Grief & Loss: How Do We Even Begin?

Grief & Loss: How Do We Even Begin?

Trigger warning: In this episode, I will be discussing grief, loss, and bereavement as well as other potentially triggering topics (abuse, depression, suicide, etc.). If you feel that any of these topics could be overwhelming for you, please skip this episode.

Key topics:

✔️ There is more acceptance and open discussion now about mental health in general, as well as anxiety and depression. But what about grief? Grief/Loss still seems to be the hairy, unwieldy beast in the corner no one wants to discuss.
✔️ By and large, we are not taught much about grief and the grieving process. Unless you have religious and/or cultural traditions around it, you may feel as though no one has ever told you what to expect. Or where to even begin.
✔️The “stages” of the grieving process are not linear and, for that matter, may not encompass the experience you have. Please do not listen to the Grief Police who want to tell you what you are and are not allowed to feel. 😡 It is YOUR journey and your experience.

Links to things I mention in this episode:

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Transcription by  Please forgive any typos!

Welcome to the Causey Consulting Podcast. You can find us online anytime at And now, here’s your host, Sara Causey. Hello, Hello, and thanks for tuning in. Fair warning, I want to make a statement off the top, I will be talking about some very difficult and heavy emotional topics in today’s episode, things like grief, loss, death, bereavement, if any of those things could even possibly be a trigger for you, you will want to just set this episode out, I don’t want to cause any more emotional pain for anybody that doesn’t feel that it would be in their best interest to tune in. So fair warning. This topic has definitely been heavy on my mind for a couple of different reasons. I’ll I’ll get into those further in the episode, I feel that we’ve gotten as a society more open about discussing our emotions and about mental health in general, certain things that used to be hush hush or taboo, maybe they were frowned upon, or there was some stigma around them. It’s really not that way anymore. I mean, there’s much more openness now to talk about anxiety, panic, depression, being in therapy, needing to talk to someone, these things years ago might have been Oh, if you’re seeing a psychologist, you don’t want to talk about that. It’s really not that way anymore. People are so much more open. And I think that’s a great thing. However, sometimes, with grief, and with loss, it’s like a different animal altogether. People who might be so willing to discuss anxiety, panic, depression, sadness, confusion. It’s almost like nobody quite knows how to deal with this unwieldy, crazy beast of grief. They don’t know how to deal with it for themselves, and they don’t know how to comfort somebody else who’s going through the grieving process. I mean, I think even the verbiage that we have around grief is lacking. processing it, sitting in it, sitting with it, integrating it, trying to work our way through it one day at a time, this too shall pass. Time heals all wounds, it’s like, oh, okay, but like none of those things feel really adequate to describe what it’s like to be in the grieving process. One way that I would describe it for myself is, it feels like the grief is in the driver’s seat, I haven’t had it either in the passenger seat or in the backseat, maybe even locked in the trunk of a car, I don’t know how fast or how slow the vehicle is going to go. I don’t know if we might just careen off a cliff. But it’s like the grief takes over. And then you’re just along for the ride. So it becomes difficult for you sometimes to even put a name on what you’re feeling. And it also becomes difficult for the people around you who love you and who may sincerely want to comfort you, and offer you some kind of solace to step up and do that because they don’t know what you’re feeling and you don’t know what you’re feeling. And there’s a lot of tears or there may be rages and it just becomes uncomfortable and unsettling for people. And we are by nature, creatures who want to seek out pleasure and avoid pain. So the idea of going and quote, sitting with your pain sounds really freakin terrible. And then you’re asking someone else that may be removed from that grieving process to sit in that with you. And then they don’t know what to do either. So we think because grief is such this strange conundrum. And it’s so freakin confusing for everybody involved. We look at it as this big rolling giant ball of craziness. And we’re like, yeah, no, I just don’t want to go there. I don’t think this is a journey that I can take either a journey I can take with myself for myself, or a journey that I can try to shepherd somebody else through either. But like so many other things in life, just because something is really difficult, painful and confusing. It doesn’t mean that we get to just avoid it wholesale for the rest of our lives. All of the stories that I will tell in this episode today I have permission to tell. I’m going to try to be mindful of privacy for anyone who has asked me to do so. But talking about just the nomenclature around grief, what to say what not to say feeling uncertain and strange, whether it’s feeling uncertain and strange in your own skin or not knowing what to say to somebody else