Pet Loss Grief Support Animals in our Hearts  Animal Communication Teresa Wagner
  • Everything that lives is holy.

    William Blake

Loss, Grief & Afterlife

Teresa Wagner
www.animalsinourhearts.com
copyright 2010 all rights reserved

 


Like many people, it comforts me to have certain things around me to memorialize my beloved animals who have died: framed photos, photo albums, portraits, memorial candles, urns, grave markers, jewelry with their paw prints or name, scrapbooks or memorial boxes filled with treasured mementos, holding memorial services, sharing stories about my animal, etc. There are, of course, countless, meaningful ways to memorialize a loved one which can bring us comfort and honor our animal. However, nothing is a higher tribute to a loved one who has died than to identify, acknowledge and use the legacies they left behind, the legacies that live on in our hearts.

I don’t think I’ve ever talked with a person who’s lost their animal who wouldn’t say that the number one legacy from their animal is love. When we think of the legacies of love our animals gave us, it can be healing to reflect on: How that love was expressed or manifested? How was it unique? How was it shared? What did we learn from it, and how can we integrate and apply that learning into the fabric of our lives? Memorializing is comforting, and mourning is normal and necessary. But memorializing is not the same as investing the legacies we’ve been left so they can grow. If we inherit a million dollars and stash it under our mattress it will not grow. But if we invest it in good works it will grow in ways that may continue to enrich us and others forever.

When my cat Muffin died many years ago I was utterly lost in the pain of it. In time, however, when I realized that the legacy left to me was the unconditional love he showered me with, which was my first experience of unconditional love, I knew I had a choice: to be in pain from this huge loss the rest of my life, or, to learn to give myself what he gave me. That is often what keeps us so painfully stuck in our grief--thinking that we can’t possibly keep the emotional and energetic gifts we received from our animals after they’ve died. We can. When I finally realized that it was time for me to learn to give myself what Muffin had given me, I began my journey to learn to love myself. I learned that without him loving me to the depths that he did, I never would have learned that I was lovable. And what a waste it would have been to wallow the rest of my life about the loss of him giving me that love in person, rather than learning how to love myself even as I grieved his physical presence. This did not make my grief go away. I grieved for him for a very, very long time. But it did fill me with a great sense of hope and fulfillment--that I was using what he gave me to grow.

A year ago, I experienced another unexpected opportunity to identify and use a legacy left to me. On one of my whale swim trips we came across a month old humpback calf who was tortuously entangled in fishing gear--float line embedded deeply into his flesh and through his mouth, and trailing 150 feet of line and two huge fishing traps. For four hours a captain than a dive master valiantly tried to free him of this but was only able to cut off the trailing lines and the traps. This weak calf, whom we call Little One, died ten days later. Witnessing this, both physically and in my ongoing conversations with Little One and his deeply grieving mother over time, rocked me to my core. I knew that I could no longer simply enjoy the spiritual high of being with these beloved humpbacks. I needed now to speak out for them about how supporting commercial fishing--i.e. eating any type of fish--not only litters the oceans but causes the slow, tortuous death of whales, dolphins and other marine animals. This little whale left me the legacy that loving in good times is not enough, that when I love, I need to be willing to speak up on behalf of those I love, whether speaking the truth is popular or not. I have found that it was a lot easier to just love the whales and let the activism to others. But I cannot not speak the truth after what I witnessed. This is Little One’s legacy to me.

The choices I have made to use the legacies left to me are merely my personal examples. They may or may not be choices others would make. What is important for our healing is for each of us to discover and cherish the unique legacies left to us, and to use them for the betterment of ourselves and the world around us. What better way could we honor the animals who have brought us so much love than to invest their legacies?

Healing Exercise:

Defining "legacies" as:
Gifts we’ve received from an animal, things we’ve learned about ourselves, about relationships, about life, about death, about our beliefs, about who we are, about who we want to be. . .

Ask yourself the following questions.  You may want to read the questions first, then close you eyes, go to the deepest part of your heart where your love for animals resides, and allow the "answers" to come:

What legacies have you received from the life you shared with your animal?

