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The thinning veil and pet loss

The last few weeks of October are when we experience the “thinning of the veil”, the time of year when the veil (separation) between the physical and the spiritual world blurs far more than average. This is by no means the only time we experience the thinning of the veil, but it is definitely the time that the experience of this thinning is felt more acutely and collectively. For me personally, it is a time when I definitely feel more agitated and melancholy; almost like I am emotionally and spiritually functioning in the midst of a heavy fog.

I have been adopting senior dogs for a very long time. I have also been making and selling pet sympathy cards for well over a decade. Over the years, I have noticed unmistakable patterns in my sympathy card sales that coincide with the lunar cycle. My sales pattern increases dramatically with the waxing moon, peaks right around the full moon, and finally, sales drop off dramatically when the moon begins waning. I have also noticed, in all the years that I have been adopting senior dogs (and thus experiencing a lot of loss), that my own dogs typically cross over during the waxing moon. Maybe this seems like an odd thing to think and write about, but this season has felt particularly heavy, and my sympathy card sales were the highest they have ever been in the last weeks at the same time that the thinning has felt so acute.

There are a few conclusions I have drawn from all of this over the years that bring me some comfort when I am faced with loss. The first is the understanding that our beloved animals don’t cross alone. They cross together in groups with the waxing moon. Death is a journey that our culture tends to characterize as a solitary one…based on my experiences, I don’t believe that. I believe that both humans and animals cross collectively…the pathway between the realms is most likely far less solitary than we are conditioned to think. I personally find this incredibly comforting to think about my beloved pets having companionship on their next journey. And, of course, I find that reassuring when I contemplate my own eventual death. My own experiences with mediums also confirm my understanding that our pets do not make this journey alone.

The second is that there is a lot of power to solidarity in loss on this side of the realms. A lot of the customers that purchase pet sympathy cards from me take advantage of the service I offer to write their personal messages and sign the card for them, shipping directly to the bereaved. So I read and write out a lot of personal condolence messages. I personally find that solidarity in loss is a significant part of the pathway to healing. The work I do with my art and cards is a huge part of my own personal healing. The condolence messages that customers write generally reflect similar sentiments…a reflection on the powerful relationship that was had between the bereaved and the pet …the acknowlegement that these relationships make such a difference in both lives. And an expression that voices solidarity in grief. We can find comfort in knowing that both our lost loved one is not alone and neither are those left on this side alone…we experience grief collectively not only in the collective mourning of all of the bereaved but in the solidarity of those around us who sit in our pain with us. The broader point being that the solidarity in grief is beyond our private circles of aquaintences…it is much more collective.

I was digging around looking for a dog collar in a drawer yesterday. I pulled out Rosie’s collar and tag, that I had not looked at since her death. It stung, badly. She has been gone for a long time and it still stings like it was yesterday. I put her collar on my dresser and took a few minutes to look at her pictures and remember her. I find comfort in knowing that she is not alone, she is remembered well and someday I will see her again.

I put a picture of Rosie’s grave in our memorial garden. These gardens are a huge part of my healing process and remembering my dogs well. I planted this perennial hibiscus plant behind her grave stone…it blooms magnificently every year, reminding me of how gorgeous she was when was here and that there is a season for everything in life.

If you are experiencing pet loss, know that I am in solidarity with you. Grief never goes away…we just learn to live with it over time. But if we can find our way to see it as a collective experience perhaps it can lighten the burden just a bit.

On the Journey,

Nancy & The Misfits

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