Pet loss grief is a disenfranchised grief.
That means it isn’t always accepted by general society, and it can lead people to say inappropriate things to people in grief, be unsupportive or be entirely absent.
These are people who don’t understand the depth of love we have for our pets, the profundity of our connection to our best fur friends, and the pain we experience when we lose them.
In today’s episode One Last Network host Angela Schneider has some real talk with Beth Bigler of Honoring Our Animals about the stupid shit people say, how to manage those people and where to look for support.
Beth is a double-certified pet loss grief counselor, a certified pet chaplain and a certified end-of-life animal companion doula. She works with individuals and families before, during and after the loss of their beloved animal companions.
She’s known for her Instagram account, @honoringouranimals, where she shares daily content and tips about pet loss grief with a unique blend of humor, compassion and telling it like it is.
She works closely with animal care workers, veterinary professionals and other pet industry brands on grief training and awareness.
She is a seasoned film and television professional, college instructor and mom of a 3-year-old son and three crazy cats.
Hey, Beth Bigler, how’s your day going?
Hey, I’m great. How are you doing?
I’m all right. I want to get started by having you tell us a little about you.
All right, my name is Beth Bigler. I am a pet loss grief counselor and I work with pet guardians before, during and after the loss of their beloved animal companions to help them adjust to the profound and deep loss that they’re experiencing and hopefully help them reengage with their lives and in a way that makes them feel happy and satisfied, even if their animals are no longer with them.
We found each other on Instagram you are @honoringouranimals. And one of the things that drew me to you is that you are so frank, no bullshit, right to the point kind of person, does that set you apart in in this field? Instead of you know, the gentle touch?
Are you calling me not gentle?
I am calling you.
Well, um, look, my Instagram is a riot, I encourage you all to come over and visit, we have a lot of fun over there. We do laugh, you know, sometimes we laugh about our losses. And I do a lot of real talk about the depth of this grief, the validity of our grief. And I really like to show up and talk about things that I perceive that other people aren’t talking about. There’s a lot of things about pet loss, and, you know, our general narrative culture in our country about grief and loss. And there’s a lot of associations that don’t resonate with everybody. You know, not everybody imagined their animal with like angel wings on an on a rainbow bridge. And I’m totally down with that, for anybody who wants to, you know, talk about that.
But there’s a lot of people where that doesn’t resonate. And I think that’s how a lot of people resonate with me. So I’m really trying to talk about nuts and bolts kind of stuff, I’m talking about what do we do? How do we get through it? And how do we survive it? Because to me, that’s the most important part about pet loss is the ability to survive it.
And I feel like some other people that talk about it aren’t really talking about how it is, life and death, not just for our animals, but for ourselves. And I have to talk about that openly. And frankly, I can’t, can’t ignore that crucial piece of it. So I’m pretty direct. I’m pretty bold. I will also say that my Instagram is primarily to, yes, reach grieving pet guardians, but also to educate, inform and entertain and spread a bigger mission to normalize and validate pet loss grief. My, my one-on-one work with clients is a slightly different, right, and some might even say gentle, so you know, it’s a mix.
OK, but whoa, one second. How do we have fun with the topic of grief? We are trained to have that be a very dissonant connection in our brains, aren’t we?
Who taught you that?
Exactly. Who teaches us anything about grief?
It’s a really good question to ask yourself. It’s a really good question to be, like, what do I believe about grief? What have I been taught about grief? What do I think grief is? And why do I think that? Almost every day, when working with clients, someone says, I feel so bad because I laughed at a joke. And I should be crying all the time. Because, you know, my dog died. And I was like, who taught you you had to cry all the time, because your dog died?
So I think part of having fun is also showing people that I’m smiling, I’m talking about things and sure we talk about a lot of sad things, too. I started crying when I was making a Reel the other day. But I do also try to bring lightness, try to bring hope, try to bring optimism, which is not the same as toxic positivity and try to, you know, show people through my own example, that yes, this sucks, and it’s horrible. And it hurts. But we can get through it. We can get through it together, we can smile, we can laugh, we can enjoy things.
