Grief - A Lifetime Process

"Just let go of him/her, it wasn't right for you"

"It's only an animal, let go"

"Pull yourself together"

"You have to let go"

Unresolved grief is almost always due to something uncommunicated of an emotional nature. Communication is the key. To heal the grief of a loss, we therefore need to find out all the unspoken thoughts and feelings about the relationship. Letting go and moving on are common tips for losses. Wouldn't we do it if we only knew how?

I don't believe that you can let something of great meaning go, ever. We can let go of the emotions by feeling them, letting them flow through our system, when they arise. But we will always carry the loss, feeling the empty space they left behind. And then that empty space is filled with other beautiful souls and experiences. That is life.

A year ago I had to let go of an extremely important relationship and the pain that arose from trying to let go too soon, too fast, was horrible. So many of my friends told me that I had to let go, do the rituals, delete the memories and move on!!! So I thought that was what I had to do, let go. But I wasn't ready and most of all - I didn't want to let go. My desperate attempt to let go so that I could move on only created anxiety and depression.

So no, you don't have to let go of the souls important to you - no matter the relationship. But you need to continue breathing, moving and living. The sadness will come and go, and if you allow it - it's a beautiful thing. Grief is just as beautiful as happiness, it means you have lived and loved wholeheartedly.

Grief is like the ocean; it comes on waves ebbing and flowing. Sometimes the water is calm, and sometimes it's overwhelming. All we can do is learn to swim. - Vicki Harrison

My beloved dog Sol was put to death last week. A stray dog from Spain, Dobermann. She came to us 3 months ago after sitting in a rescue shelter for over six months, before that she lived on the street for about 1 year. That's what we think anyway. We know she had a family, because she was about 8-9 when they found her on the street, only skin and bones filled with wounds all over her body. She had terribly high levels of the disease Leishmania, a parasite found in tropical countries and transmitted by sand flies. Her previous owners cut her ears and tail, probably to make her look like a dangerous guard dog (yes there are still countries that allow this) and after having her for almost her whole life, they threw her out on the streets. No idea how to cope with that stress.

We found an instant connection, me and her, she was mine without me even claiming it. She always stood by my side, she always wanted to protect me, she slept next to me, she looked for me when I wasn't within her eyesight. She wanted me. So we decided that I was gonna take care of her, that she would move with me back to the southern part of Sweden at the end of this year.

A month ago we took her and my mothers dog, Eva, to the vet to cut their claws. As we were there my mom thought it would be a good idea to take some tests on Sol, because she didn't recover the way we'd hoped for. Some days she only slept and some she even bled nosebleeds.

A week later the vet called us to tell us that Sols condition was bad, she wouldn't get better, only worse. Her blood was thin like water. Her blood pressure was low. She had problems with her thyroid gland. And the Leishmania-parasite was probably eating her from within. I knew there was only one humane and fair thing to do. It broke my heart.

I was in shock, even though I already knew we would only get 1-2 years with her, if we were lucky. All of a sudden we were planning her death. She wouldn't follow me to Helsingborg. She wouldn't be there waiting for me when I got home. She wouldn't be there.

She. Wouldn't. Be. Here.

The most shocking thing for me was the amplitude of my sadness. How can I be this sad for a dog I only known for a second? I understand owners who have had there animals since they were babies. But this... Is it even allowed to be this sad?

The answer is yes. Love doesn't understand time. If the love was real, the grief will be just as real.

I am not letting go. I am feeling my way through this. I am communicating my way through this. For so many years I have been holding my feelings in, pretended that I'd let go, so as not to make others uncomfortable with my strong emotions. That is not how grief is processed. This is the reason so many of us struggle with anxiety and depression. So, as the advocate of mental health and self love I am, I have now given myself a lifetime promise - to keep feeling and to keep sharing. This is how we heal grief, communication and connection, not by letting the ones we love go.

Sol will always be with me. I hear her talking to me through the music played on the radio. I feel her warmth when the sun shines on my face. I will always be sad for the misery of a life she had and I will always be glad for the love I was able to give her during her last time here on earth.

Beloved Sol

May you be well

May you be safe

May you be happy

May you rest in peace

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