Just a week ago, I was feeling very down, even apprehensive as the end of the work day approached. Usually, I’m anticipating a fun evening. I was sad because at 5 p.m. I would have to make a final journey to my vet with a beloved pet, my dog Handsome Jack.
Now that a week has past, I still miss him. My other dog, Curly Sue, does her very best to fill that empty space, and Jack’s ashes now are scattered in the backyard where we had some great times together. Jack’s favorite game was racing the neighbor’s dog up and down the fence and barking. Yes, could be annoying too.
Grief is an emotion everyone faces at some point. The loss of a person, object, pet, a belief, or maybe, the feeling of loss of security in your world can spark feelings of grief. The grief I felt over my pet certainly isn’t as deep as the grief someone feels about a losing a person, but it’s an emotion all the same. Time will heal the empty space.
According to Scott Lennox, LCSW, at Baylor All Saints Medical Center at Fort Worth, we don’t snap out of grief. We don’t get over it. We move through grief.
“Although there’s been a lot said about the cycles of grief or stages of grief,” Scott continues, “it doesn’t happen for everyone in any kind of sequence.”
As program counselor at Baylor All Saints behavioral medicine program, Scott helps people through this empty space, using his own professional training and even his own life experiences. “While I’m a clinical professional and know the ins and outs of this, I have still been surprised at how I’ve reacted to some things in the face of that loss,” he says recalling the death of his father over the 2012 holidays.
Stay connected to others is the bottom line, Scott says. “One of the things we can do which runs counter to a lot of things people are feeling when they are grieving,” says Lennox, “is to open the door just a little bit. Let some people in. Tell someone what you’re feeling. Share with someone how frustrating the experience is or how sad you feel.”
Scott shares more about dealing with grief and loss in this video below.