Holiday Grief

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Today, I would like to discuss a thought on grief.

It seems everyone realizes that grief is about the experience of loss, however, this loss isn’t always the same.

Grief doesn’t have to mean death. It could be someone grieves their loss of home, youth, marriage, or life as they once remembered (think empty nesters).

On the flip side, and what I kind of want to focus on today, is when grief does mean the loss of a life, but in this case not a human life.

As the holidays approach, I would like to remind everyone that the loss of an animal is also a great cause for grief. I think we need to be more mindful of people going through these types of losses.

I hear people (and I’ve been guilty of this myself in the past) kind of snicker when someone is grieving a pet. They may think to themselves that it’s not like they experienced a “real loss- it’s not like they’re human”. The truth is, they have.

Some people only have their pets as companions. Some people may not have been able to have children and so their pets are their children. Sometimes pets are the only family members they have. Others, the pet is their best friend. Perhaps the pet was their children’s best friend and so it’s another member of the family. Not everyone feels that way and that’s okay. What’s not okay is not acknowledging the person’s grief who did lose a furry friend.

Think about the commercials for a moment. I see just as many people getting puppies on Christmas type of commercials as I do engagement ring commercials. That’s how prevalent animals are to our lives. Cats or dogs are often a child’s first friend.

I guess my point is to encourage everyone this holiday season to remember their friend’s who’ve lost pets. They are struggling just as much as people who’ve lost people or relationships and sometimes that can be overlooked. Remind them that it’s okay to feel their grief without shame.

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Here’s for Anxiety!

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So, I was sitting in the bathroom, phone in hand, scrolling through my emails when I heard it. The problem was, I was home alone. No husband, no kids- just me, alone. My ears perked up and I sat in total silence. After a considerable amount of time of nothing, I went back to my emails.

This time, the sound was distinct, right outside of the bathroom door. The floor was creaking. There was someone standing outside of the door. Mind you, I have no clue why I was still in the bathroom, I was fully clothed, I had just gotten dressed and decided that it was a good time to check my email. However, being home alone and someone outside of the door, I was now stuck.

My brain went back about 15 years, the first time my child told me the house was haunted. Why my brain decided to go there is beyond me. I’m not the kind of person who worries about such things. But then again, perhaps I am because that’s what happened. Then I thought about my son and his night terrors of the “shadow man”. Both my girls swear they’ve seen him/witnessed him as well.

So, now in my brain, as my anxiety kicks in, it’s me against a supernatural shadow fella who’s patiently impatiently waiting for me to leave the bathroom. I realize it had to be the shadow guy because nobody else was in the house, the dog would have barked.

You would have thought that at this point, logic would have set in, but it didn’t. I am now ready to combat a shadow ghost, in which I don’t even believe in- unless we went spiritual like angel/demonic, but that would creep me out even more.

So, ghost against me. Got it. My adrenaline was ready for me. If the typical response is fight, flight, or freeze, I am most definitely a fight girl. So, now I’m ready for a supernatural war in the midst of my home. I decided to make the first move. I yell at the guy from behind the door. No, I’m not lying.

“Get!” is what my brain decided to say. By the way, this is the same response I give the cat when she’s in my way.

Pause. Nothing. Moments later the floor creaks and I hear the weight of his feet shift. Game on. We’re full-fledged heading to combat.

As fast as my somewhat large body can carry me, I bust open the door with all my might. Granted, it takes absolutely no might to open a bathroom door. However, in my defense, I have no clue to how strong shadow men are, so I had to use force. Don’t judge, this is my story.

In addition to the fact that I had to use my strength, my voice decided to be heard. I didn’t expect to yell at the guy, but hey, why not?

So, if you can picture me, hair in a bun, holding a phone, coming out of the bathroom as if the house were on fire and screaming, then you can visualize EXACTLY what my dog saw.

Yep. She looked at me and I looked at her. How the dog was able to stifle her laughter I have no idea. Perhaps she accepted the fact that I am not a normal human. Regardless, the relief I felt that there was no random shadow ready to attack was nice, but it didn’t outweigh my embarrassment as I felt the need to explain to my dog my situation. Which therein lies my other problem…