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How I'm Doing


Maylissa

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Thanks for asking, Marty (from your other thread). :wub: I figured I should start another one in which to answer, though.

Well, it's been a bit over 7 months now and I'd like to say I'm doing wonderfully, but I'm not. In fact, between the numbness that lasted so long and possibly even the effectiveness of the anti-depressive supplement (not a drug) that I was taking, plus trying TOO hard to 'improve', I've had even more of a delayed reaction to the deep grief than I'd first thought! In some ways, I think I did 'better' with Sabin's loss than with Nissa's, in that I knew very little about coping skills at first and went about it almost in a more natural way.

Whereas this time, I tried to apply maybe too many of those coping strategies too soon, resulting in more of an avoidance of the deeper pain than I'd wanted, or that I think was healthy for me. I'm still stuck in that to some degree, but overall, I've been feeling pretty terrible and debilitated....despite still DOING things for myself and my future. But I miss my girl more and more each day w/o her and many times still can't even begin to contemplate a world w/o her here. :(:(

I'm just beginning my planned foray into animal communication, despite feeling so bad, because I'm desperate to talk to her....directly, if possible, w/o worrying about possible mistakes in interpretation from the pros. (but I also won the draw, out of the whole class membership, for a free 20 minute reading with the pro whose course I'm taking currently, so that's a bonus)

While I've received more signs from Nissa, they still aren't the kinds I'd been waiting and hoping for and I still suspect she's 'pushing' me to develop more of these other things, and trust in my abilities, before that might happen....if I'll even end up needing them as much by then anyway?

Life is going too fast and I often feel very pressured to get more accomplished before the summer gets here. It's been killing me to step outside in 'Nissa's and my' yard for longer than a few minutes on nicer days. It's at those times that I can't even imagine going on w/o her by my side.

I've lost another friend (her choice) or two (more my choice), but gained back a past friend, who's helped me tremendously as we're so much alike and have almost nothing but conversations about our beloved animals, other animals, thoughts and ideas, feelings.....she's saved my life from completely crashing. The local friends ALL deserted me, but I believe I'm better off w/o them as they're not adding to my pain anymore.

I started trying to exercise more, then promptly hurt my knee quite badly, so haven't been able to keep it up (yet). I'd gained even more weight (cripe! :angry: ) but need to get in better shape and lose some for a trip in the summer....with lots of activity planned, so it's a MUST DO!

I'm looking into more and more energy healing, trying to decide what to put my efforts into (both for myself and for helping animals), but have gotten nowhere concrete yet. I've also started attending a Spiritualist church in hopes of both learning more about mediumship and to get (free, or very cheap!) readings....but the weather here keeps making me miss a bunch of services!

But in all this activity, I've kept postponing the hardest things ~ Nissa's tribute, burial and service details, writing down memories, her shadow box, a life celebration slideshow, etc....I just keep avoiding the most painful parts, because it hurts so deeply to go there. And I'm still finding that bedtime is the hardest time of all in a day. I'm often staying up really late, just to be exhausted enough to not THINK AND FEEL SO DARN MUCH when my head hits the pillow and she's not in my arms. I cry more often now than I ever did before. Every better day I have, every 'high' I experience, is marked by an equal low the next day or day after....depending on how long I was more 'up'. I still can't really face the fact that she's not GOING to be here again...unless she reincarnates, but I'm still not ready for even that. I have to get my head, heart and act together and get more of a footing for a different life before I'd want her and Sabin to return to me, because I realize that many things must be different, with me and my lifestyle, in order to not repeat everything in the same way again, ie. take out the unhealthier aspects.