that you’re close to that’s hurting a lot. I have a friend who’s steps on committed suicide several years ago. And at the funeral, she told me that people would come up to her and say things that perhaps they didn’t mean to be hateful, there may not have been any malicious intent whatsoever. But she felt awful based on some of the things that were said to her. At the funeral. People would say things like, we know that you’re hurting. We know this is an awful situation for everyone. But his real parents must really be hurting. They must be devastated. Oh, your husband must be inconsolable right now, oh, his biological mother must be in a state. And my friend was like, I’m okay. Like, this is not a grief contest. That son had lived with his dad and my friend, his stepmother, since he was eight years old. And she said, You know, I have every right in the world to grieve. I have every right in the world to feel profoundly sad that my stepson is no longer alive. And then here are these people coming up to me at the funeral acting like, Well, yeah, I mean, okay, so you’re grieving, but like his real parents must be devastated. And it made her feel horrible. So one thing that I want to say is, please do not listen to people that I call the grief police. Even though we are more open about emotions and mental health and therapy, probably then than we ever have been in the past, at any point. There are still some people who want to act like they have a right to tell you what you are, and are not allowed to feel sad about what you are and are not allowed to grieve about. And there are some people still yet who feel that you’re only quote, allowed to grieve, or you’re only allowed to feel sad if you’ve experienced the death of a first degree relative, a parent, a sibling, a spouse, or a child. And that’s it. If it’s an extended family member, if it’s a friend, if it’s a pet, or if it’s lost, you’re grieving the loss of your marriage, the loss of your job, the loss of your house, the loss of your 401k and all of your retirement, you’re not you’re in their mind, you’re not allowed to feel grief stricken or to feel sad or depressed over those types of losses. Well, that’s a complete and utter load of bullshit. You are allowed to feel grief, you are allowed to feel sadness, you are allowed to deal with that loss. Don’t listen to the grief police, please. My best friend Johnny had a childhood friend named Michael. And they were like the quintessential boyhood friends, if you close your eyes and you like imagine the idea of boyhood friends from a story book or a movie. That’s how Johnny and Michael were, they were the same age, they lived on the same street, they always went to the same schools and they were just thick as thieves growing up. And even into adulthood. You know, sometimes friends that you have that you’re really tight with in childhood, you lose contact with them, you move away, you go to different colleges or somebody goes into the military, you get married, you start having your own kids. And sometimes those childhood friendships dissipate over the years. But with Johnny and Michael, if that was not the case, they always remained in a very close friendship and having grown up together and had so many common experiences and a very tight bond. And when Johnny and Michael were both 45, Michael had a massive heart attack. He was walking down the sidewalk and started to feel chest pain. And I mean, he collapsed. And that was it. The doctors said that it was it was a massive heart attack, nothing could have been done, you know, and they were trying to comfort Michael’s wife and his kids by saying, well, he didn’t suffer he he died immediately was not in any great pain. Again, to me, that’s like the verbiage that we have around grief feels so wrong, and it feels so lacking. I mean, this person that you love and care about is deceased, like, you know, maybe at some point down the road, you can take comfort in the fact that they didn’t have a long protracted death. But right there in that moment, you’re like, I really don’t give a damn, I want my I want my person back. And Johnny told me that for years, the only emotion that he could feel about Michael’s death was anger. And sometimes it would go from anger to like red hot, extreme rage. And he told me that he would go out sometimes to Michael’s grave site and just railed just yell and get mad and pound his fist in the to the dirt and just be like you How could you do this? Why didn’t you take better care of yourself? Why didn’t you eat a better diet? Why didn’t you exercise? Why didn’t you go to the doctor more often for checkups. You’ve left me You’ve left your wife, you’ve left your kids, your grandkids are never going to get to know who you were. I mean, he would go out there to the grave side and he said there would be times you know or sometimes somebody would be walking by or driving by and they would see me out there and be like what is going on? So I would just rage that was the only emotion that I knew how to feel about Michael’s untimely death was just anger to rage. And I want to make a quick interjection here and say, there is no right or wrong way to grieve. There’s no one prescribed method. And even the so called five or six stages of grief, those are also lacking. I mean, they point out some commonalities, generally speaking in the grieving experience, but they can’t give you a roadmap of like, Okay, so