My Dad passed within hours of Jack -- we will never know exactly when. I called him at 9 a.m. and at 11 a.m. and then I called the apartment manager to check on him. The police came to my door to let me know at 3 p.m. It was 12 hours between Jack's passing and the realization that my Dad was gone too.
You cannot separate grief. Grief is grief however you look at it. It does get complicated, however, when you think maybe you should have had a Facebook group named for your Dad instead of for your dog! But anyone who knows me says "Jack is the one who was always there for you, Kate. He was the one who loved you unconditionally - in a way that your human family cannot." Ultimately Jack was there for Dad too, on that first day away from this earth. Maybe my Dad finally learned the value of a dog. No doubt he needed Jack to help him find his way across the chasm -- perhaps even holding the curl of Jack's golden tail, as I had done so often in the dark, as they walked over the bridge together.
Sometimes it doesn't seem like it gets better with time. That's because when we first "lose" someone we love, we are in shock. Then time passes. The shock wears off and THEN we FEEL. OMG! What?! They say Time Heals but at first Time only seems to make us FEEL! It makes us FEEL BAD! But it's really just a crazy phase. It's a process. Once we get through that hurdle, there are some bumps in the road, but we do get better and better as we travel it.
Typical Stages - Not Everyone is the Same
Right about the time we begin to feel better, we bring the damper down upon it. Our joy is smothered by our perceived guilt and our self-blame. We do it to ourselves. Guilt is an illusion, created by man to have a weapon of control and emotional manipulation. It's the human condition. Guilt is an illusion. Guilt leads us to believe that someone else is ultimately responsible for our happiness. That is not true. It is not real. Yet we treat it like it has power over us.
At Rainbow Bridge, all that matters is love. All that exists is love. Our pets, when they were here beside us on earth, all they knew was love. Love is what they came here to teach us; not guilt and shame.
When you find the joy again or when something makes you smile, put your hands upon your heart and HOLD IT there! The heart is where the ones we have loved still live and they will help us to be happy again. By keeping ourselves happy, we keep them happy too.
Keep the focus on the strength and power of the heart.