What legacies, if any, did you receive even from the experience of the loss itself?


What legacy have you received from the death of any wild animal?


How can you use these to enrich your soul and your life on earth?


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To further explore these issues you may want to:

Participate in the 8 hour teleclass workshop Legacies of Love

Listen to a download of the audio book Legacies of Love

Read through the web pages on Comfort and Support in Your Time of Grief


copyright Teresa Wagner 2011

 

Sometimes, holidays can be a very painful time for people who are experiencing their first (or second or third, etc.) special holiday without their loved one who has died. If this is your situation this holiday season, may the following thoughts and ideas help you through this time.

1. If you feel sad, annoyed, impatient, turned off or even angry about the holiday glee around you, that's ok. You're not Grinch, you're grieving. Any and all of your feelings are
normal.

2. Perhaps most importantly, we need to give ourselves empathy and love for our pain, the same way we give tender empathy and love to an animal who is hurting.

3. We need to give ourselves the time and space we need to heal, each in our own way.

4. It empowers us and accelerates our healing when we reflect upon and take stock of the blessings and many gifts we've received from our time with our loved one who has died, and make a commitment to cherish and use those gifts in our continuing life on earth--keeping their legacies alive.

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KK and Debbie last day1. If you feel sad, annoyed, impatient, turned off or even angry about the holiday glee around you, that's ok. You're not Grinch, you're grieving.
Be careful not to criticize or judge yourself for any of your reactions or feelings. Any and all of your feelings are normal. After loss, life is different. Our world is not the same. Sometimes, it can even seem strange that the rest of the world continues, let alone celebrates, because our life may seem to be just standing still, empty, or filled with darkness. It can feel annoying to hear all those cheerful songs on the radio, to see all those frivolous holiday ads and happy ending movies on television. If your heart is broken from missing your loved one this season, seeing and hearing gleeful people and stories around you may seem irrelevant at best and obnoxious at worst. It's hard to feel holiday joy when your heart is broken. This is especially true if those around you do not recognize the loss of your beloved animal as a legitimate and important loss, or a real reason to grieve.

But when we feel alienated, annoyed and heartbroken, what can we do other than stay under the covers or wish the world would just shut up about Christmas and other holidays being a magical time of the year?


2. Perhaps most importantly, we need to seek out and give ourselves empathy and love for our pain, the same way we so easily offer tender empathy and love to an animal who is hurting. Judging what we feel or pretending we don't feel whatever we're feeling--perhaps because others expect us to join in the frivolity and gay festivities--only prolongs our grief by shoving it underground and postpones our healing.

While I am a believer that we all have the power to shift our vibration to feel even just a bit better in a given moment, it's a myth that we can pop ourselves up an emotional scale from profound grief to joy in a nano second and never feel grief again from a devastating loss. And it's quite a harmful myth that grief shouldn't even exist, as espoused by a well known law of attraction teacher who publicly apologized for resisting her husband's death by feeling grief. I cringed when I read this, hoping that not too many would mimic her model that feeling grief is somehow wrong, unnecessary and something to be avoided. Grief is not something to apologize for. It is the most natural reaction in the world in response to the loss of anyone or anything that is meaningful to us. It's what we do with our grief that matters. Pretending we don't or should not feel grief when someone we love dies does not move us toward healing. It places our pain into denial, repressing it only to come out later, perhaps in surprising or dysfunctional ways.

When we receive empathy and acknowledgement for any painful emotion, however, the heaviness of that feeling diminishes, the pain lessens. When we feel understood, when our pain is acknowledged, we feel less distressed or devastated as a result of that support. Empathy is like a fresh breeze of cool air and a long drink of cold water on a hot, sticky humid day--it is comforting, calming and life-giving. There is magic in empathy. It brings hope, and it is also calming and life giving. When we know we are understood, we feel empowered. We feel acknowledged, real, stronger and better equipped to continue healing and engage in life.