today we’re in bargaining, and then we’re going to go to anger, and then we’re going to go to denial, and then we’ll get to depression, like, there’s no, there’s no roadmap for it. And if your initial reaction to hearing about a loss or hearing about a death is to fly off the handle and have a big mad, just know that other people have felt that way, too. So Johnny, years later, when he decided to get into some counseling, he talked about Michael’s death, and in the process of talking about it and, and thinking about it in a different lens through a different viewpoint, he realized that he not only needed to grieve the loss of Michael, and the loss of the friendship that he had with Michael, but also to mourn all of the things that Michael and the friendship with Michael meant to him. Because I talked about this in a previous episode, like my best friend, Johnny grew up in an environment that was pretty rough. Both of his parents were abusive alcoholics, sometimes there would be food in the house, oftentimes, there wasn’t, he often didn’t have clean clothes to wear to school, there were some times the house would be in complete disarray, if his parents had come home from the bar and had a big drunken brawl. You know, things were broken, he didn’t have a safe, stable apple pie and Americana environment to grow up in. And so sometimes he would go and spend the night at Michael’s house. And Michael’s house was totally different, you know, his parents both got along with each other, there was always food, it was always warm and clean. There wasn’t broken stuff everywhere, you know that the bed was comfortable and had clean sheets on it. And so one of the things that Johnny uncovered in therapy was that, you know, he had to mourn the loss of what that represented to him of this, like, you know, finally getting that chance to have the apple pie and Americana childhood at Michael’s house, being able to pretend that he and Michael were actually brothers, and that Michael’s parents were his parents, and the stability and the safety of all that. And in the process of mourning Michael’s death, he also had to go back and deal with some of the stuff that happened to him in childhood. So what I want to interject here is Do not be surprised if grieving the loss of someone or something in your life stirs up something else, even if it’s something that you’re like, Oh, my God, I thought I dealt with this already. I went to like three years of therapy and talked about this every week or every month, what the hell, why is this back, you, you may have some things that get stirred up seemingly out of nowhere, and that’s normal, and it’s okay. I have a friend named Eric who at different times, has talked publicly about his own difficult childhood, he was abused and neglected, abused physically, emotionally, sexually, verbally. And like my friend Johnny, he told me for a long time, the only emotion that I could access about my childhood was anger, and rage. There were times that I could punch holes in the wall, or I could go to the gym and just punch the punching bag until my knuckles were wrong and bloody. It’s only just been here recently, in the course of the therapeutic work that I have been doing around my childhood, that I could actually say, I feel sad. I feel sad for myself now as a grown man. And I feel sad for the little boy that had to deal with abuse and neglect the little boy that wanted to be loved and accepted and cherished and to have a good upbringing. And instead, I just got kicked down and abused and molested. I’m finally in a place now where I can cry about that. And instead of feeling like they’re tears of rage, they feel like tears of sorrow. I can I can finally feel sad about what happened to me. So there’s no straight line. There’s no set process. And there’s no predicting at what point you might move from one stage to the next. Or if you’re even going to have clear stages or not. Sometimes we have all sorts of emotions commingle together at the same time. I want to bargain with God to bring this person back but then at the same time, I feel really sad because I know they’re gone. But then five minutes later, I may be super mad and want to throw this glass vase across the room. I mean, we We can be all over the place in our grieving process, we can also be experiencing loss from the pandemic, there are people who have gone into therapy and have have gone into group counseling and various things because they miss what life they had before COVID-19. And that’s normal, it’s normal to go, you know, I kind of want the old times back, you know, I want to be able to go out with my friends, I don’t want to have to wear a mask, or I don’t want to be worried if somebody is sick or something goes into the hospital, you know, I have to stay away from them and just look at them through the window, like, I want the old times to come back. I’m I am tired of this. It’s okay to feel that fatigue. And it’s okay to reach out and get help. If we can say anything positive right now, it’s that telehealth and teletherapy are more accessible than they ever have been more therapists and counselors and doctors are willing to either meet with somebody by zoom or Skype, or by telephone. There are even programs now that will allow you to do therapy by email or by text message. So if you’re like, I don’t know that I really want to get on the phone and have like a 45 minute or