the Best Advice I’ve Ever Received

A wise person once told me there is no right or wrong way to grieve, there’s just your way. That was the best advice I’ve ever been given. It gave me the permission I needed to find a way to peace through my grief.

Grieving can be a confusing time in our lives and I wanted to share the process I followed when my Dad passed and again with the loss of Jake. My hope is that it may provide a suggestion and to help others know that they are not alone. 

When my Dad passed I began wearing a pendant that he had given me many years before. I don’t know why exactly I did this I just had an overwhelming desire to wear it. Later I felt that the pendant became a symbol of my loss. I looked at myself in the mirror wearing it every day and allowed myself to feel my grief. This gave me comfort some how. After some time I took it off (I don’t want to say how long because it is different for everyone). I didn’t plan on removing it. I thought I would wear it forever. But, one day I just decided it was time. Later I realized that the process of removing the necklace symbolized that I was ready to move on and a weight had been lifted.

I decided to follow the same process when Jake passed. I purchased a locket and placed some of Jake’s fur inside.

Jake's, the border collie Australian shepherd mix dog, framed picture rests on his favourite leather chair with a locket of his fur draped over it bathing in warm window light in our natural light pet photography studio

In some ways loosing Jake was more painful. At one point I took off the locket because having it on me everyday was too overwhelming and I was worried I may never be able to move on.

But, after some time passed, I was ready to wear it again. I felt I needed to carry on with the process. Eventually, I was ready to remove it. But this time it wasn’t the removal of the locket that symbolized that I was ready to move on, it was letting go of Jake’s fur that I was carrying inside it.

What I have learned through all of this is that grief is a personal process and you may not grieve exactly the same way each time. The most important thing is to follow your heart and to give yourself the permission and time to grieve.

I still miss them both, every day . . . but now I smile when I think of them.

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