He was small, dark and handsome

Grief. It comes in all shapes and sizes. We lost our beloved dog Gus earlier this year. Suddenly and unexpectedly he was gone. The shock was immense. And then the grief set in. You know, that raw pain, that deep wrenching ache that nothing can stem, the guilt that maybe if we’d been with him we could have done something. I cried for days. It’s like losing a member of the family isn’t it.

I’ve heard it said that it is better to love, and to risk losing the one you love, then never to have loved at all. And there’s a truth in this, isn’t there. But it doesn’t diminish the pain. And I’ve been around emotional work long enough to know I just had to feel it, to experience those uncomfortable feelings, to let them move through me. And I knew I had to help my kids do the same. Many people don’t realise that when we resist our feelings or worse still bury or repress them, it just makes them worse. And sometimes they can get ‘stuck’ and can plague us years later, even after we’ve forgotten why they were there in the first place. Because there’s a universal law, that what we resist persists.

A few days after losing Gus, I found I could begin to step back and observe the pain. I noticed the pain in my throat, my chest, my stomach. I gave myself permission to just notice it and feel its depth. It didn’t hurt any less, but I knew that it would speed up the healing. Well meaning friends of course told me I shouldn’t feel guilty, but I did and there was no point denying it. Because I knew I had to accept my feelings and really feel them. Not judge myself, just feel them.  I wonder, have you ever tried not to feel something? Have you ever tried to fight a feeling? I’ve found it just makes it so much worse. Because it’s difficult to lie to ourselves, isn’t it.

Feelings are what they are. Because they come from somewhere deeper inside of us that’s not under our conscious control. We get triggered, and wham, there’s a feeling, isn’t there. It’s like they’re automatic. And many people don’t realise that one of the kindest things we can do for ourselves is to allow ourselves to feel what we feel for as long as we need to…

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