Regarding Grief and Change

I wish grief was as simple as following “the five stages of grief” 🙁 that would greatly simplify life! It would be nice if they were in order, too. But they aren’t.

The mythic of the 5 stages of grief and the order they go in was formulated by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, a wonderful and beautiful pioneer of grief, death, and dying. She was the seminal author on this topic.  Does that mean she was right? No. Does that mean she was wrong? No. Was she revolutionary? YES!! YES!!!

She introduced the topic and expounded on it. She made it acceptable to talk about grief and the process we go through.  She made it okay to talk about dying and our reactions to it. I’m grateful for that. You have no idea how appreciative I am of that.

Grief makes us human because we have human responses to loss. The big thing to remember is that it’s just not death that is a loss. In some ways, death is a traditional and unambiguous loss. You have no choice about it. It’s permanent. But other kinds of loss? More ambiguous because the person you are losing is still alive, active, and possibly doing things that are painful for you.

The grief literature is very extensive about death and permanent loss, but it’s not as good about the more ambiguous loss. I have total sympathy for this. The ambiguity resonates with me: because people are ambiguous about their feelings.  They can feel multiple things at once.  In the face of opposing feelings, even seeing two sides to the issue (which I think makes it worse), it can make a conclusion or resolution worse.

My final advice about anyone going through a loss or disappointment: IT IS OKAY, YOU WILL BE OKAY. WHAT YOU FEEL IS OKAY. AND IT TAKES TIME. DON’T LISTEN TO PEOPLE WHO JUST SAY “GET OVER IT.”

Because your feelings and your process are YOURS. You own it. It’s yours. Be it. Express it. Feel it. And most of all, take your time.



Losing My Cat Today

About to do the hard thing. The mobile vet is coming soon to put down my cat Lou. She is 14 years old. She has an open sore on her hip along with something that looks like a tumor. She’s had the tumor for about 6 weeks or more. The open sore for maybe a week or two. She has stopped eating and doesn’t look good though she does manage to creep around.

She’s my son’s first pet. I gave him to her right before his 4th birthday. He named her. So I know putting her down is the right thing to do and frankly she’s been one of the meanest cats ever for the past few years but we have loved her, warts and all. I feel sad in these last minutes while waiting for the vet van to pull up my driveway.

I got him a cat for two reasons. One, I love cats. Is there a better reason that that? No, I do not think so LOL.  Loving cats is a good reason to have a cat!

The other reason is I wanted him to learn compassion for beings who are helpless and dependent.  Kittens are certainly that.  They NEED you.  You’re the one with cans of cat food after all! And let’s not forget the ever lovin’ pervasively stinky litter box…..You MUST love a cat to put up with a litter box!!!!!

Okay, so back to compassion. The earliest, easiest way to learn compassion is to learn ow to care for another being. I think it needs to be taught early as well.  I don’t think it comes automatically. In getting a cat, I wanted my son to know what compassion, kindness, and caretaking looked like. I taught him to pet her gently.  I taught him how to play with her — how cats like to play. I taught him to feed her. I taught him not to strike  her when she scratched him (that was difficult for him) He went with her to the vet.

Losing her was very hard, even though for the past few years she’s been an extremely cranky cat.  She’s been hard to love. Loving a being even when they are almost impossible to love…well that has to be the greatest lesson of all.

RIP Louie.  We have loved you and will miss you always.

UPDATE: May 25th, 2015

Today I inadvertently looked for my elderly cranky cat for where she was sleeping today..meaning I looked over at one of the places I used to see her sleeping on a regular bases. She was not there. So I thought oh, yeah she is not here anymore. And I was sad…even if she WAS the meanest cat ever to live on this earth…Yeah I can still miss her.

I posted that on my FB page today and a friend wrote back: “If you looked for her expecting to find her, she was there in spirit letting you know she was still with you. I dont think she was mean. She was just aloof. She wanted a relationship on her terms.