We just got a few new books in a couple of days ago that speak somewhat to what I was originally writing about, grief. I had started an article on grief last October and felt like I had a great deal to say. After contemplating the idea and trying to write some more I had convinced myself that I don’t know grief as some know it and who was I to write about it. I have come full circle now and I realize that everyone knows grief and everyone will experience grief. How deep the grief, is relative only to the person enduring it.
I believe that having another individual tell someone how they can grieve, how long they should grieve, and whom they are allowed to grieve for can be likened to having another tell us how to respond to pain. If someone has a broken leg for instance and after the pain, the itching, and the limits it puts on the individual, some kind soul comes up and says to them, “Well at least you don’t have cancer!” There is a possibility that in some odd way the kind soul is trying to make the broken leg not seem so bad to help cheer up the person experiencing the broken leg. Not a good idea, because even if lying side by side with the exact same broken leg as another we cannot hope to truly understand their pain. So when someone is grieving, don’t try to reason, or explain or even try to put yourself in another’s shoes. It isn’t truly possible. But the beautiful thing about human beings is that we have the potential for great compassion. Compassion does not have to come from a place of empathy or sympathy. It comes from a place of non-judgmental love for another.
Two of the books we recently received are written by someone who has spent many years working as a grief counselor and hospice worker. One of the books is a journal of sorts that helps with the grieving process in a way I have not seen before. I feel it is a treasure for those who not only need help with their grief but also for those who want to remember how much life they experienced with their loved one. The other book is called “Words to Live By” and it contains the last words of many of the people dying in the hospice that the author, Sarah Kroenke works at. These people each gave her one quote to teach others how they can live fully. It is a wonderful book and made me want to do a few things differently. I believe it will inspire you as well.
To finish this newsletter’s front page I would like to share one further thing with you. I was sent this just recently from a friend on facebook and it was so heartwarming that I wanted to share it.
The Only thing that I can give – A dog’s Last Will and Testament
Before humans die, they write their last Will & Testament. They leave their homes and all they have to those they have left behind. If, with my paws, I could do the same…this is what I would ask. To a poor and lonely stray, I would leave my happy home. My bowl and cozy bed, soft pillows & all my toys. But mostly, the lap, which I loved so much. The tender, loving touch. The hand which stroked my fur and the sweet voice which called my name. I’d Will, to the sad, scared shelter dog, the place I had my human’s loving heart. A heart which knew no bounds. So, when I die, please do not say, “I will never have a pet again, for the loss and pain is more than I can stand.” Instead…go find an unloved dog. One whose life has held no joy or hope, and give MY place to him. This is the only thing that I can give…the LOVE I left behind. This is my inheritance! My Will and my last Testament!
(Author unknown but came from this friend through the German Shepherd Dog Community on Facebook)
Not just a wonderful way to perceive how a dog would feel about having to leave this lifetime but also a truly beautiful reminder of how we have the potential ability to love again after hurt and loss. It is also a reminder to give what we can, when we can. Most important is the affirmation that nothing we leave behind will ever be as important as the time and love we give to others when we are alive. We sometimes have to work a little harder than dogs as they seem to give time and love with ease. I think perhaps if we remember that these become the strength and support that is leaned on when we are gone, it becomes much easier.