hour long therapy session with somebody, I think I might just want to have somebody on call, so to speak, that I can text or I’d be like, You know what, I’m having a panic attack right now. And I kind of need somebody to help or, you know, I just had a really sad memory about my friend who died and I need somebody to just be there and hold this space open with me, there are programs that will even allow you to do that. And I don’t want you to get discouraged about cost either. Because there are some services that will offer a discount or a sliding scale, based on income or based on inability to pay due to COVID-19. There are also some resources out there that are free, where you can call a hotline or you can go into a chat room or you can do a group session, free of charge. As long as you have some ability to dial in by phone or some ability to use the internet in a private space, you know, where you’re not going to be violating HIPAA for yourself, you can access these tools completely free of charge. So what I’m telling you there is if you know if you can feel in your heart and your spirit, like, Yeah, I’m going to need some help with this. This is this is gone beyond the heavy lifting that I want to do by myself, then don’t get discouraged and feel like nobody wants to help you. Nobody’s willing to listen, or I’m not going to find anything that’s going to meet my budget. Like please, please, please, please don’t give up. And if you’re wondering, okay, well, she said there was stuff on her mind that had all of this coming to the forefront and made her want to record this episode. You know, I’ll get to my own story. And I may just have to record this part of the story in increments. I mean, I may have to record it, hit the pause button on the recording software, go cry for a while and then come back to it or, you know, whatever. We’ll just We’ll get through it together, I guess. So in six and a half, almost seven years of farming. I have never had a mother animal reject its baby. Now if you’re involved in agriculture, especially if you have had a large amount of livestock that you’ve been raising, you know that that’s pretty good odds. I mean, people that have much larger ranches, much larger operations, they may have bottle babies or rejected babies every single time that they have a lambing or a cafe. I just never have, until recently had a situation where a mama cow rejected a baby. And thankfully, I found it. It was, I’m not sure exactly how old when I found it. It could have been a few hours, maybe more, probably not even an entire day old though. And because she had rejected it, it had not been properly cleaned. It hadn’t had its milk. And so with cows, they have to have something called colostrum. It’s like the first feeding of milk that they get from the mom and they get a lot of like antibodies and protection, vitamins, minerals, nutrients, it’s like it’s super, super important that they get that within a window of time, so that their immune system develops and they have the best shot possible for life. Now, yes, you can buy like powdered colostrum at the feed store from your veterinarian. It’s nowhere near as good as the real deal that comes from the animal’s actual mother, but at least gives them some potential for survival. And fortunately, because I have enough years of experience doing this, and because I’ve had training, you know, I went through a program that I call cow college affectionately. And I’m so glad because it gave me information on like, Alright, what do you do? You get out in the pasture and you find an abandoned baby. What are you going to do about it? Well, thankfully, I knew what to do about it. So I rescued this calf. And I went on this like 10 day odyssey and it was like having a child an infant sent a newborn in the house with me. And I didn’t keep him warm, I had to keep him dry. And because of his size, like I raised cattle, that’s a smaller breed anyway, so they tend to be smaller than average, all those minis. But because he may have been premature, and he didn’t get off to the best start in life, he was particularly small. I mean, to give you an idea, he weighed 25 pounds. So there’s some of you listening will have dogs that are larger than this little baby calf was so good, because he was so small, I was having to feed him out of literal human baby bottles, he had baby blankets, he had baby shampoo that I would have to use and baby wipes that I would use to help keep him clean. It felt so much like having a baby in the house with me. And we bonded super fast, super, super fast, intense connection, lots and lots of high powered bonding. And I you know, I wish there were some happiness that I can inject into the story. And there were some great times, you know, no doubt about that. But he was on a roller coaster with his health, he’d have a couple of days of doing really well. And they need to have a couple of days of doing poorly. And he’d have to go to the vet, and then I get him back. And he’d have a couple of days of doing good. And then a couple more days of doing poorly. And then we were on this roller coaster of him being healthy, and he wanted to play and he wanted to run but then he would get weak and tired. And he’d have, you know, bad bad days with his health and have to go back to the vet. So there was a lot of like, he’s here with me. He’s at the valleys here with me. He’s at the vet, it’s up and it’s