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Christmas Letter 2008

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To all my Grief Site Friends,

Each year I send out a Christmas Letter - some of them by mail and some by e-mail to my PC friends. During the last three years I now also send a copy to each of you. Below you will find this years version of my Christmas Letter. Here it is:

Christmas 2008

I recently ran across the following story about how much we all depend on one another to get though life.

Christmas is a good time to share this story. Sally Wagner, Public Information Officer and Ohio State Fire Marshall wrote it:

“As we head into the final weeks before Christmas, I am reminded of how much we depend on one another to get through the little things in life…the small things that in the overall scheme of our existence seem insignificant. However, it is the support and encouragement we give one another as we travel through the narrow doorways of life that seem to matter most.

A friend emailed me today about the death of his longtime family companion who had suffered much in his final days - The family cat - Minus - (may he rest in peace).

In our days of corporate collapse, of bank accounts that seem to dwindle overnight, of marriages that in today’s strength may fizzle to a memory tomorrow…the death of a cat may seem small. However, it occurred to me how much faith my friend place in how we face the world together; how much trust he place in knowing that I, and others, can somehow share his grief and offer words of encouragement. For we too have faced the pain.

As we go through our days, it is not help with those big picture items that matter the most.

• It is the quiet, gentle hand stretched out to reassure and comfort others.

• It is the sharing of joy … the sharing of hope … the sharing of life.

It is not the huge moving van that shows up at our door with 16 hired assistants that seem to get our lives in order.

• It’s that one misplaced item picked up and moved lovingly back into place by a friend.

• It is the faith we place in those we care about.

• It is the trust we have for those who help us through our lives by simple being there.

May God continue to bless us in the coming years with our friendships.

May our friends and family know how much their existence means to us.”

Wishing each of you a wonderful and peaceful Holiday Season

“Love you – Lots Lots”


In Memory of - John “Jack" Edward Orler – A book written by John R. Davis

“Finding My Banana Bread Man - a journey through mourning”

Order through Wheatmark—1-888-934-0888 X 151 - http://www.wheatmark.com/bookstore/


Wishing each of you peace and love this holiday season.

John - Dusky is my handle on here

Love you Jack

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The death of a cat does not seem small at all to me...I lost Tigger (when George died he ran away), Chappy (a cougar got him), and King George (he died after a full life of 19 years) and now Lucky (my Whippet) who succumbed to old age and was put to sleep last month. Each of these occurred after my George died and each loss added to the previous one. Our pets mean a great deal to us, they are a comfort and a blessing!

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A death of a beloved cat is not small. I remember in my grief group there was a man who was a retired police officer. He was divorced. He had lost partners who were killed in the line of duty, and also had lost some family members. He reacted as he had been trained, he was strong and stoic and did not "give in" to grief. Then his cat died. That was what broke down his denial -- he said that was so devastating that he finally sought out grief counseling, which then allowed him to deal with all his losses. He was in our group being trained as a grief counselor, and he never, never belittles a pet death as small or unimportant.


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May I add some insight and interpretation to My Christmas Letter. Consider the following:

I do not believe the writer of the message within my Christmas letter, which I found on the internet, was trying to imply that the death of a cat was small or insignificant. She used the word "may seem small" as a means to raise everyone’s awareness of how significant any loss is – of any species. She was using the death of “Minus the cat” to actually show how important any life is and how important the acts of kindness shown toward the griever were - following the death of “Minus.”

The tears I have shed for the loss of Dusky, our Dachshund who died 4 years ago during Jack’s illness, are just as real and painful as the ones shed for Jack.

The person quoted in my Christmas letter was actually showing us how important the cat “Minus” was, and was not in any way belittling “Minus.” She was showing us how much trust the owner of “Minus” placed in her (the writer) and others, and how he placed great trust in his friends to help him grieve the loss of his cat, and welcomed their words of encouragement.

It was not my attempt to raise controversy about a human’s death versus a pet’s death with my Christmas Letter. Rather the message within the letter was sent to all my friends, family and the members of our grief site, to allow us all time to reflect on the many faces of grief. To note how the smallest gestures extended to those who grieve are seen as large gestures to the one who is grieving.

Love and peace to each of you.

John – Dusky is my handle on here

Love you Jack – and Dusky.

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John, dear, I would venture to say that anyone who is familiar with this site already knows that here, we honor the strength of attachment to our cherished animal companions just as much as we honor the bond we have with our beloved human loved ones, and we understand the grief that comes with the loss of them. I read all these responses to your post as understanding completely what you were saying, and being in agreement with you. What matters is not the species of the one that we've loved and lost ~ what matters is the love itself. :wub:

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