And that’s what we were doing when our animals were here. So let’s not forget that that’s an integral part of our life. So many of us believe that in order to express our love for our animal companions, who are gone, that we have to be in pain, and that is not true. You do not need to be in pain all the time to prove your love. So that’s some of the stigma that I’m working on breaking and that’s why I think it’s OK to have a little fun with it too.
Who’s Arne? And how does he inspire you to do this work?
Arne’s my soulmate, Arne was a orange and white tabby cat who got me through the worst times in my life and the best times in my life. And he showed up for me in a way that no one else ever had. And Arne taught me more about life than any other relationship in my life. And it was the most profound and meaningful 12 years of my life. And Arne died and I didn’t think I would survive it. But I did. And so how he inspires me today is he shows up with me, in every session, he’s showing up with me right now. He shows up with me every time I’m, I’m speaking about this. And I take the lessons, guidance and teachings that he gave me, and I help bring them to other people. And I help remind myself that I can bring his message to other people and get them through the worst moments of their life.
I get to show up as Arne every day in my work, and that’s a gift.
Angela Schneider 5:58
You were sitting in a vet waiting room with Arne, or waiting for Arne, and another pet guardian was there alone and facing having to go through euthanasia alone, and you got up and went over and sat with her. And is that the beginning of where you realized what you were meant to do?
Absolutely, that was the pivotal moment of it all. I would say that what happened to me is that Arne when he was 11, got a 30-day prognosis on a pretty nasty cancer. And I didn’t know how to keep living. So I did immediately get an amazing pet loss grief therapist, and I put myself back into regular therapy. And so I had begun working in an amazing way with anticipatory grief to get me ready.
And simultaneously, we did kind of a Hail Mary chemo and we did get Arne into a remission, which was a miracle. So, but I had, but I continued doing the anticipatory pet loss grief work, because it was really important to me, I was discovering a lot about myself and why did I not want to live in a world where Arne wasn’t and what did it mean if he was going to die, and so I kind of kept doing the work.
So it was about six months into … after his diagnosis that this happened to me at the vet’s office and there was a woman there and she was alone, and she was upset. And I just went over to her, I sat beside her took her hand, and I said, what brings you in today. And she told me that her 3-year-old cat had drink some lily water and lilies are super toxic to cats — PSA, everyone, don’t send lilies to cat owners. She didn’t know, she didn’t know about that. So they were gonna have to euthanize the cat, the cat was a beautiful Russian blue cat, which was just like my childhood cat.
I just sort of knew what to say, I knew what to do. I knew how to hold the space for her. And I ended up staying with her the whole rest of the day, my husband took Arne home, and I stayed with her to the end, and made sure she got home, OK. And I walked out in the parking lot and I looked up at the night sky because it was nighttime by then, and I thought, oh crap, I’m gonna have to change my whole life and do something about this. No, I’m gonna have to handle this at some bite, I got to do this, this is … this is for me.
And six months after that, Arne died unexpectedly because he actually got a different cancer that killed him within four days. And we never saw it coming and there’s nothing we could do. So I was really grateful for all that anticipatory work I had done. And of course, I did some more grief counseling work after that. And not too long after I started beginning my own training and certifications, and working and working with clients and building my own private practice. And that’s what got me here. I had been an entertainment executive before as a TV producer and writer and kind of Hollywood type. And this changed my life, Arne changed my life. And now I serve other people in their moments of need. And it’s awesome.
Not to disregard what you did in your previous life but this has to be a little bit more soul fulfilling.
There is a tremendous soul fulfilling purpose to putting art into the world and putting stories and storytelling into the world. So I definitely am a big believer in art and entertainment. But this is profound. And this is honoring people who are suffering for many of them the worst loss they have ever faced or will ever face and being able to walk right alongside someone when they’re going through that and to be able to see for them the opportunities that may come for them the growth that may come for them to be able to see for them that they will be OK, to be able to see that ahead even when they can’t see it themselves is deeply moving and deeply fulfilling.
With that first woman back at the vet clinic, did it feel natural to you to just give her space? And were the words that came out of your mouth natural or did you know instinctively what to say or what not to say?