down. And it felt like a 10 day roller coaster of all this intense bonding, and love and joy, but then also punctuated by these times of his health not doing so well and him having to go to the vet and get treated. And the last time that he got sick and had to go back to the animal hospital, I had him on my lap as we were driving him there. And I thought to myself, you know, he’s, he’s had so many of these ups and downs in such a short period of time, he’s still frail, and underdeveloped, like how many more brushes with death is this poor baby going to have before it’s no longer a brush, you know, when I was trying to get myself mentally prepared. And it was really like my brain was having an argument with itself because I had this colder part of my brain that’s like Sara, he might not make it, this might be the end, you need to begin mentally preparing yourself for a possible loss here. And another side of my brain that was like, as long as he’s alive, there’s still hope you need to be optimistic, you need to focus on what you want, in this situation, don’t bring a lot of bad energy don’t get all pessimistic. And so I was trying my best to sort of, I don’t know, hope for the best, but plan for the worst at the same time. So initially, the vet told me, you know, yeah, he is quite ill, there are several infections going on, he doesn’t have a properly developed immune system. So it’s very much touch and go, but I would have to say the prognosis is not looking good. So I was doing a lot of praying, trying to raise as much energy as much healing as much positivity as I possibly could, along with others, who were willing to make like a prayer chain or a positive energy chain, just anything we could do, that we felt like would help on a spiritual or energetic level. And things started to shift. You know, there was a period of time where there was hope. And the vet told me, you know, he actually seems to be recovering, it seems like he’s getting better. So I thought, Okay, I’m just I’m going to stay positive, I’m going to visualize the future. And I spent quite a bit of time doing that really picturing him strong and healthy, being able to go out and play and do more normal things without getting tired or without getting sick. And I too, was feeling optimistic. I thought you know, it, hope springs eternal. This really could go in a positive direction. So I am going to maintain a positive mentality about this. until told otherwise, I’m going to assume that he is healing and recovering and convalescing and this is going to be okay. But there was a shift in the energy later that evening. And I don’t know really how to explain it to you logically. If you’re not a spiritual person, if you don’t believe in anything energetic, you just think if I can’t see it, smell it, taste it, touch it. It’s not real. I you know, I don’t know how to offer an explanation for you here. I could say that it’s potentially like a connection between the two of us because we had been so intensely bonded together. I was able to read the situation or, you know, maybe it was something spiritual, decide for yourself what you think. But to me, there was a very palpable shift in the energy and I was like, Oh, I just, I don’t know how to explain it, but I felt like he was slipping away. I felt like there had been this apex of hope. He was sliding back down the hill again. And that night, I had either a dream or a vision, I’m not sure which but I saw him with a friend of mine who passed away several years ago. And it was like he, my friend was holding this calf and the calf looked very healthy. It was like he had been restored. And they were enveloped in like a bright, but yet peaceful, white light. And when I woke up the next morning, I knew, I just knew, I’m like, There’s a 0% chance that I saw that vision or I had that dream out of sheer coincidence, I myself am a spiritual person, I believe that we are spiritual beings in a flesh suit. And that when we take the flesh suit off, it’s not the end, we don’t just go into the ground. And that’s it. I think there is a spirit world, I think there’s more that happens. After we go on. I once heard Roger Moore use the analogy of walking into another room. Death is like walking into another room, you leave behind temporarily the people who were in the other room, but you get to see other people who have entered that room before you and have some communion with them again. And I like that analogy. I think it’s a good one, I just use the analogy of the flesh suit a lot. At some point, the flesh suit wears out, we step out of it. And then we go into our spirit body. Again, I believe we continue learning, I believe we continue to have experiences, we’re just doing it in a different way. So when I got up that morning, and I remembered that dream or that vision, I thought this, this is not coincidence, something has happened. And when I got the phone call that morning that he had passed, it was not a surprise, of course. It’s different knowing something on a spiritual level or a gut level sensing it and not wanting to admit that it’s probably true. But then getting the confirmation here in the physical mundane world that yes, in fact, you know, this, this person or this animal that you cared about, has passed away, knowing it in the physical and knowing it in the spiritual are two different things. And I cried, I just I broke down and I cried, and I cried, and I