Grieving has been challenging, painful and enlightening.  I continue to learn a lot about myself.  I have given myself permission to take as long as I need.  But I have also been contemplating the effects of grieving and how going through this experience has changed me.

When my heart was cracked open with grief I was suddenly very aware of what I loved and wanted to hold close, and what was not serving me and draining me energetically.  Any walls I had been holding up I could not support any more.  Grieving takes so much energy.  And it was through this emotional exhaustion I gained clarity.

I saw clearly where some serious energy sucks were happening in my life.  Because going and facing those during my time of grief where my walls were down and I was vulnerable was like pulling teeth.  Dragging one foot in front of the other just to show up.

I love more deeply during this time as well.  Those that I care about I hold closer.  I am in more contact with them. I reach out more often.

I have experienced a great deal of uncertainty around me.  Acquaintances don’t know how to act around me.  Because I have no energy to fake being ok I show up as is.  Quieter than usual. Most want to give me space.  They know I am having a hard time, and out of respect they don’t mention it and we carry on as if nothing has happened.

I was asked what would I prefer people do or say when experiencing this grief.  I realized that I needed it to be acknowledged.  That condolences were always appreciated.  And a discussion around what would be needed as I go through this process would help.  Because I was being less personable and I wanted them to know it wasn’t personal.  I needed more space but was also happy to have distractions.  And an acknowledgment that this is a process and like any process it will take time. And if I cry when I tell you this, I need that to be ok too.

I have watched my dog Parka in her grieving process.  The lack of appetite, the decreased energy and the decreased joy in things she normally takes on with full enthusiasm.  As we move through this together I learn from her.  That space is needed in a time of sadness.  But that routine helps ground us.  And that routine includes walks where we surround ourselves with quiet nature and the river.  We are side by side and have the energetic support of each other but also grieve the loss in our own way. It has been heartbreaking to see her go through this with me and beautiful at the same time because little Juliet was loved by both humans and animals in her life.

In the heartbreak of the grief there have been little gifts.