I repeated some things I had learned already, in my own experience, but mostly I just listened. Because the number one thing we can do for anybody that’s going through this is just listen and let them say what they want to say. And not try to give advice or judgment, but really just — cheesy phrase — hold the space. And so it was less about knowing what to say and more understanding to be quiet, and let her know someone was there and someone heard her and she could voice whatever she wanted to voice. I think it was more about listening, than saying.
Because let’s face it, when we’re in grief, the people in our lives, do say some stupid shit. How do we deal with that? First, let’s talk about some of the stupid shit people say.
Well, I’d like to say something upfront, I’d like to say, because I’m gonna talk about the stupid shit. But I would like to say, you know, grief is a big revealer of limitation in the people around us. And just because somebody says something totally out of line or out of bounds or stupid, it doesn’t mean that they’re necessarily a terrible person, or someone that you need to cut out of your life immediately.
We are so grief illiterate in the world, and we are extra grief illiterate about animals, and people and human-animal bond. Even if you’ve lost an animal before, you might just say the wrong thing. So I do just like to say before I dive into, like, why do people say this stupid shit, I would like to say, if somebody has said something hurtful to you, or dismissive or invalidating, I’m really sorry, I’m sorry that that happened to you.
And you are in control, you decide what you want to do about that. But I like to remind everybody that sometimes good people say stupid things, and they don’t know better. And I’m working real hard. You’re working hard, Angela, we’re working hard to help people do better about this.
Sometimes when we’re grieving, we can really just be like, well, that person said one, you know, foot in the mouth moment, and I want to get rid of them forever. And you might get real lonely because a lot of people are gonna say foot in the mouth kind of things with animal loss. So I do just like to make that disclaimer. But yeah, let’s talk about it. Have you heard anything stupid? I mean, I got I got a list for days.
Ah, well, yeah. I mean, Shep died on me in 2014. And certainly, I don’t want to use the word rushed. But I did bring Bella into my life nine days later, and I caught hell for that from some people. Oh, that was quick. OK, I don’t know what space is allowing you to judge that. But whatever. And then that’s before I started learning anything about grief. I just didn’t instinctively knew why would you be trying to make me feel bad about wanting to love another dog? And of course, there’s the whole “replacing Shep” that kind of stuff. And more recently, you know, I’ve had people say stupid shit to me about having lost my mom, which happened in January and, and it’s just, I’m in a space now where I can reflect on that and go, OK, that’s not about me.
Yeah, that’s right. That’s right. It’s not because death, grief makes us all so uncomfortable. Most of us didn’t have great models for grieving and mourning when we were growing up. Again, this is something we can all kind of work to change. But you know, a lot, a lot of people never had a conversation in their family about death, dying or grief or mourning what to do. Yeah, a lot of people just you get they get really uncomfortable, and then they get awkward.
And there’s some buckets, there’s some categories, right? So there’s always the category of saying nothing at all. Pretending like it didn’t happen, you know, which is kind of like a big one that a lot of people you know, oh, have you been working on your sourdough starter lately, and like they know your dog died two days ago. Right. So for many, you know, grieving pet guardians, that’s like, why aren’t you acknowledging that I went through this big thing?
Yeah, some people it’s because as they are afraid if they bring it up, you’re gonna cry. You know, people get freaked out when other people get emotional or cry in front of them, and then they want to fix it and they feel helpless. So a lot of people are going to avoid it completely. That’s, you know, one thing saying nothing, or ignoring it.
And then of course, there’s the advice category, oh, maybe you shouldn’t be doing that. Or maybe it’s not healthy to grieve alone. Or maybe you should get another one, right. Or he’s in a better place. You’re overreacting. That kind of thing, right? Anything in the advice category, anything that has the word should or at least in it. At least it wasn’t your child.
Anything with a just in it … oh, it was just a cat kind of thing. So you know, a lot of people say things that are advice oriented or should oriented or shouldn’t oriented? You shouldn’t feel so sorry for yourself. Shouldn’t you be crying less? Your animal wouldn’t want you to cry? Kind of thing. You need to keep busy. You need to be strong for the kids, you know, that kind of thing? Did you think of trying this drug, that worked when my dog had cancer? You know, all that kind of the advice-y categories is really tough. You get a lot of people talking about, you know, you’ll you’ll be over it soon. You’ll be past it soon. Time heals all wounds, you know, that kind of thing.