So the length of time that this might take is really bothering me and yet I know it's necessary. I'm impatient for this long, drawn-out process to be over and done with...natural, I know, but still frustrating. It was with that in mind that I can't TELL you how appreciative I was when you mentioned on your interview that you really thought it was healthier for most people to 'complete' the whole process of grief before bringing a new furry soul into one's life. Since I seem to be quite a rarity in this respect (conclusion drawn from reading others' stories and thoughts on this and other pet loss boards), I've even felt different even among fellow animal people. So your comment was not only a breath of fresh air, but an encouragement to me that I'm doing something wise, at least for me. Plus, since visiting almost daily with one neighbourhood cat (the one I THOUGHT was stray, but turned out not to be - yeah!), that's confirmed my decision is the right one. While I love her visits and don't feel they're even long enough, I can still only take the 'good stuff', and it only makes me miss my Nis' all the more in some ways. (but I'm still grateful she's coming by)

So I'm still going up, down, sideways on this roller coaster, and not liking it one bit. Still scared of the depth of my pain....another thing it was good to be reminded of (its normalcy, and prevalence) in your interview. Still seeing a therapist pretty regularly, too...though this weather doesn't seem to WANT me to half the time! I'm constantly having to rebook! But I'm still wishing those who dismiss and minimize animal loss, and especially that of my personal relationship with my Little Nis', would just smarten up already! :angry:;) I feel like even others who have loved their animals so greatly (except for this one friend, who's more like me), are leaving me in the dust, healing-wise. If I may...I could sure use some words of encouragement about this (or anything else!) from you. How do YOU think I'm doing?

Oh, and here's a pic of me and my girl together, since I'd never gotten around to posting one before. It seems to be a real favourite of other animal lovers, as well as one of my own, because this is how we were every single day, many times a day, and shows how we felt about each other...

post-992-1175633464_thumb.jpg

Edited by Maylissa
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Hi Maylissa,

I have also been wondering how you are doing and am so sorry to hear that you are still struggling and in so much pain. It is a very difficult process and it definitely takes a long time and is different and unique for everyone. It can not be rushed no matter how much you want to or wish it could.

Lately I have been thinking about that saying "time heals all wounds" is not really completely accurate. Although for me, time has eased the pain, it has not completely healed it and I do not really think that I will ever completely heal. Hearing about all these pet food recalls and that they have caused kidney problems and kidney failures is only bringing all the horror of Tawny's illness and death back to me. That must be hard for you too since Nissa had kidney trouble as well.

As for getting a new pet, I think it is an individual thing for each person. I admit to getting Sweet Pea because I wanted to ease the terrible, unending pain I felt in the loss of Tawny. What I found for me is that it did help-it got me focused on something else, as she was a young puppy, and I had all the responsibility of housebreaking and training her. She seemed to be the only thing that could bring me a smile or even some laughter in those early days. But I still mourned for Tawny's loss and felt the pain. Anyway, it wasn't an easy decision, but it was the right one for me.

I will continue to keep you in my prayers and thoughts and hope that with more time, you will start to feel better.

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Maylissa, dear ~

The photo of you and your darling girl is just adorable, and a perfect representation of your very special relationship with each other. What a treasure ~ and I’m so glad you put it here for all of us to see!

You ask how I think you are doing, and based on what you’ve told us in your post, it seems to me that you are doing very well. I know that it’s a roller-coaster ride, I know you don’t like it, you’re sick of it and you want to get off ~ but that is not an option. All you can do is keep your seatbelt buckled, hold onto the sides, and stay in the car until the track levels out.

The fact is that you are right where you need to be, Maylissa, and it simply does not matter that your experience of loss seems so different from everyone else’s ~ that is only because it’s true! Your story IS different, your attachment to Nissa IS different, your personality IS different, and your coping style IS different from everyone else’s ~ in this vast universe, that’s what makes Nissa so special, and that’s what makes you so uniquely who you are! It’s good to read about what works for other people, because you might find something that works for you, too ~ something that you may not have considered otherwise ~ but even then, you still must do whatever it is in your own unique way. As the saying goes, you have to take it all, chaff and grain together, then you sift it, keep what is worth keeping, and blow the rest away

Let’s take a look at what I would consider the specific and very positive steps you’re taking.

Even though you’re “constantly having to rebook,” you’re still seeing your therapist on a regular basis.

Even though “the length of time this might take is really bothering me,” you’re consciously and deliberately letting your grief run its course, however long it takes, because you know it’s necessary.

Even though you injured yourself, you’ve still been trying to exercise more, and you’re still determined to “get in better shape” so you can participate in all the activities you’ve planned for the summer because it’s a MUST DO!

