Pet Rescue Art: Do we see our pets again after death?
What I am working on in my studio usually speaks to what is going on in my head and heart…lately is it grief and sadness. Grief is such a strange journey…its unique…no two losses are the same but no single experience of the loss of a loved one is about the loss of just that one loved one. When we open up for grieving it usually re-opens many old wounds that never completely healed. I find that my sensitivity to everything around me is heightened when I am experiencing grief. My ability to truly feel the experiences of another person or animal is so acute that it is physical. It is both an awful and awesome place to be emotionally and spiritually.
I am of the opinion that we never “get over” the loss of someone we care about. Rather, we just learn to live with the pain. The piece of our heart that breaks when they are gone remains broken and becomes part of who we are forever. It is part of becoming truly human.
I also believe we see our pets on the other side of life. Not because I “need” to believe that nor believe it is something polite and appropriate to say when anyone is in pain over the loss of a beloved pet. I believe it because it is logical to believe it. It is congruent with a Christian world view to believe it. And there is tangible evidence that we see our pets again. To say that a living creature is lost forever when it dies would constitute a belief in a world view called ” annhilationism”. Annihilationists believe that anything that is alive is gone forever once physically dead. The problem with that belief is that collective human intelligence (and by that I mean almost every single society that has ever walked this planet) has rejected annihilationism. Almost every society has believed in the spiritual birth of something new after death. While those belief systems vary, of course, what they hold in common is that there is something beyond life in the flesh for creatures. To hold the view that any creature, human or animal, is annihilated after death would put you in conflict with most of humanity…so which view does it make logical sense to hold? A Christian world view holds that all of creation is redeemed and part of God’s plan…while I will write more on this at another time…to exclude our beloved pets from God’s redeemed creation would be in direct conflict with a Christian world view. While it’s not as common to talk about it in a contemporary culture that does not want to deal hands on with death and dying…stories of what happens during the dying process and accounts of Near Death Experiences tell us a lot about what awaits us on the other side. And these experiences include interactions with animals; particularly pets already gone.
I like to think of the pets gone before me as waiting for me…which is selfish…really I hope they are running and playing with others and doing what they were meant to do naturally. But I know I will see them again. I hold this belief so strongly that while I love life on this side…I look forward to it on the other side just as much.
I have been painting Sparky, my beloved black lab who recently died. The painting is taking awhile because sometimes I am too emotional to work on it. It is a painting of how I picture him looking down on me now. (ok…tearing up as I write this…). I will share it when its done. I believe its completion will bring me as close to closure as one can get when a loved one dies.
Thanks for reading my posts and viewing my art. Much of my art is for sale at my ETSY shop. Sparky’s passing has opened a new chapter in my pet journey…one that is very focused on a new member of our family, Buster. Buster is a reactive dog that came here in a pretty wild state…I have decided to start chronicling the ways I have worked with Buster’s reactivity in hopes it can help other dog parents dealing with reactive dogs.