The fluffy spiritual stuff? Yeah.
Yeah. Well, and then also just the minimizing. Well, you know, she was 92 in cat years, she lived a long life. That is not helpful for a lot of grievers. Because they’re like, well, I would have liked her to live a longer life, right.
So any criticism about how we are reacting or responding … and then you know sometimes people impose their other their beliefs on you know, they want to talk about what they think about the afterlife. And that may not be what you think about the afterlife, you know, one piece of advice I give everybody is really listen, you know, listen to what the pet guardian is saying and really mirror their language back to them.
This is for about everything. So if they say, you know, it makes me feel really comforted that Bruce is at the Rainbow Bridge with all of our former animals. Then, when you talk about it, talk about the Rainbow Bridge, because that’s what feels right for that person. But if someone is saying, you know, I just feel really disconnected. I don’t feel like I’ve had any signs. I just feel like she’s gone. And she’s never coming back. Don’t talk about the Rainbow Bridge. No, listen, listen to what they’re saying.
Same way about how you refer to the animal. There are people who call their animals for babies, right. And you know, I miss my fur baby, I love my fur baby. So if your friend is talking about furbaby, use the word furbaby. I just use the word soulmate about Arne. I’m very comfortable if you say that word back to me. But there are people who hate the word furbaby. There are people who hate the word soulmate. So you got to also be careful how you talk about their animal to them.
And so a lot of being a great listener is… a lot of being a great support to a griever is listening and mirroring back how they talk about it.
How do you separate the difference between well intentioned, and just mean?
Consistency. Are they consistently a jerk? And say mean things? Or are they consistently in your life as a person who generally is able to show up for you for things, and they just stepped in it? I mean, it’s pretty simple. Like if someone has always been loving, supportive and kind in your life, and suddenly they say a totally mean thing. I mean, I don’t know what’s going on. But it would probably be worth having a conversation at some point, once you cool down to be like, hey, that didn’t feel very supportive to me. And I’m just curious kind of where that came from.
I would like to clear the air with someone who’s always been in my corner. But you know what the truth is? A lot of people that give mean comments, it’s consistent with other mean comments that have happened in the past from that person.People, when people show you who they are, believe them, right. And so the people that have always been kind of jerks to you, or in your life before this are probably going to continue to be jerky. And those are the kind of people we can reevaluate going into the next part of our life. So I think consistency is the barometer.
That’s still a lot of responsibility to put on someone’s shoulders when they’re already dealing with so much. I’ve either had a very bad diagnosis on my dog and I’m facing the end or it’s after the end, and now I have to process my feelings around the stupid shit you’re saying to me and whether or not our relationship has value? How do we do that?
Well, I don’t think we can do it in the moment of our grief. I think it’s one of those things that if it’s somebody you really love and care about, and they say something that really hurts you, I’m not sure you can deal with it that day or that week, you got other things on your plate. When we’re grieving, we have very limited bandwidth in that, especially in anticip, both anticipatory grief or post loss, grief, we don’t have time, energy and ability to make a lot of investments in things that are really beyond survival.
So I don’t think it’s something that you can address in the moment, or immediately, if you need to create space, take some space from somebody who’s made a comment, by all means, do that. And I think when you are feeling in less acute pain, when you have moved through some of the most intensity of your grief, however long that takes for you, it’s worth revisiting.
When you’re in … when you have more bandwidth, and you’re in a better place of regulation in your brain. Because your brain is completely dysregulated for a while. So it’s not the time to be making huge decisions anyway about your relationships. And yeah, look, I don’t like having to advocate for grievers to do anything. I think everyone should be taking care of the grievers. But the truth is, and especially when it comes to our animals, we do have to advocate for ourselves a bit in our grief.
