ASK ABDI: HOW DO I DEAL WITH THE GRIEF OF LOSS OF A LOVED ONE?

QUESTION: I lost my dear dog earlier this year, a dog I had for 18 years. I’m having a hard time moving on, unable to look at her photos or videos without getting terribly upset. What do you advise to start moving forward with my life in her absence?

ANSWER: I am sorry for your loss.

An 18-year relationship takes time to grieve. The fact that it was with a being that, by nature, emits undifferentiated love - is even more intense. There is no set formula on how long you will grieve, but it certainly can not be rushed. These things have their own time and rhythm. Allow yourself to be terribly upset, to cry and lose it. There would be something terribly wrong if this was not happening.

Life keeps happening while we are grieving. We might not feel as engaged, but in certain ways we are not as checked out when there is grief present. Its heaviness cuts through our storytelling and its darkness grounds us from our tendency towards flight. Sit in your grief daily and allow it to inform you of what you need to heal. Do not run from it - that will only slow the healing process. Run towards it and embrace it. It is a friend and not an enemy. The gift of truly sitting with and processing grief is a softening of our hardened ego. It allows us to see, feel, and taste in a deeper manner. But that can only occur if we invite it in as a guest and make room for it. We live in a culture that has lost this ability. Since we are a stranger to it, we fear it.

Mia’s presence in your life has taught you much. Trust that she also made you ready for her departure and life without her. Sit and feel how those teachings were given to you.

Lastly, better to have loved and been loved and lost, than not having had love in our life. Don’t confuse the loss of form with the loss of love. As much as you miss her, the love you two shared is the only thing eternal on this plane.