On the other hand, when we are told by others or tell ourselves that we "should not feel that way," that we should "let go of grief and be joyful because, after all, we know our loved one is happy and well in heaven" or  "there really is no separation since we know their spirit is alive" it feels more like someone slams the windows shut in a room that is already overly hot and stuffy. It becomes even harder to breathe. We feel more alone and certainly not understood.

To take charge of our healing we need to seek out resources of support that resonate with us--such as people, places, books, web sites, classes and/or meditations that bring us the energy of empathy and acknowledgement for our loss and our grief. Sometimes the greatest support we receive when grieving may not be from our family or inner circle but from those we do not know well in our daily lives. And sometimes the kind of support to which we feel drawn are things we may never  have explored before. That's OK.  The type of support and where it comes from doesn't matter. What matters is that we seek it, embrace it and allow it to help us heal. 

It helps to avoid people who seem unable to accept that our grief process is "unfinished" or that we haven't "moved on"  (you know, those people who think that after a few weeks we should be over it and go get a new puppy already).  People who are uncomfortable with our grief may throw platitudes at us as if a spiritual or psychological phrase or two (from their belief systems) will make everything OK. When such people cannot be avoided, try responding with phrasing such as, "I appreciate you're trying to help me. I am working through this in my own way, with my own beliefs, in my own time." When that doesn't work, don't be afraid to be more direct and say, "I don't find platitudes to be of  help, or to have others tell me what they believe or what works for them. Again, I am working this through in my own way, with my own beliefs. Your acknowledging my loss is enough, thank you."

Though it is sometimes necessary to set boundaries with people who may be offensive, and it's incredibly healing to receive empathic support from those who give it,  what about giving ourselves empathy?



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A first step is to give ourselves the empathic gifts of patience and acknowledgement. We would most probably never say to a beloved animal who is injured or in physical pain, "Gee, just get up and walk already!"  Rather than imposing such a heartless edict to hurry up and heal, we would be more likely to place our hands, our love, and our healing energy and prayers onto a beloved animal who is in physical pain to offer our support and help as they heal in the wisdom of their soul's own timing. We need to offer this same gentle lovingkindness onto our own emotional pain, as we heal in the wisdom of our own soul's timing.   

Listen to the feelings in your own heart and honor them. And for every feeling that comes into your awareness, tell yourself how normal it is to feel that way, then gently pour love and empathy onto those feelings. You might want to close your eyes, place your hands on your heart, and visualize love from your own hands entering your heart, surrounding your grief and pain with soft yet powerful love. Picture your pain shifting from jagged, harsh edges to soft, smooth curves. Picture your pain calming and shifting from a blackness to your favorite calming color, perhaps soft pink, soft blue green. .  . Care for your breaking heart with as much devotion as you likely have your own animals when they were ill.    

Empathy and love from others is powerfully validating,  yet we cannot control the consistency of others' actions of support. We can control our own thoughts and feelings about ourselves. Empathy for ourselves, for our pain of grief, is a powerful act of self love. Showering your grief (and all feelings related to your loss) with empathy and love will not erase your grief, but it can greatly reduce the energy of suffering and invite in the energy of grace.

Think about this:  You deserve to be loved as much as your animal loves you. Learn to love yourself as much as your animal loves you.


3. We need to give ourselves the time and space we need to heal, each in our own way.
We all have different personality types with varying levels of preference regarding being with people and being with ourselves. There is no one right way to handle socializing during the holidays when we are grieving. Some people feel energized, rejuvenated and healthily distracted from their grief by being with others and attending parties and gatherings. Yet for others, just the thought of putting on a happy face and going to social events is daunting. Neither is right or wrong. We need to listen to our own hearts about what we need and then do that, even if this means others may not understand. This is a time to take care of ourselves, in the ways we know are best for us.