And should we have to ensure that be our job maybe not, but that’s the way it is. One thing I tell everybody is notify people. If your animal dies, tell the people that you would like to hear from and tell them what you want. Tell them. send a group text, hey, my dog just died. I am really feeling low, I would appreciate X, Y and Z. And if you don’t know what that is, try to come up with something, give people things to do, because people don’t know what to do. So maybe that’s hey, I would just love if you could check in on me each day and just ask me how I’m doing today, or check in on me and send a picture of my animal, just let me know, you’re thinking of me. Should that have to be your job? No, but nobody’s going to know what to do if you don’t ask for things either. So that’s kind of the conundrum of the whole thing. But I think asking for what we want and need or what we think might feel supportive, can also give people a job, and leaves them less flummoxed about what to do or say.
And people do deal with those things very individually. I certainly had no hesitation to put the news out on Facebook, when Shep was gone. I read that thread every August 20 now. Because the messages that people left me continue to bring me comfort, but there are others that aren’t the sharing type. How do they reach out? How do you … you know, the more solitary type?
Absolutely, as putting on social media post about any of this is not for everyone. And there are a lot of reasons why. And and look, there are a lot of circumstances under which animals die that are very difficult that you don’t want any questions about that are very private. And I’m a big believer in privacy in grief. There’s a difference between privacy and secrecy even though a lot of us didn’t grow up learning much about that difference. And so I am a huge advocate for being private in your grief when you want to be.
However, I am not an advocate of shutting every single person in your life off completely. Because we do need support, we do need connection and this is one of the most isolating types of loss there is. And if we keep isolating ourselves, it’s … it’s going to make it even harder. So I don’t mean you have to do a massive missive to your whole community.
I work a lot with anticipatory grievers who are anticipating a loss and one of the things we do is we kind of go through your support system. And I say, you know, for this particular friend, what are their, what are their strengths? What are their skill sets? What do they bring to you and you know, maybe you got one friend who, she’s just a great distraction, she can take you out for dinner and talk about all the problems in her life, and she’s going to be a great distractor and there’s room for distraction in grief, right?
I say hey, you know, let’s send a text to her and say, you know, when the time comes, do you think you could make, can we put a date on the calendar where you can just you pick the place and we go and you know, you’re not gonna sit there and cry about your dog all dinner. You’re gonna get distracted by her, you know, ups and downs in her life, but that’s OK. That’s a purpose, right? So I think it’s important to look at some of the core people in our lives the one two or three friends or family members that you think will be able to show up for you and reach out to them and ask them for whatever you think they will be able to do. Maybe you have someone who will be great like, Hey, would you mind just bring me food for once a week? You know, maybe you have a friend at that that, then that’s a real ask. That’s a great ask, you know. So I think you kind of got to look at your friends and family, look at what their strengths are, and try to make some individual asks, I don’t think you need to, I definitely don’t think you need to put anything on social media or in a kind of wider scale that you aren’t comfortable doing.
Angela Schneider 25:29
Let’s dig into that term, anticipatory grief. When we’re in that stage, so many — because we live in a grief illiterate society — so many people don’t know what that means. Tell me what that means.
It means you know, that your animal’s life is going to end and you believe that’s coming, because you have some concrete reason to believe it’s coming. Now I say that because a lot of people say, well, aren’t you in anticipatory grief the day you bring your animal home? And I’m like, yeah, actually, you are, your goodbye begins the day your animal, you know, comes home, right? So it’s good to be mindful of that.
But when I, what I think about when I think of anticipatory grief are people whose animals either due to age — it’s very simple, they’ve come to an age where it’s clear, there’s a decline beginning, or they have some sort of serious diagnosis that is going to end the animal’s life. Those are typically the things that we’re thinking about with anticipatory grief.
Also, behavioral euthanasia is another place where we have anticipatory grief, because that’s another time when people are going to have to say goodbye to their animals. And they, they often know that that’s going to be coming.
