not cleansing experiences. Who would have known housework could become such a conflict of so many emotions? We did have a giggle to ourselves when I suggested to Xena maybe I should never clean the house again!
Throughout this whole processing of grief, a process which will keep me company for this lifetime, I was graced with the comfort that I could still connect with Xena. I had not fully redeveloped the ability to communicate with other animals before our beautiful girl, Ethel, relocated to Rainbow Bridge and found her passing much more traumatic.
With Xena, she had prepared us for her transition and brought in so much support for herself, and us, while she went through that process. We connect often which brings so much comfort.
Grief still pops by to say hello and acts as a gentle, sometimes not so gentle, reminder of how much love we shared. If we hadn’t shared so much love, we would not feel so much grief.
Grief is merely love wearing a different mask.
Other emotions which accompanied the grief, namely guilt, disappointment, regret and loss have subsided. Xena has walked me through that minefield. Interestingly, a dear friend mentioned recently how she has surrendered to her situation and experience of a very turbulent pregnancy. I noted simultaneously how I have surrendered to my grief and its process during this experience. As my friend surrenders to her challenging experience of creating life, I surrender to the events surrounding a loved one leaving this lifetime. I surrendered totally to the events surrounding Xena’s Transition.
It was suggested to me that I had maybe processed my guilt too quickly. But by feeling guilt and regret would suggest I had an option of controlling Xena’s Transition. Maybe I did, but to have taken the process of her passing into my own control would have been for self-benefit. To relocate control of another being’s final choices during their lifetime, away from them, would have been unjust and undignified for anyone, especially for our Warrior Princess.
Allowing another to Transition as s/he chooses, is the most selfless act of love we can offer them.
It is often said that when a loved one passes into Spirit, we feel a part of us goes with them, like they are taking part of us with them. There is always a part of us in a loved one when they pass on and they are in us, and will continue to be. Like the ocean when waves move along the beach, droplets will be left on the beach and evaporate in the heat.
We will move on physically from one another as our energies change but we continue to be part of the same consciousness.
The droplets remain part of the ocean and always return there over time. That is the special personal bond and connection we share with loved ones for eternity.
Prior to our beautiful, Xena, Transitioning into Spirit last year, she took a moment during a Reiki session to show me an image of what she called the Rose of Life.
It was an image of twisted plant roots spiralling up into a tower. Humans were entwined amongst the roots which spiralled up to a higher platform of consciousness.
Xena continued to explain how, during the process of Transition, a Soul who has connected strongly with another Soul in the physical world may choose for part of her/himself to leave when a loved one, or someone they have formed a strong connection with in the physical realm, passes in Spirit. The process involved specific Souls combining energetically while in physical form.
It got me thinking, is it possible, then, to be actually mourning and missing a part of our own Soul when a loved one returns to Spirit?
It would explain why grief affects us differently as individuals and with each individual relationship. There is the obvious lack of physical connection which we lose and mourn when a loved one passes. There is the removal of verbal and visual contact which we also grieve for, but there is something much deeper which Xena was showing me during that Reiki session.
Could it be this disconnection from a part of our own Soul which makes us feel so lost and alone after the passing of someone we are strongly connected to?
Is this why grief is an experience as individual as we are? Something we all process differently and in our own time because we are, in fact, readjusting at a Soul level?
For anyone who has ‘lost’ someone they loved, the physical pain within their heart can feel unbearable to continue living with. To some, it is, and there are numerous instances of people Transitioning soon after their beloved has passed, even when they were in reportedly good health prior. Could this simply be that their Soul has decided to fully join their connected Soul on their return to Spirit? Maybe their joint purpose in the physical realm was fulfilled.
The imagery and process Xena shared would also explain why we often still feel someone we love around us after s/he has moved on. Because our Souls have combined, part of her/him will still be within us and vice-versa. They never completely leave us while we are so entwined energetically. There are numerous sayings such as “You’ll always live on in my heart”. “Forever in my heart”. “Safe in my heart forever” etc. We feel this within us. There is a deeper level of understanding that someone is, and always will be, in our heart because we are so interconnected.
Knowing that part of a loved one does stay with us, and us with them, after leaving physically brings enormous comfort. It did for me when Xena passed. I realised that we never really ‘lose’ someone when they Transition, nor do they lose us.
Xena’s Transition was still painful while I processed the grief of her physical absence and some sadness and hurt do occasionally return when I have more to process, but by understanding what she patiently and lovingly showed me has made it bearable and easier to live with. I feel her existence within me constantly and by connecting with her energy, I connect with Xena.
Although we are not all able to physically see those who Transition after they move on, we can begin to feel and sense them around us if we take time to be still and connect with them from our hearts. For many, this may take some time following the period of grieving because we are busy processing many emotions. It can be challenging to be truly still enough to connect, but it will come and when it does, it will bring enormous comfort, love and understanding.
So I embrace my grief as a continual reminder of my love for a very special Warrior Princess and encourage anyone else living with grief to do the same.
Allow it to teach and guide you whenever you need to process another aspect or emotion involved in the experience.
The communications with Xena have delivered comfort, understanding and release. It is a comfort I am wanting all others to be able to experience themselves which is why, with the guidance of Xena and many other patient animals, we aim to bring Animal Communication to as many people as possible.