Grief can feel crummy. It is exhausting. It physically hurts. It changes our abilities to make sound decisions. It zaps motivation.
And because we feel so crummy, we also tend to detach from the outside world. We don’t want to be around other people because it doesn’t feel safe. We just don’t know if we will be able to refrain from throat punching the next person who comments that our beloved family members are “just” animals or hints that we should be “over it” and moving on with our lives. It is safer to be home with Netflix. Netflix always understands.
My friend Rachel and I have so much heart for this experience, because we live it, too. My vice is bananas and strawberries (when they are in season) smothered in Wax Orchards Classic Fudge. Oh, my.
Now that I think about it, maybe I shouldn’t speak for Rachel on the throat punching. She probably has purer thoughts than I.
it feels like a lot of work to keep things bound up and stuffed down because it is, in fact, a lot of work. Finding out one more person thinks your grief is out of proportion, has carried on too long, or is otherwise inappropriate adds a perverse twist to your broken heart. Not only do you feel lost, you also feel misunderstood and sometimes crazy. Crazy because most people tell you how you feel isn’t normal, whether they say that directly or not. Crazy because you erupt into tears when you find a microchip certificate for your beloved cat who died six years ago. Crazy because you aren’t sure how it is possible to love someone so much and feel so conflicted about grief because what you feel and what society tolerates are two entirely different things.
Rachel and I invite you to walk with us in the woods. It is a sacred time to connect with other tender hearted humans and share in a ceremony that honors those we love.
In partnership with Summit Veterinary Referral Center, Slobbered Lens (that’s me) is honored to offer a monthly walk to remember animal family members. Rachel Wright, the lead social worker at Summit, will lead us in a heartfelt remembrance ceremony at 9:30 a.m. At the conclusion of the ceremony, we'll move through the woods of China Lake in the way that feels right. For some people that may be walking alone and through the hilly trails. Others may want to be with a group and share stories while they walk around the lake.
There are no expectations or requirements about how to participate. Just know that you can come to this walk and be with people who can appreciate how your life has changed.
We encourage you to bring a photograph or another item that helps you feel connected. I like to bring my fellas' collars because I enjoy hearing them jingle through the park alongside me. No one needs to see that item, although you are welcome to share if you wish.
This will be a monthly offering, and our plan is to rotate locations so we can experience several natural settings.
I'm saving a big hug for you.
I'm Shannon, and I love and am loved by four Great Danes, four cats, and one horse (four Danes, one cat, and one horse are no longer walking this earth). Here I'll share stories of my adventures in grief photography for companion animals, my own grief journey, and thoughts on caregiving.