So and there are other there are other types of anticipatory grief. However, anticipatory grief is a very difficult stage to be in. Because you know, it’s coming, sometimes you have a sense of when, sometimes you have no sense of when. It’s a very out of control feeling time, because you are not sure how things are going to progress medically, you’re not sure how each day is going to be. Oftentimes if you are doing any sort of supportive care or treatments, you are doing a lot of different types of medications, you may be helping your animal with mobility, you are very busy, you are very tired, you are often financially very drained and you are often very confined and isolated, because you’re spending a lot more time with your animal. And if you’re caregiving a lot, and you are sad, you are scared and you are dreading each day.
Angela Schneider 27:41
And it brings a whole new level to the stupid shit people can say to you.
You still have your dog, your horse, your cat there with you. And oftentimes people may be pretending like they’re already gone. Who do you turn to? Where do you go?
Come to me, I’ll help you through. Well, you know, again, this is where we have the opportunity to look at our support system and figure out who, who is going to be most supportive to me in this, who can help me through this. And look, sometimes you have to test the waters, it’s a very difficult thing to be vulnerable. When you’re experiencing any type of grief, it’s hard to say I’m having a hard time, it’s hard to say I’m scared, I’m uncertain, I feel out of control, I feel powerless, right? Those are hard things to bring up. But you might be surprised sometimes how some people respond to that better than others. And so I always advocate to tell people, if you’re going through a diagnosis, tell people if you are experiencing this type of stress with your animal, to speak about it, to share it. And oftentimes, you know, many of my clients tell me about amazing connections, they might share with a coworker that something happened and all of a sudden, they find out that coworker had two different dogs with that same diagnosis. And now that coworker becomes someone they can really connect with.
And of course, social media can be a great support in this way as well. And there’s pros and cons to this. But you know, there are many different types of groups for different medical conditions that people join. My Instagram … I make a lot of posting about anticipatory grief and people find each other in the comments and they become friends and they, I have a lot of friendships that have formed and support that is formed.
So, reaching out and trying to connect with people that you think might get it is a great place to begin. And I also recommend asking your veterinarian or your other care providers for your animal, people who work with animals all day know other people that might be going through the same type of diagnosis or treatment, and they might be willing to connect you as well. And sometimes even just having one person who’s going through it, who gets it is the lifeline you need to help you get through.
One of the hardest people to get to be kind to us is ourselves.
What can we say to ourselves, to bring us some comfort, whether in anticipatory grief or after the fact grief?
This is a great and a difficult question. The first answer before we say anything, is we listen. What are we actually saying to ourselves? How are we treating ourselves? How are we talking to ourselves? What messages are we giving ourselves about how we are doing or how we are handling this? And unfortunately, many of us, if we really listened, we start hearing a lot of criticism, we start hearing a lot of should-ing. I should be doing better, I shouldn’t be doing this. I shouldn’t be over this. I should, you know, why didn’t I … why didn’t I notice he was sneezing sooner? Why didn’t I notice that he was kind of favoring his front paw. You know, I mean, all the replay, all the judgments, all the criticism. I should never have another animal, I don’t deserve it, right.
So you got to start listening to what you’re telling yourself, because a lot of us don’t even stop and kind of note that, once you’ve noted it, you might want to write down some of the messages you’re hearing. You get to make a decision. You get to say do I want to keep being mean to myself? Do I want to keep putting myself down? Or do I want to start helping myself through this, and giving myself some grace and compassion for this difficult thing I’m going through.
And one of the things I really recommend, especially in anticipatory grief, but also in post loss grief is write a letter to yourself in a self-compassionate way about how hard it is what you’re going through.
Dear Angela, I know you’re going through a really hard time. I see that. Here’s why it’s so hard. And really let yourself speak to yourself about how it’s so hard. The key to getting through this is self-compassion. If there’s one thing I could wave my magic pet loss wand and, and give to everybody I work with and to every everyone who’s grieving an animal is more self-compassion. I’m having a hard time.
So many people have a hard time when they go through this, and I’m one of them. And I’m going to be kind to myself, as I do this, the easiest way to check yourself is would I say that to my best friend or would I say that to the … would I talk to my animal that way. I used to have to go through entire days where before I would say anything to myself, I was like, what Arne say that to me? Arne would never … Arnie … I know Arne, Arne thought I was great. Arne loved me whether I was a mess, or I’d made a mistake, or I didn’t do something right. He would never talk to me the way I talked to me.
