Are you excited to hear about moving forward through grief? I am! That’s because I interviewed Bobbie Rae Boyer, who coaches people through their grief.
Bobbie Rae unexpectedly lost her 21-year old son recently, making her grief journey very personal. In our interview, we discuss grief in general and grief for the loss of our animals.
This blog is a short version of our wonderful conversation, which I hope you’ll listen to!
Ways to move forward through grief
Grief is a big emotion. It expresses itself in so many ways, some of them unexpected. Here are some key thoughts to help you process your grief.
Find people who understand
You may hear words from friends and family who don’t quite “get” how you feel. So find people who understood what you’re going through. Figure out which friends and family members you can talk to. Find a grief coach like Bonnie Rae or find a local grief group.
Look for people who love animals as much as you do
In my bestseller, “Peace in Passing.” I share one of the saddest myths about our animals’ deaths. People think when you lose an animal that it’s not a big deal.
It’s like they’re talking about an old sweater – “You had that sweater for a good, long time. It’s got a rip in it, time to toss it away. What is the big deal? You can get another one.” One conversation with them is all you need. Go find real animal lovers (Spiritual Pet People is a good place).
Shift from moving on to moving forward
Shift your words from moving on (get over it; let it go) to moving forward (create a new vision of life). Moving on feels like you’re letting go of the relationship. You’re not, but it has changed.
Choose every day
Choose daily what to do with your grief. Can you put your feet on the floor each day and accept the joy that was in your life from that love? How will you move forward so that you can accept love again?
Don’t close down
Don’t stay with the belief, “I’ve experienced deep loss. I don’t want to do this level of grief again.” Believe that a new source of love will be available if you’re open to it.
Acknowledge your anger
Early on, you may not realize you’re angry because you’re so sad. Everybody expects you to be sad. But you might be angry about what people say. They want to ease your sadness, but it doesn’t always soothe.
Ever heard, “In time, it will get better”? or “Just give it a year”?
How about, “Let it go. In a year or two, you’ll have gotten over it. Things will shift.”
Most of us will chafe and get angry when hearing that. That’s when having people to talk to comes in handy.
Grief is sneaky
Grief pops up in weird circumstances. You think you’re good, and something triggers it. It doesn’t matter how long it’s been.
Our grief may never completely go away. Our anger (and guilt and remorse) may subside, but we’ll always feel a sense of loss. Because there is no timeline for grief.
Grief work helps you move forward
You may have repetitive thoughts such as, “Did I do too much?” “Did I keep her around longer than she wanted?” “Did I let her go too soon?” “Was she in pain?”
It’s easier to dwell on those question than dwell on your loss. Then you don’t have to acknowledge, “They’re not here anymore.”
Prune out negative dialogue
Bobbie Rae explains, “We do a project with my grief clients, where we do a pruning project. We don’t prune out people because we can prune that all day long. But we prune out things that are negative so that we can plant the positive.”
50 Smiles Project
Put a sheet of paper on your refrigerator. Every time you walk to the fridge, add a good memory to the list. The more that you focus on those good, positive emotions, the more you start to open up to the joy and the beauty of the new possibilities.
Create a legacy of love
Find the things in your relationship that were positive. Figure out how you’re going to carry those virtues on. Ask yourself, “What am I going to take from this relationship and carry forward to the next relationship that comes into my life?”
Doing grief work on your own is difficult. Make sure you’re moving forward through your grief.
Bobbie Rae has worked with people who’ve lost beloved humans and beloved animals. Find out more at thecenteredground.com. And of course, I help through animal transitions and in my Furbuddy Spirit Circle.
Remember – Grief honors the relationship
I believe that grief honors the soul that we’re grieving. Why? Because we don’t grieve for those we don’t care about.
What have you found most difficult in losing your beloved animal? I’d love to hear from you.
Bobbie Rae Boyer, the visionary leader behind The Centered Ground, understands the daily shifting emotions of grief.
Having navigated the loss of her 21-year-old son, Anthony, she walks with deep compassion besides others as they process their grief, creating alignment and balance as they journey through their losses.
Bobbie Rae uses a variety of holistic modalities in her practice, namely personal grief coaching, movement meditation through the five rhythms, and vibrational sound therapy.
Lucky for you, most of Bobbie Rae’s work is done virtually.
Learn more at thecenteredground.com.