The Healing Power of a Bereavement Support Group
"When we are in tune with the Infinite, we shall see the Invisible"
We are an animal loving community. On any given day, regardless of weather, people can be found enjoying nature with their beloved animal companions. The health, comfort and wellbeing of our pets is one of our top priorities and in return they provide unconditional love and acceptance. The relationships we share with our pets are special and unique filled with joy and a deep emotional connection. As I write this my dear Lucy is curled up sleeping, lightly snoring. We are enjoying a few days in Carmel, one of the most dog friendly places in California. Later we will walk down to the beach and Lucy will run joyfully, barking and laughing as she plays in the waves chasing birds and balls. Our lives are enriched and fuller because of the emotional bonds we share with our beloved animals. We are better human beings because of the animals in our lives.
Animals share our lives and capture our hearts and when they die we are often left with a deep, dark, emotional void. This emptiness can consume us with such grief and sadness that we begin to retreat into the lonely recesses of our loss and pain. From this place of isolation it is not unusual to begin comparing and minimizing the deep grief we feel over the death of a beloved animal. Well intentioned friends and family may encourage us to get another animal to replace the loss, encourage us not to feel bad and keep busy, remind us that time heals all wounds and to be strong, it was just an animal after all. As a result we may begin to stuff and store these feelings of grief and sadness. Unattended grief will grow and deepen overtime and can consume us like a cancer giving birth to feelings of guilt. It will have a negative impact our ability to feel happy and joyous once again.
Attending to our grief with the aide of a support group allows us the opportunity to begin the healing of our broken heart. Grief is emotional, a profound form of sorrow that requires the compassion and support of our fellow human beings. With the aid of a bereavement group we can process our grief with others who have similar thoughts, feelings, and experiences. Participating in a group can counter the sense of isolation that many feel during this time and provides emotional, physical, and spiritual support in a safe environment. Rather than remaining stuck in our grief the group honors and supports our emotional truth which allows us to begin processing our feelings of sadness and loss.
Our reaction to the death of any sentient being is based on our relationship with that individual. By honoring our grief response we honor the sacred relationship we shared with our beloved animal companion. Healing begins as we hold our animals in our hearts and grieve for their absence. Our lives are forever changed and transformed after the death of a beloved animal as we are able to transition from a physical to a spiritual connection. Morning our losses openly frees our inner potential enabling us to more fully discover the gifts that bring new meaning to our life.
The death of a beloved pet can bring about emotional, physical, and spiritual pain. A bereavement group is a place where people can begin to feel hope as they navigate through this wilderness of grief on a path to heal their broken heart. Grief support groups are enriching and rewarding for all who participate as they provide an opportunity to come together and help one another. Understanding the critical role a grief support group can have on this healing process, we have joined with Dr. Wendy Robinson, of Tahoe Integrative Veterinary Care, and are offering this service to the community, the first Wednesday of each month from 6 to 7:30 pm. The group meets at Tahoe Integrative Veterinary Care at 12068 Donner Pass Road in Truckee. All are welcome, to honor their beloved companions and begin the healing process.