On the same day I heard the sad news about my friend Yvonne's dog, Carmel, I was "friended" on Facebook by Nadine Rosin who has written a book called The Healing Art of Pet Parenthood. I guess it was meant to be.
We emailed back and forth a little on pet loss and Nadine highlighted the following passage from her book:
"And then there was the inevitable, “So when are you going to get a new dog?” or after three weeks one friend asked, “Aren’t you over it yet?” and “You were lucky she lived as long as she did, you should be happy about that” and so on. Soon I learned that I could take better care of myself by screening all my calls and not even returning some of them.
What I learned was this: there is only one thing to say, in my opinion, when someone loses someone they love and that is, “I am so sorry. I love you and want to help. Tell me what needs doing that you can’t handle right now.” That, and like all the grief books say, be there to listen.
If they want to tell you the death story forty times, let them. That’s how you can be there for them and support their healing. That’s how I knew I must be there for my friends in the future when they lost someone.
I wondered why we aren’t taught about grieving in school, why as adults, we still don’t know how to deal with it or behave with others who are dealing with it. Death’s loss, the one thing we know for certain we must face, and yet most of us are clueless when it comes to helping each other through its devastating wake."
copyright 2008 Nadine M. Rosin- all rights reserved. Wheatmark Publishiing
May not be reproduced or retransmitted in any form without written permission of the publisher.
Such excellent advice for all of us.
Nadine has also put together a video about the loss of her dog who died of cancer and is the inspiration of her book. Check it out below - it's a very touching piece about a very characterful dog and a woman who doesn't apologize for loving her dog in both life and death.