Even though you know you’re not quite ready yet, even though you “still can’t even begin to contemplate a world without [Nissa] here,” you still realize that many things must be different with you and your lifestyle; you recognize the need to “take out the unhealthier aspects” in your life, and you’re still taking concrete steps to relearn and rebuild your world as it exists for you now, by

•Re-establishing and developing a close, satisfying, and supportive relationship with a past friend

•Letting go of unhealthy relationships with so-called friends who only added to your pain

•Planning a trip this summer with lots of activities included

•Pursuing special interests that may lead to a new career or a new direction in your life ~ by taking a class in animal communication, looking into energy healing, and attending a Spirtualist church

Even though you’re “postponing the hardest things” and “avoiding the most painful parts” by not completing your plans for memorializing Nissa, you’re still able to state what you intend to do, and you will do it when you are ready to do it! After my beloved Muffin died, Maylissa, three years passed before I could so much as tell the story of his life and tragic, accidental death ~ and even then it wasn’t planned! I happened to be taking a creative writing class, and one of our assignments was to write a description of an important person who’d had a great impact on our lives. For some unknown reason I felt a need to ask if that “person” could be a companion animal. The teacher was a little taken aback, but she said okay. I then wrote a piece about my cockapoo entitled Memories of Muffin, and I couldn’t even read it out loud to my classmates without sobbing when I got to the part about his dying. I didn’t know it at the time, but several years later that same piece was to become the introduction to my book, The Final Farewell: Preparing for and Mourning the Loss of Your Pet. And as you know, my totally unexpected and profound reaction to Muffin’s death ~ and what I subsequently learned from that ~ is what initially got me interested in the subject of pet loss and grief, and started me on my present career path. So you just never know where these major crises in life will lead you ~ much less how long it will take you to get there!

I think it's telling that you won the draw for a free reading with the teacher of your animal communication class, and I cannot help but think that your precious Nissa had a paw in that! You say the other signs you’ve received from Nissa still aren’t the kinds you’ve been waiting and hoping for, and I’m reminded of something I read recently in Louis LaGrand’s wonderful new book, Love Lives On: Learning from the Extraordinary Encounters of the Bereaved. On pages 119-121 he writes:

Seeking an Extraordinary Encounter

I tell every client who comes to me that there is nothing wrong with asking or praying for a sign that your loved one is okay. You will receive a sign when you need it most. Be patient. Persist. Be specific. Keep petitioning. Stay alert and increase your awareness of the coincidences, feelings, unusual happenings, intuitions, and good things that occur during your day. Give thanks when what you have prayed for arrives. Persistent prayer cannot be denied. In particular, ask your Higher Power to allow you to have a visitation dream. Many spiritual counselors believe that dreams are the easiest way for spirits to communicate with survivors.

You might also combine your prayers with meditation. If prayer is talking to the Intelligence, meditation is listening to that Intelligence. Meditation – opening your mind and heart to the messages of the universe around you – will put you in an ideal state of consciousness to receive an Extraordinary Encounter . . . if something happens to you during your prayer or meditation session, and you are not sure how to assess it, ask yourself four questions:

•Is this the kind of thing my loved one would do?

•What is my intuitive feeling about the event? (Notice what comes into your awareness – what thoughts, physical feelings, emotions.)

•Has this event brought the feelings that love has been given and received?

•Most important of all, did the experience bring peace?

If the answer to the last question is yes, you should feel confident that you’re being led by a power greater than yourself, regardless of what name you attach to it. I firmly believe that peace and a sense of belonging or connectedness go hand-in-hand, and that the road to true healing lies in following that peace.

Maylissa, I am heartened by your progress, and I truly do believe that you are doing just fine. I am extremely proud of you. :wub:

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Hi Serl,

Thanks for still being here for me, even though I haven't been around much lately.

As I learned long ago from this site and other books I'd read, that saying is not accurate. As Marty often reminds people, time itself is neutral and does nothing by itself, but it's our own action w/i time that can help us. I think our sense of time marching on only gives us an incentive to do something for ourselves, but what that is, is up to us. When a trigger occurs to bring up parts of our own stories, the fact that we can be right back in those past moments in a flash, is a reminder of how relative time really is, just as Einstein said.