A few years ago, when one of my cats died very unexpectedly just a few weeks before Christmas, I knew I needed time alone. Though I am grateful that I was able to be fully present and intimate with him through his last days and his death process, the aftermath seemed unbearable. I felt a deep need to spend time alone and in reflection. During all of my non-work hours, I spent days and weeks sitting quietly in front of the fire with my other cat, looking through photos and alternately meditating, talking with him, and crying out my tears. Sometimes I watched movies or read novels just to escape the intensity of the pain. I made an altar with his ashes, photos, candles and the loving sympathy cards sent after his death. My cat Olivia, who was grieving as deeply as I was, spent time both on my lap and by her brother's ashes (which at her request I took off the mantle alter and placed on the floor because she loved to rub her face against the sacred box of his ashes). We grieved together.

6bd0d6b1-41cf-4f84-a133-54e51fb9be9cOlivia, who purred and rubbed her face over her brother's box of ashes


I did not have it in me to celebrate a holiday and go to parties and dinners. My feline son had died very abruptly and unexpectedly and my world was way off its axis. So I took all the time I needed to be alone, to go within and begin to heal. This is not to say that everyone should do this, or that I will always feel called to have so much alone time every time I experience a loss. With previous losses, I have held both large, celebratory memorial services and small, intimate services. Not only does every person and animal grieve in their own unique way, but every situation of loss is different. Listen to your heart about what you need at any given time, and follow it.

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If you are a family member, friend or loved one of someone who has experienced loss, one of the greatest gifts you can give them during the holidays is to ask them what they are most comfortable with regarding time together, regarding socializing and the need for time alone. Support them if and when they decide to spend time alone rather than socializing. Don't take it personally! And don't attempt to impose on them what you would do, or what you think they should do. This is their loss. Find out what they need and support them accordingly. And when you are with someone in a social situation who is grieving a loss, make an acknowledgment of their loss rather than pretending it did not happen. Honor their loss. Honor the relationship they had with their loved one. Make a toast in a group if appropriate, or make a kind and loving comment in private. You don't have to fix anything or espouse your beliefs about where their loved one is, why death happens or how they will or should heal (in fact, please don't do any of this--it doesn't help unless they have asked for your opinions). Merely acknowledging their loss, telling them that you care and will support their desire for social or alone time is a great gift.


4. It empowers us and accelerates our healing when we reflect upon and take stock of the blessings and many gifts we've received from our time with our loved one who has died, and make a commitment to cherish and use those gifts in our continuing life on earth--keeping their legacies alive.

As heavy and endless as our grief may feel, in the overall timeline of the years with our loved one, their death and our grief from their death is only one chapter of many that we've had together. It is very empowering and healing to take time to reflect upon all the chapters we've had together--the memories, the learning and the lasting gifts from all the days of our lives together. One way to honor our relationship is to identify and acknowledge all we've received from it. This, of course, does not erase our grief but it does place it into the context of the broader wholeness of our life.

One of the rituals we do in my Legacies of Love workshops is called What I've Lost, What I Still Have and The Legacies I've Received and How I'll Use Them. The purpose of this process is to help us view and  consider a "complete" picture of our loss and grief in the context of our life at this time. We have lost something of inestimable value. Yet we also still have much for which to be grateful, much that we can still cherish. And, we have still have much we can create with the gifts we've gained from our time together on earth.

Reflect upon the gifts and legacies left you by your loved one, and how you can invest them in your life. Almost every client I've ever worked with tells me that the greatest gift they received from their animals was love. But in addition to receiving love, there are other stories about learning patience, receiving joy, learning to feel worthy of love, learning about non-judgement, courage, perseverance, commitment, learning that they could be a good parent and much more.  

Some people I've worked with have made sweeping changes in their life as a way to create a legacy in honor of their animal. One woman started a pet loss support group, another started a rescue organization. These are laudable efforts and are helping untold numbers of people and animals. However, not all legacies and how we use them are public. Most, actually, are private and may be known only to the person themselves. One woman told me about how she learned to listen from the example of her cat and decided that she would learn more about listening more attentively to both her other cats and to the humans in her life. Another person told me about how she learned about patience from her dog and courage from her horse. She was so moved by their examples that she considered this learning a great legacy from them, and was committed to practicing more patience and courage in her own life. Every legacy is unique. The important thing is to use them, to integrate them into our daily lives to honor both our animals and ourselves.

