By Sarah Tolmie
“My dog died. He was my constant companion these last 17 years on my own. I have had many griefs in my life. I lost my husband 15 years ago. My brother only 2 months ago. I feel overwhelmed by the grief and the tears just come and don’t seem to stop. This grief seems so different. I feel shocked I feel it so strongly.”
Every dog loving human will understand your pain and sorrow. There is no need to feel embarrassed or ashamed at the uncontrollable outpour. It is natural. It is necessary. It is beautiful.
There is a special undiluted, unconditional love we reserve for our pets. They place no conditions on us. Our relationship agreement is totally simple. They get to be the dog and we are the human who does everything for them. The love flows purely, unmitigated by expectations, disappointments and misunderstandings. Dog and human become a single unit in many ways because their existence depends entirely on us – food & water, shelter & love – and we happily orient our lives around them because the payback is simple love. It’s a truly wondrous evolving of nature that an animal has become so domesticated and part of our pack. Dogs have behaviourally evolved to appeal to us through love. They are the ultimate Masters of Love.
And as such, no wonder they take on the role as ‘best friend’, ‘fur children’ and more. These monikers are not just playful names, they are real. We tell our dogs our fears and secrets; they lean into us when we are sad and alone; they bookend our morning awakenings and night time completings. They can be our most intimate companions.
I wonder if you can try to look at the grief that you are feeling and cannot help but express as a real privilege and honour. A ‘peak experience’ in life & love even! The pureness of your grief, uncomplicated, untainted, is like being pierced in the heart by a light laser of pure love energy. It is a ‘thoroughbred’ feeling so intense – so painful, because the love was so beautiful and real. Do not be afraid of this feeling, as intense as it is. It is one of life’s pinnacle achievements, to have experienced such real, authentic and simple love. You have been blessed.
Lean into the feeling when you can.Those moments alone when you can freely surrender to your tears, cry dear one, cry. Do it 100%. Those tears cannot hurt you more and instead, they will help in time to allow the sharp pain to soften and gentle. I PROMISE, when you allow your sadness to have its time, it will not overstay its welcome. Sadness and Happiness live together. Sadness is the essential doorway you must walk through to know happiness. Create an altar for your beloved pooch. Give thanks for the love, companionship and good times. Cry when you need to and I PROMISE your heart will one day again relax and exhale fully and smile at the memories when you think of your beloved dog.
Sarah Tolmie – Life & Love: Sarah is a marriage therapist, life & love and relationship coach, end–of–life consultant, an independent and bespoke funeral director and holistic celebrant. She provides holistic care, mentoring, guidance, healing and transformation for individuals, couples and families at their most important times of life & love – at end–of–life, in love & relationship, and in ritual and celebration. Sarah has a relationship online course for couples called “Creating a Miracle Marriage” and a free resource and video series for families facing dying, death and grief called “Landscapes of Life & Love and Loss”. To find out more, visit www.sarahtolmie.com.au.