Monday, April 29, 2013

Sharing Grief

Last night was rough. I spent the end of my evening helping my sister-cousin, Tiger, try to wade through the over-whelming grief and anger that comes with loosing a fur-child.

Although little Noel's life was peppered with health issues that the vet could not identify, we all believed that she was trying to get better. She had not been feeling well the last few days, but that was not uncommon. Her health tended to see-saw so much that we had all come to accept it as part of her life. Not knowing what was wrong with her gave us all a false sense of hope that, one day, she might recover and live a normal life.

Even with her health issues, her passing last night seemed so sudden and unexpected to us all, but especially to Tiger.

Tiger was wracked with the grief and guilt that only a fur-mom can know and I know from my own experiences with loosing fur-kids, that there really isn't anything anyone can say or do to lessen the hold grief wraps around your heart like a vice.  All I could do was try to hold my own grief in check and be a comforting voice on the other end of a too far away phone call.

My heart ached as I listened to one of the most important people in my life try to give voice to the pain that consumed her. My Tiger, so strong, yet with the unbridled heart of a child when it comes to what she loves and values.

As an empath, feeling the emotions of others is something I struggle to avoid most days, but with Tiger, as with Draco and Witchlet, those boundaries do not exist. I have no walls to separate me from them because I refuse to allow them.

Being 2 hours away on a work night, I could not offer her the small comfort my presence may have given her. I could not reach her to hold her with my arms, so I held her the only way I could -- with my heart.

As I let her grief and pain wash over my soul, I knew I was giving her a gift only I could offer her, sharing her grief. Her pain became my pain, her heart to my heart. A bond I share with precious few. I could almost feel our souls connect over the miles that separated us.

I know that this small act on my part did not, and cannot, lessen her pain. Nothing can.

They say that time heals all wounds, but that is not true. I still ache to hold my lost fur-children. My heart is still littered with raw spots that their passings have left, like tiny paw-prints on my heart. I know that the loss of Noel will leave those tiny paw-prints on Tiger's heart as well.

While my gift last night cannot take away her pain, I hope that it at least made the darkness she wandered in a little less lonely, a little less frightening because I know the darkness that grief can cast on your soul. I know the devastation of loss.

Sometimes, there are no words we can offer to those in pain. People often try to fill the silence with empty words and platitudes. Their intentions are good, but sometimes the only thing we truly have to offer another in their moments of grief is our heart and someone to share the pain.

While Tiger made the trip to lay her fur-child to rest, I laid my head in Draco's lap and tried to release my own grief. I had gotten attached to Noel over the many weekends we've spent at their house and looked on her and her fur-sister, Raven, as my nieces. They are Tiger's children in her heart and could be no less in mine.

As I once again light candles this morning, I am grateful that our little Noel no longer feels the pain her body suffered and I hope the light from her candle will lead her safely on to The Rainbow Bridge where she will wait with Tiger's other lost fur-children until they are reunited once more.

I will also light candles for Tiger for the strength she will need in the coming days as she struggles to deal with her loss, for strength for Bear as he tries to offer what comfort he can to the woman he loves as he deals with his own loss. For Aunt Hippy and Uncle Boomhower, who rushed to her side to offer what comfort they could and for myself and Draco while we try to help in whatever ways we can.

My candles are but small dots of light in the darkness Noel's passing has left, but they are lights just the same and I believe with all my heart that Noel can see those lights and knows that we are grieving and that in our grief, she was loved.

Rest easy now, Miss Noel, your family loves you.

With love,