May these ideas fill you with courage and love to not only cope with and survive these special holiday seasons and days, but to also find meaning, solace and connection with the spirit of your animal loved ones.




For more help with this issue, you may want to purchase our on demand teleclass: Dealing with Grief During Holidays which includes two hours of digital audio recording and an 17 page handout package with detailed lists and descriptions of ritual and memorial ideas and links to many resources, as well as a separate recording of a guided meditation.

Holidays Teleclass





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If your animal is ill or on the other side, and you want to connect with him or her telepathically, begin by giving yourself a period of undisturbed time by yourself-- perhaps about ten to fifteen minutes, or more if you like. Sit quietly. You do not need to be physically near your animals who are still physically on earth in order to talk with them. In fact, sometimes it is easier to be off by ourselves, not distracted by the visuals of their beauty and our love of their form, which can keep us focused on the physical rather than the soul. Or, it can keep us focused on their illness which can trigger worry or grief. However, if it feels more comforting or appropriate for you to be with your animals, that’s OK. Just be sure to make the intention that you wish to connect with their soul at this time, not primarily their body or personality. Of course, the energy of their personalty may come through in your conversation, and, information about the body may be something you seek or your animal wants to talk with you about. But what we need to focus on in telepathy is beyond and deeper than the body and the personality. In telepathy, we are not reading the body or reading the mind to get information about our animals from some distant, detached vantage point; we are connecting with their spirits to talk with them intimately. If your animal is no longer on the earth, the same principle is true. If a photograph (or other sacred physical item like a collar or fur) comforts you, by all means keep it with you for this process. But know that nothing physical is necessary to make a telepathic connection. Again, just be careful to make the intention to connect with your animal’s soul--their spirit which transcends physicality and personality.

1. Sit quietly, sit comfortably. Become aware of your breathing, just aware of it, in and out, with no need to change it in any way. Just allow yourself to sit quietly become aware of your breath.

2. Let yourself begin to relax, give yourself permission to relax, and being releasing any tension in your body and mind. Picture and feel any tension or worry or stress leaving you-- from your head down through your feet, gently being released. Ask your Spirit Guides or all those you pray to to help you with this. Let the feeling of peaceful relaxation go on for a few moments or minutes if it feels comfortable or right to do so.

3. Hold one or both of your hands to your heart, and picture a beautiful, luminous gold chord connecting you and your animal, a chord connecting the two of you, a chord from your heart to theirs. Let yourself smile gently picturing this--this perfect and eternal connection between you and your animal that nothing can ever, ever break.

4. Feel and bask in the love between you. You know this love so well. The love between you that transcends everything--it is bigger than illness, bigger than death, bigger than grief, bigger than any pain. Let yourself just melt into the love that you share. Feel the perfection of the love--beyond bodies, beyond time, beyond place or circumstance, just your two souls melded together in your love. Let this fill you with gentle peacefulness and deep calm. If you cry, just let the tears come. Know that the great love you share exists right along with tears. Let grace begin to heal any sadness or fear, and allow the greatness of your shared love to begin to bring healing to any tears, even as they may flow. Allow the presence of Grace. Feel yourself being carried above all worry, grief or concern.

5. And now, from this place of connection with the soul of your beloved animal, this place of stillness and grace, begin talking with your animal, easily and naturally right from your heart. Say what you need to say, or ask what you need to ask. Then just quietly listen. The responses you receive may come in words, or they may come in feelings, or in images. They may also come in any combination of these things. Just listen, and stay with the calmness and glory of the Love and Grace. Say all else you need to say, and know without a doubt that whatever you may receive or not receive, your animal will receive your messages.

When we connect in Love, when we ask and listen and speak with Love, it is impossible for our animal to not receive our messages. And for the moments we are in this Love together, no matter how much emotional pain there may be of grief, of worry, of sadness or uncertainty, when we stay in the Love, even for those few minutes, all the other emotions are diminished. Their power to devastate us is lessened. And we are more free to support our animal and ourselves.