So the pet food recalls as related to kidney disease in our kids is such an illustration. They haven't affected me in quite the same way, though, since I've taken much comfort in knowing that I never fed such low-quality foods to Nissa for many of her years, and so she was never in any danger from that sort of thing. Instead, it reminds me of what good care I provided for her and how I still believe that is what helped extend her life for so long after her diagnosis.

I know getting another furbaby soon after was right for you and can even understand how that could bring some smiles and laughter back into life. I've had a few small chuckles over our neighbour's cat, Maggie, too. But for me, that's ALL I can handle, as I'm still quite exhausted over the sheer amount and intensity of the caregiving I supplied to both Nissa and Sabin all those years. That, plus the emotional unreadiness as well. Of course I'm happy for anyone who is helped and not hindered by taking on that responsibility, but I DO seem to be in the minority in this, so it adds a bit more loneliness to the equation.

When I'll finally feel better, I can't say, but I'm plowing on for now. Thanks for the well-wishes, and of course, the same to you.

Hi Marty,

Well, as usual, your reply had me in tears....don't worry, I mean tears of gratitude and relief, and even a spot of joy, because your replies always leave me feeling so loved and cared about. :wub:

Thank you so much for expressing your sense of what that picture of me and my gal brings with it. Yes, it is a treasure and thank God I have many such pictures, even if they make me cry my eyes out with the missing of our special ways together.

I can't tell you how relieved I am to hear from you that you think I'm doing so well! I don't know why I've been doubting myself so much with this, seeing as I've been through so many griefs already, but I suspect it's because of the pressure I was feeling, between one therapist (not the one I've kept seeing) and of course other, less educated people around me expecting too much from me and feeling too weak myself to resist their errors in judgment. But your expert assessment (which does agree with my current therapist's) gives me more hope and a nice, clear outline of my progress to read in black and white. Thank you so much for that! You know I always appreciate your lengthy, and yes, well-thought-out replies but this time, even MORE so, as I really needed this encouragement. Plus, if anyone tries to push me too hard now, I can print out your response and wave it in their faces! :P

But you know what helped the very most?...your sharing of how long it took you to even speak of your dear Muffin's story. You likely can imagine how much utter relief that brought me! It felt like someone opened the steam release on the pressure cooker in my head. I've even passed on your experience to my dear friend, who has also felt so alone in her longer journey (though she's still well within that average time frame of 2-5 years). It has just seemed to me that no matter how many people I tell that time frame to, they all seem to think it 'unreasonable', and many rush to 'get out' of it much faster. So even based just on that one aspect of your own process, I feel much more at ease about how much I've accomplished so far, even with the delays.

I suppose I've also been feeling like I've betrayed my girl, by not getting to those more intimate and tougher tasks involving her, because all I had to compare these to were when I did the same things for her brother. While I had even more time to accomplish a few of the same things for him, the delay was in part because I still had Nissa to look after, whereas this time, I don't have that 'excuse'. Other tasks I just accomplished sooner, for whatever reason. It's hard to reconcile these differences, when I loved them both just as much, so I seem to expect myself to do everything the same way, in the same amount of time or even less! I seem to be treating this similarly to how we believe (erroneously) that the time and intensity of our grief is proportionate to how much we loved somebody. Not true, not correct I know, but I'm doing it nonetheless. My head's ahead ( <_< ) of my heart.

And as you know, my totally unexpected and profound reaction to Muffin’s death ~ and what I subsequently learned from that ~ is what initially got me interested in the subject of pet loss and grief, and started me on my present career path. So you just never know where these major crises in life will lead you ~ much less how long it will take you to get there!

I can well appreciate how profound Muffin's presence in your life and the lessons he taught you have been. As is being emphasized in my A.C. class, the awareness of our own personal/spiritual 'blueprints' that our animals carry into their physical incarnations, and which they seek to help us evolve into, can have the biggest and most far-reaching effects on us, and on what we do with our lives. Muffin certainly guided you well (!), just as I already know Sabin and Nissa have done for me. No, I can't see end of this path yet, or even the middle, but I DO trust that there is a definite plan and that if anyone will help me to achieve it, it will be my kids....and their sure paws! -_- Yes, I agree...Nissa must have had her dainty little paw in my winning that draw! I hope she has something very special to tell me once I redeem my prize! (I also won a free flower essence, so chose the "Telepathy" mixture ;) )