cried. I felt like by the end of that day, I had cried enough that I could resalinate the Pacific Ocean. And I was reminded of something that Rabbi Kushner says, so often when we pray to God for help, and we want him to send us a burning bush, or a lightning bolt from a clear blue sky, he sends us people, he sends you, the doctor that can help you or he sends you, the friend that will listen He sends you someone who can help you and comfort you in a very physical type of way. And I was fortunate to find a grief counselor who had an opening in her schedule, she was able to do telehealth and and support either telephone therapy or video therapy. And she had an opening in her schedule that same day. And it was like a safety net and a way to know that I was not going to have to face my grief that day, completely by myself. I mean, yes, I do have supportive friends and family, no doubt about that. And the people at the animal hospital were very torn up and upset about it too. But it’s different when it’s your grief. And I’m going to drop a link in the right up to this podcast to an episode from one commune, called the sixth stage of grief with David Kessler. And I would encourage you again, if it’s not triggering, if it wouldn’t be something that caused you to have too much upset, I would definitely encourage you to tune in to the episode. One of the things that David Kessler talks about is you people asking him well, what’s the worst grief? Is it this? Is it that is it death? Is it divorce? Is it loss of a job loss of a pet like what what is really the worst grief. And as he says so articulately in the episode, all of them are unique, but the worst grief is always your grief. What you’re going through is the worst. And that’s the one that you need to honor. And I think that’s very well said, Do not allow yourself to get in your own head and don’t allow yourself to be victimized by the grief police. These other people do not have a right to tell you that you’re not allowed to feel sad, upset, angry, whatever. This is your grief and it’s your experience. And I had some of those thoughts going through my head. There are grief and loss counselors now that specialize in anything you can imagine. Some of them are geared towards divorce and relationship breakups, some towards the loss of a parent, the death of a spouse, the death of a child pet bereavement, and I was thinking to myself Well, okay, even somebody that specializes in pet bereavement, they’re probably mostly talking to people who have dogs and cats. You know, maybe horses here and there. or a pet rabbit or something that they’re not going to be, they probably have no experience talking to somebody who lost a bottle baby calf, you know, and I only had him for 10 days, you know, this person’s probably going to judge me and think that I’m a complete nutso because I’m crying my eyes out, and I feel so completely gutted and emotionally ruined by a 10 day whirlwind experience with this tiny baby who was dependent on me for everything they’re not going to understand. So I can already feel myself trying to talk myself out of getting professional help. And and I’m so glad that I didn’t, I thought, You know what, I’m going to feel the fear and do it anyway. If I get on the phone with somebody, and it’s clear that they’re not the correct counselor for me, I’ll find somebody else. But I’m not going to sit here and not feel that I have a safe place to express my grief. So as I was talking to the grief counselor, she said, Yeah, I understand. You’re upset, I understand your sadness. This story is horribly sad. And I am so so sorry that it happened to you. I’m sorry that it happened to your bottle baby. And I’m sorry that it happened to you this, this is a devastating situation. And I honor your grief. And I want to give you a safe place to express your emotions. Even just hearing that having that communion with another person who was willing to say, you know, I honor what you’re feeling, this is a safe place for you to get all of that out. That was amazing for me. And I would highly encourage you to do the same. Don’t allow your own thoughts or somebody else’s judgments to say, Oh, this is not worthy, or nobody’s going to listen to you. Nobody’s going to be compassionate towards you. That’s just simply not true. And it’s easily done right now, right? Because you can sit and say, Well, you know, I lost a job that I absolutely love. But here we are in a great resignation. So many people hate their jobs. They don’t want to go back to the office after COVID people are shuffling around playing musical chairs and job market. There’s like no tenure nowadays, like who’s going to listen to me talk about a job loss, or, you know, everybody in my life, hated my boyfriend and thought he was a piece of crap. I can’t get over the breakup, I feel like I want to crawl into a hole who’s going to listen to me talk about that. There will be a therapist or counselor who will be happy to shepherd you through that who will listen to you in a non judgmental and completely private way. So do not get all up in your head that no one’s gonna listen, no one’s gonna care. In my situation, it’s still it’s still a work in progress. You know, some people refer to it as the grieving process. And I don’t know if process is the right word or not. But it definitely feels like a journey. Because you can have a moment where you glimpse acceptance. And