As you leave the telepathic connection, and you will know this naturally, know that you may continue to receive messages (in words, feelings or images) as you go through your day and night. When they come, do not doubt them, know they are real. If it would help you to ask your animal, or your own spiritual guides, to help you feel confidence in the truth of the messages, ask them for signs of confirmation. When you are truly open to this, it will come. The more we take ourselves to that calm place of shared love that lies inside of us, the more likely it is that we will perceive our animal’s messages.


A longer version of this meditation to help us connect with our animals after death is available both on CD and as a download


You may also find it helpful to read the article Ideas to Building Confidence and Overcoming Doubts About Telepathic Communication with Animals
or listen to the CD Guided Meditation to Use Before Telepathic Animal Communication


Teresa Wagner
www.animalsinourhearts.com
copyright 2010 Teresa Wagner all rights reserved



The goal of grief recovery is to heal the heart and to use the crisis of loss to grow. Healing the heart can include understanding and lessening feelings of pain, confusion, resentment, guilt or other difficult emotions, while strengthening a sense of acceptance and peace around our loss. Using the crisis to grow can include identifying and cherishing the mutual gifts of the relationship, fully embracing the lessons emerging from the loss, and consciously choosing to use them in our lives. Integrating the gifts and lessons of the relationships into our way of being may be the finest tribute we can make to our animal loved ones. Grief recovery is not just about feeling better, it is about becoming more whole. It is a conscious choice to heal and grow. And as we journey through our healing process, it can help to dispel some myths about grieving.

One common myth about grief we often hear is “you’ll get over it.” We don’t “get over” our grief from a major life loss, it becomes part of who we are. When someone suggests that we “get over it” the implication is that we can let it go from our lives as if nothing truly significant has happened--that we can snap out of it, easily put it behind us, or perhaps even easily replace what was lost. Allowing our grief to become part of who we are, on the other hand, doesn’t mean we live in a state of grief forever. It means that rather than pretend nothing traumatic has happened, we can face what has happened, squarely and with courage, and attempt to learn to accept death and loss as part of our life. Moving on from an intense experience such as grief without fully processing its meaning is not fully living--it’s pretending. So we don’t “get over” grief, but we can consciously heal from it, and move on in our lives with deepened meaning from the experience.

A second myth is that we can heal our grief exclusively from either an emotional or a spiritual frame of reference, that we do not have to address both. Grief is an emotionally painful process. Deep and poignant feelings cry out to be faced and dealt with. Yet it is a spiritual process also. Psychological work helps us heal feelings, to find comfort and support, but it is only connecting with our spirit--with our soul--that allows us to find meaning, to see the bigger picture, and find answers to our questions about life and death. It is in both completing our emotional unfinished business along with embracing our spirituality that we find peace.

Approaching our grief with only a spiritual perspective can create an unhealthy by-pass of emotions, pretending our feelings will go away simply because we’ve spiritually accepted the death of our loved one. This doesn’t work. Strong feelings don’t disappear, they just go underground and come back to haunt us later, pushing us to recognize and heal them. Strong spiritual beliefs do not eliminate our need to heal emotionally. But what they can do, powerfully yet gently, is shift the basic quality, the very character of our emotional pain so it is experienced not with suffering, but with grace.

Processing our feelings can help bring us emotional clarity and completion. Embracing our spirituality brings us the opportunity for peace and grace. We need and deserve both.

A third myth is that time heals all wounds. Time does not heal emotional wounds. The passage of time merely lessens the intensity of our pain, or allows us to escape it through new activities or relationships. Only conscious intent truly heals, not time alone. Healing our grief is not a passive process. Understanding the often described stages of grief such as shock, anger, suffering and disorganization, depression, and acceptance, can help us normalize the range of emotions we feel and our experience. But if we merely wait for the stages of grief to pass through us, we’re taking a passive, reactive stance in regard to our loss, making us even less empowered than we may already feel after a major loss. It takes proactive, conscious intent to heal grief. When we have a physical wound, if we allow only the passage of time to heal it, with no medication, it may scar over. Our body may still function, but the area may always be tender, and may not fully function. The same is true of our grief. We can allow time to carry us to a phase of less pain, to allow us to bury the hurt as we become involved in activity, but we’re not really healed then, just scarred over, and not fully functioning. When we bury any pain, part of our energy is used to protect that place of burial. The energy used for that protection is energy unavailable to us for full living in the present. Though healing is certainly not a linear experience that we can control and manage like a project, healing is an intentional process that we can navigate instead of passively waiting to get better. Just as the captains of ships cannot control weather or waves, but nevertheless go to sea prepared to navigate their journey versus merely being at the mercy of the elements, we too, can skillfully navigate our journey through grief and come through it enriched in a place of greater peace.

