Celebration of Life: Dealing with Grief

Phx Dog may-june 2018_hires 42
By Ann Hoff

While speaking at an Animal Communication event, an older man walked over to me. He leaned down, covering his mouth with his hand, whispering: “I lost my dog last year. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done.”

I constantly hear that sentiment. Nothing can prepare you for the deep grief of losing a beloved pet, even when you know it is inevitable. All owners share one common fact: their pets never live long enough, no matter how long they live.

Guilt over the death of a pet can far outweigh the grief that we feel from their passing. My observation on this is that while humans sometimes make their own end-of-life decisions, animals are dependent on us for their care and health decisions. Many times, these choices leave us doubting ourselves or second guessing what could have been. Another sticking point is being with the animal at the end and taking their care seriously.

One of the reasons people call an animal communicator is to process what is going on with their pet’s health. I can talk to the pet and find out how they feel (something you know generally by their behavior, but I can tell you more specifically). I can also convey what the pet’s wishes are for their treatment. It’s a razor’s edge walk for you to want them to live, but you don’t want to cause them unnecessary suffering.

Talking to your pet makes that decision easier. A dog I worked with, who had cancer and was on major painkillers, told me, “If I never feel better than this, what’s the purpose of keeping me alive?” The dog was all in for trying to get better if he could get better, but if it was terminal, he wanted to bow out gracefully.

If I could give a gift to those bereft from loss, it would be the feeling of joy that their pets are on the other side; any pain from illness is gone and they bask in wholeness again. That doesn’t mean they don’t physically miss you, but they know they are connected in spirit with you. The choices that were made on earth – all is forgiven, all forgotten when the spirit transitions. I have never experienced an animal on the other side that held their human responsible or blamed them for the turns that destiny held.

Animals that love us are with us more when they are on the other side because they are no longer anchored to their physical bodies. When faced with the loss of a pet, knowing that they are still connected in spirit does not always ease suffering. That is because when we are in grief, it sits around us like a dark cloud. When you are in it, you can’t see the light because of the grief. If you do not deal with grief, it will be there years later. You have to actually grieve, to move through your emotions and feel them. When I feel intense angst in my chest during an intuitive session, it is a pet that is being held on the earthbound plane by their human’s grief that often causes it.

The best way you can honor your lost pet is to use the love they taught you to love another. There is always more to love. The more times your heart breaks, the larger it becomes. Think about it. Your dog wouldn’t want you to be alone without canine love.

Now I can feel the love of all of the beings that I have shared my life with and it is comforting and freeing at the same time. We cannot disconnect ourselves from an animal’s love even if we try. I promise you, the pets you love are still connected to you.

Ann Marie Hoff is an animal communicator, artist, medium and author. Contact Ann or find out more at www.annhoff.com

 

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