I also liked what Louis LaGrand had to say, particularly the questions he posed. I'll have to print them out for easy access....and check out his book, too! I admit to having become rather phobic about the hope for dream visitations, as I've had only ONE from Nissa (as opposed to several from Sabin, and even more than one each from my Mother and brother, whom I was nowhere near as close to!), so that's probably not helped me there. At the same time as all the other things I've been attempting, I've been trying my best to practice the Law of Attraction, so realize my fears of not receiving visitations are most likely getting me exactly what I fear - no more!.....sigh....someone (maybe you??? :) ) needs to write a book about how to apply this Law whilst grieving, or to grief! :wacko:

As always, you've given me much to think about, and more to be grateful for. :wub: I'm so glad I asked and even gladder you took the time to answer. And the fact that you're so proud of me...I think I'll eat that icing before my cake! Bless you, Marty, for being who you are and giving so much of yourself to all of us.

Purrs,

Maylissa

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Thank you for taking the time to respond to my post, Maylissa. I so appreciate it, especially because of the grief you are still experiencing. You did indeed take wonderful care of Nissa, and I too am sure that is what helped prolong her life. Not only does everyone grieve differently and also in their own "time" and way, but also each death brings on its own unique grief. As much as you grieved Sabin, you still had Nissa to care for and to comfort you.

Marty- I know that what you wrote was for Maylissa in particular. But I found some comfort in it too. I am also in therapy, and one of the things that I discovered in my sessions is that as much as I miss Tawny on a daily basis, that is not what hurts me the most. It is her untimely and totally unexpected death that continue to haunt me. She was just TOO young and I feel it was so unfair and that she was cheated out of her life. Even today, I continue to worry about her and wonder if she is okay. Upon my therapist's suggestion, I have tried to repeat to myself that wherever she is (?) that she is okay, but I find that easier to believe some days than other days. That is why I found the section on visitations so meaningful, and I will reread it and try to work on this to see if I can received a visitation from her. I just so want to believe/KNOW that she is alright. And like Maylissa, although I too want to do some kind of memorial, I continue not to be ready. Just writing this has brought new tears and I know that looking at her pictures still has the same effect. So I appreciate your imput as well and also knowing that it is not abnormal to have such a strong reaction to a pet's death. There is no one else who understands why the death of Tawny impacted and devasted me so much more than the death of my parents, and sometimes I wonder that myself. But it is what it is and I am grateful that there is one place where others understand.

Serl

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My dear Serl,

I so appreciate your post, as it gives me the opportunity to tell you (and all who may be reading this) that whenever I post a message on this site, I am acutely aware that I am "speaking" in a very public forum. If ever I believe that what I wish to offer is not for "public" consumption, I would communicate with a member via our Private Message (PM) function.

One of the most valuable aspects of these forums, I believe, is that when one member raises a concern and one (or more) of us responds, then everyone reading the exchange can benefit from the same information. So I am pleased to know that whatever I said to Maylissa has resonance for you as well, and I hope for others, too.

That said, I wonder if you've ever considered consulting an animal communicator, or doing some reading about the subject of animals and the afterlife, as a way of addressing your concerns for Tawny's welfare? If you're interested in pursuing these topics, you might find some of these resources helpful ~ and I'm sure Maylissa and others have favorites that they can also recommend:

Sorting It Out: Spiritual Beliefs about Death and the Afterlife

Blessing the Bridge

Animals in Our Hearts

Animals and the Afterlife

Dogs Have Souls, Too

Do Pets Go to Heaven?

Do Pets Go to Heaven?

God's Messengers: What Animals Teach Us about the Divine

Blessing the Bridge: What Animals Teach Us about Death, Dying, and Beyond

You might find this article of interest as well:

Can Losing a Pet Feel Worse than Losing a Relative?

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Thanks, Marty, for the mention of these articles. I will definitely take a look at them and really appreciate you passing them along. Actually I have considered consulting an animal communicator, but I am not really sure how I really feel about that-do I believe or not? But it is certainly something that I continue to consider. I'm not sure how I'd even go about finding a good, reputable one, maybe there are others on this board who can give me some imput on this. Thanks again.

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