If you like the use of visual metaphor, you may enjoy imagining your journey of grief occurring as a trip over a humpback bridge. Evelyn Isadore, my first spiritual teacher (human teacher) had a beautiful Asian painting of a humpback bridge in her office. She used to tell her students that true healing from life problems and hurts entailed mustering the faith and courage to cross the humpback bridge of transition. You see, when first stepping onto a humpback bridge, we can’t see anything but the highly steeped bridge ahead and deep water below. We can’t see the other side and the walk to the top seems arduous. To go across, to get to that full healing, we must first go straight uphill. We can get scared and stay stuck at our first step onto the bridge. We can turn around and forget even trying to go over this bridge of healing out of fear. We can even give up and jump into the waters out of despair or depression. Or we can garner support and comfort in every way we know to help us keep walking over the bridge. We can take a leap of faith to believe it’s worth it to keep going.

Once at the top, the vista is clear, wide, peaceful and all encompassing. From this vantage point of the big picture we can see the past from where we’ve come and the possibilities for our future. We can better see and appreciate all the gifts we still have from the relationship that is physically gone from us. Looking upward we can feel the grace of God in the sky and feel the spirit of our loved ones with us. Looking downward we can see our true selves reflected in the water. From this place we can much more easily complete unfinished business, and we can see the lessons and gifts from where we’ve come. The journey downhill from the top is almost effortless in comparison to the arduous climb up, giving us time to recover from our steep climb and to integrate all we’ve learned, preparing us to reach the other side more whole, ready to move on. There is not only hope at this point in the journey, but knowledge that there is opportunity for joy in life again, even without the one we have physically lost by our side.

These three distinct components of the journey over the bridge--mustering the strength and courage to just keep going, going far and high enough to see the whole picture to come to completion, and time to integrate our learning to move on--can be likened to three necessary components of healing grief:

Coping and Finding Comfort
Completion of Emotional Unfinished Business
Creation--Moving On and Transforming Grief into Growth


To further explore these issues you may want to:

Participate in the 8 hour teleclass workshop Legacies of Love:

Listen to a download of the audio book Legacies of Love: A Gentle Guide to Healing From the Loss of Your Animal Loved One

Read through the web pages on Comfort and Support in Your Time of Grief



copyright 2006 Teresa Wagner
all rights reserved

Anticipating the return of our beloved animals back into our lives on earth can be a very exciting time. It can also be daunting as we worry about things like: where will we find them? how will I know the right time? how will I really know it's them? In addition to information you may receive during a communication session with your animal, I have put together some thoughts and resources to help you understand, trust, and manage the typical and natural anxiety of the reunion process. I hope it will support you and I wish you a glorious reunion experience!

copyright 2005 Teresa Wagner
all rights reserved

The day was exceptionally warm for early October on the waters off of Provincetown, Massachusetts. Sitting on the bow of the boat feeling warm, gentle breezes touch my skin and hair, I was delighted to need only a tee shirt and shorts to go whale watching in the Gulf of Maine in the Fall. I had been traveling here for many years to see humpbacks in both spring and fall weather. It was a first to have such warmth out on the water. Little did I know that soon I would be stunned by a bigger surprise, and offered one of the most important lessons of my life.

The Story of Lambchop and of Blue Jay

copyright 2000 Teresa Wagner
all rights reserved

What follows are two brief stories of the use of flower essences with animals and death: One in which I believe I used them effectively, and one in which I completely missed the mark. I hope you will find them useful.