Archive for grief recovery

I have been writing about grief a lot lately, partly because we are all going through it in one way or another. If it’s not the grief of someone actually dying from COVID or other reasons, it’s the grief of a loss of a way of life that was suddenly ripped away a year ago. And many kinds of losses in between.

Plus, I’m walking through the valley of grief myself, as well as alongside many of my clients.

It strikes me that there are several distinct “flavors” of grief, at least two of which few people even talk about.

The Grief of Losing What You Had

This is the first and most obvious grief. You had something precious–a relationship, a business, a dream, a home—and it was somehow lost.

The “flavor” of this grief is bittersweet.

Sweet, because at one time you did experience something good. The lack of that now is what’s bitter.

The steps of Grief Recovery, along with The Healing Codes, heal this grief over time. Read More→

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I thought this would be another story of grace in my ongoing cat saga. Perhaps it is. Just not in the way I expected.

If you followed my cat stories, several months ago we lost Joey, our beloved black cat (the best cat ever), and also became petless for the first time in decades.

After months of not having a cat, and a couple of negative attempts to bring another pet into our lives, a few weeks ago I was really, really missing having a cat. Yet, I didn’t know if I was ready for a full commitment to a pet at this time (vet bills, food bills, and dealing with possible destruction of furniture as we had with the last brief cat visitation). I just entrusted the longing to God.

Not two hours later, I was checking my Nextdoor chat group, and someone posted that they needed someone to take care of her 14-year-old cat for 6 weeks. The cat loved to sit on a lap (and wasn’t picky about whose), she was front declawed, and used her litter box religiously. Bingo!

I private messaged the owner, Zadie, and told her how we’d lost our last cat, who was an older lap cat, I wasn’t ready for a full commitment to a pet yet, we did not have any pets and would love to take care of her cat.

I didn’t hear back from her right away, and let it go, figuring that she chose one of the other volunteers. But I was wrong. Zadie had actually called right away and left a voice message (I often don’t get my vms right away), and said, “You sound just like someone sent from heaven for me and my cat. Please give me a call. I can’t tell you how perfect you are….”

It did seem perfect. Zadie provided all the food and litter. We just needed to provide the love and care. I looked forward to having a lap cat again (who wouldn’t wreck our furniture).

So in came Kaya, a gray Manx cat whose lack of a tail weirded us all out at first. But she was sweet and friendly. All went well—for a couple of weeks.

Soon, however, I began to get concerned. Kaya wasn’t eating much. When she stopped drinking and eating, scorning even her special daily treat of shrimp (I spoiled her as Zadie did), I began to worry.

When Kaya threw up, I contacted the owner. It took Zadie a day to get back to me. She was very thankful that I had contacted her about the problem, and I’m sure, very worried about her beloved cat.

Zadie had her daughter come and take Kaya to the vet. After a couple of days at the animal hospital, during which time I did Healing Codes for Kaya, I got the report that Kaya was eating and doing better and could go home.

This time “home” was not my house. Zadie was sensitive enough to pick up that I wasn’t crazy about taking care of someone else’s sick cat, and had her daughter-in-law take the cat.

What happened, in fact, was that I was triggered into grief about Joey. I remembered that in the last couple of weeks of Joey’s life, the same things happened: he didn’t eat, drink, and he messed outside his litter box (which he never did, and neither had Kaya previously). I could not deal with another sick or dying cat.

I realized I’m still not over grief concerning Joey. I’ve had a lot of grief in the past year or so: Joey, my mother, an ongoing private grief, and other past unhealed losses I didn’t realize I need to work on. They are all melting into each other it seems, and I need to create space to heal it.

With every loss, there is a subtle diminishment of identity. I am no longer a pet owner. I am no longer anyone’s daughter.

Recovering from grief is a journey, and healing grief is more complicated than I thought. Though I’ve been working on it for a while now, I find you can’t rush it.

The outcome of taking in this cat was not what I expected. Instead of the comfort of having a cat purring on my lap (which happened exactly once with Kaya, before she started acting sick), unhealed grief was stirred up.

At this point, it’s like, “three strikes you’re out” concerning cats. Kaya was my third strike. At least for now, I’m not interested in any pets. I need space to heal more of this grief and deal with the recent new challenges that crop up unbidden. I’m in a mode of subtraction, not addition.

When I saw on Nextdoor that another cat “desperately needed a forever home,” I wasn’t even tempted.

This may or may not be the last chapter of my cat saga. If it is, I’m OK with it. There is a time and season for everything. This is a season of letting go. There can still be peace in that.

If you need help in healing grief or any other heart issue, check out my coaching at HealingCodesCoaching.com.

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If you weren’t dealing with grief before the global pandemic, I suspect you’re dealing with it now, in one way or another. Who hasn’t lost something in the pandemic, even if it’s only the familiar way of being able to “do life”?

Many are dealing with loss of so much more. Loss of health. Loss of a loved one (including a pet). Loss of connections. Loss of work, of income. Loss of a sense of stability. Loss of a dream. Loss of faith. Loss of a marriage.

If you have unhealed grief issues from the past, likely any of the more recent losses just make the grief feel even worse. Grief is cumulative, and time does not automatically heal it. That is a myth.

Dr. Bernard McGrane, Professor of Sociology at Chapman University, says that “unresolved grief is the major underlying issue in most people’s lives.” Incomplete recovery from grief can have lifelong negative effects on your capacity for happiness—not to mention your health.

If you’ve felt that your healing has not progressed as you would like, it could well be that unhealed grief is the block.

If you were to tally all the losses of your life, how many would you say feel resolved?

If none or few of them are resolved, I suggest you make grief recovery a priority. According to Grief Recovery Specialist Lynnette Hetzler and others, grief is the natural human response to loss, and there is a process of recovery from grief that is specific.

I invited Lynnette to share both her story of grief recovery and The Healing Codes, and more about the specific steps to recovering from grief. The live webinar interview took place on Wednesday, December 30, 2020.

On the call Lynnette and I covered:

  • myths about grief that can impede your recovery.

  • kinds of losses that need to be grieved.

  • ramifications, physical and emotional, of not dealing with grief.

  • are there “stages” of grief to work through? (The answer may surprise you.)

  • steps to grief recovery.

  • how grief recovery and The Healing Codes work together.

In addition, Lynnette answered questions.

Sign up below to access the recording of the call.

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