that’s what I would say I’ve had, I’ve had a few moments where I could glimpse acceptance, I could glimpse some kind of closure. And one of the things that David Kessler talks about is this sixth stage of grief, which is finding meaning. It’s not that we view acceptance as I’m okay with what happened or I can try to make some toxic positivity spin on it like no, and no and no, like one of the things that David Kessler says in this episode on one commune that I think is so powerful is he says, I try to help people understand your loss is not a test. It’s not a blessing. It’s not a gift. And it’s not a punishment. Loss is what happens in this lifetime. And that’s very powerful. So I when I have these glimpses of acceptance, or I have these glimpses of finding meaning, it’s not about saying, I don’t hurt anymore, or that I never cry, or that I don’t, you know, I’m about to do it right now. Sometimes I can look at a picture of him and feel so happy and so warm, and just be like, I don’t know, like radiating with gratitude for the time that we had together. Even though it was short, there was so much bonding, and so much connection and intimacy that happened in that period of time, I can feel happy, and I can feel grateful for the time that we did have, and I can think back to times that he was feeling good. And he played and he was excited, and I can be happy for that. And then other times, I can be doing something mundane. I can be brushing my teeth, loading the dishwasher, putting a piece of garbage into the trash can and break down into tears. I mean, it is not a linear process for anybody. And I like something else that David Kessler brings up, which is what he calls the gang of feelings. Meaning if I start crying, I’ll never stop. I’ll just I’ll roll down like a snowball on an avalanche. It’ll start out as a cry and then it’ll turn in hysterics and I’ll never recover. But as he says you will, it will end at some point and then it may start up again and you’ll have to feel it but things will change. You’re not going to sit and cry forever. And I think especially if we’re able to get help, we are able to get counseling whether it’s A group therapy session or whether it’s private one on one session, I think that does help to prevent against complicated or chronic grief where day after day becomes week after week, month after month, year after year, where we can’t move on and we don’t see any hope we’re not able to derive any kind of closure or meaning or look back with any kind of love. We just feel, you know, profound anger or profound sadness for years and years and years. So even though grief may feel sloppy, confusing, wild, unwieldy, horrible. As David Kessler points out, we do have to feel the feelings in order to get towards any degree of healing, we are going to have to feel what we need to feel. And sometimes that’s pretty yucky. Like my grief counselor and I were talking about who wants to sit in pain. You know, if somebody sends you a monogrammed invitation and says, Yeah, I want you to sit in pain. I want you to feel anger, I want you to feel sadness, betrayal, abandonment, anger at God anger at the universe, I just want you to sit with that for a while. It’s like, no thanks. I’m going to RSVP No, or hell no to that. I mean, we we are hardwired to seek out pleasure rather than pain. But in order to get to that place where we can remember love and happiness and comfort, we’re going to have to sit with all the other unpleasant stuff. I’m gonna read to you, again, from what David Kessler says on the podcast, your job is to sit with your own grief and honor it and feel the pain and find a way to heal it and integrate it. I think the goal of grief work is to remember that person or that relationship with more love than pain, in time and at your own pace and quote, and I think that’s a great summary. I know the day will come down the road where I can remember back on this experience with more love than pain, I can glimpse, you know, a parting of the clouds here and there, and I can see it on the horizon. I know I’ll get there. But I’m not going to rush the process in the meantime. And I would like to leave you with a couple of important phone numbers just in case. The number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline which is available 24 hours a day seven days a week is 1-800-273-8255. There is also a toll free national helpline for Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and their helpline number is 1-800-662-4357. If you have been experiencing the loss of a pet in particular and would like to talk to someone who specializes in that capacity, Cornell actually has a pet loss support hotline as of October 1 21, it is man from Wednesdays seven to 9pm Eastern Time, Saturdays 12 to 2pm Eastern Time and on Sunday evenings from seven to 9pm. Eastern Time. The telephone number there is 607-218-7457 And again, that’s where the Cornell University pet loss support hotline above all things, make sure that you get help if you need it. Do not go it alone. There are great resources out there and if you feel that you need to call any of these hotlines or help lines for support. Please do it. We hope you enjoyed today’s episode. If you haven’t already, please take a quick second to subscribe to this podcast and share it with your friends. Thanks for tuning in. We’ll see you next time.

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