And our friends and family who love us wouldn’t talk to us like that either. And sometimes you just have to — by the way, talk out loud to yourself with that kindness, with that compassion, talk out loud to yourself, the way a good friend would talk to you.
Because it’s not enough to say it in your brain, because your brain is too powerful. It’s gonna go down that rabbit hole of all the negative things. But if you’re talking out loud, your brain has to listen to the words that are coming out. It has to work to form the words and it’s gotta process and say those words out loud. And then it’s kind of listen to what they mean and process that. So talk out loud yourself, the way you talk to a best friend. That’s the first place to start with being kinder.
and give yourself permission to feel all the feelings, right? David Kessler says you got to feel it to heal it. And in one of your recent Reels, you said if you have 10,000 tears to cry, don’t stop at 5,000.
That’s so true. Feel all your feelings. There are no bad feelings. We get very judgmental about our feelings. Oh, well, I shouldn’t be angry or I shouldn’t be. All our feelings are there. They’re showing up for us. They’re trying to help us. They’re trying to protect us in many ways. They’re trying to give us a sense of control. So I’m a big fan of let all the feelings come, notice that they’re there. Oh, hey, anger, you’re here today. Welcome. You know, hey, shock. Hey, disorientation, right? I mean, really, you know, they are trying to serve you and help you. It’s just in grief, the way that that impacts us and impacts our brain, we sometimes get looped. We start getting into loops, we start getting into really negative cycles and things and those can be very hard to break. And they can actually make us really stuck in our grief, they can, they can make us stuck in one place, so we can’t kind of move through it a little easier.
So I say welcome your feelings and acknowledge that they’re trying to … I say make friends with your feelings. Hey, anger, I see that you’re here today I’m going to try to go beat some dishes with a baseball bat in my backyard to help you move through me. Whenever you want to go, I’m cool to let you go right now, because this isn’t really feeling great for me that you’re here. But you know, stay as long as you need. So make friends with all your feelings. Let them come and let them express really, truly go beat those dishes with a baseball bat. Let that anger out. Let all your feelings out.
You can even make voice memos, you know, because I’m I love writing. You know, I think writing is very powerful writing by hand. But not everyone likes to write, write, make voice memos. Let it out. If you, if you keep it all inside, if you don’t let it move through you, it festers. And it’s hard.
I felt that going to the top of a mountain and just screaming my head off worked really well.
Yep. I love screaming, I love screaming into a pillow, I love screaming underwater … underwater is great. Scream everywhere you need to scream, and as much as you need and whenever you need. And maybe that’s what you need to do on your anniversaries. You know, whenever, whenever you need, there are literally there are no wrong responses, so long as they’re not self-destructive. So as long as you are not self-destructing on yourself, have any reactions you want any responses you want. Do whatever you need to do that feels supportive to you. Because that’s the only thing that matters. It doesn’t matter what other people are thinking about what you’re doing or not doing. It doesn’t, it doesn’t matter. You’ve got to do what feels supportive to you.
How do people find you for help?
They can always find me on my website, which is honoringouranimals.com. My phone number is right there. You can call or text anytime. And as soon as I’m out of sessions, I will get back to you. Also, you can find me on Instagram, I love hanging out on Instagram that’s @honoringouranimals. And you can shoot me a DM. One thing I do every month is I do a live memorial service for our animal companions who have passed away. So we do this amazing memorial service. I change it up a little bit every month. Part of the service is reading the name of the Guardian and the name of the animal. And this is a really beautiful event that many people come to and participate in. That makes a real sense of connection and community and celebration of our animals and what they’ve meant to us. And so I encourage anybody listening to look for that on my Instagram. I do it around the middle of the month. Every month I put out a call for names a couple of days in advance. And I would love to honor any of your animals in that ceremony. That’s a very beautiful event that has brought comfort to a lot of guardians.
Angela Schneider 38:02
Incredible discussion, really eye-opening stuff, Beth. Thank you so much for your time.
Thank you, Angela. Be well.