We do not often connect these things together, easing grief with photography and creativity.
Engaging our creative side by gathering pictures, placing those photographs and then creating something new and different can have a potent impact to help ease the grief in our heart after an animal passes away. It is just that simple, and that difficult.
Even taking small steps to create something to remember our loved one can go a very long way to helping our hearts.
Each action we take can help our grief move and can help us begin shifting forward in our lives. Each act no matter how small or big can help us come to terms with our loss.
My motto is, create something, anything at all.
When we are grieving, we sometimes feel immobilized, stuck and unable to move forward. Sometimes, the grief can feel unbearable and feelings can pile up on themselves until we are unable to move or do much.
You can get as elaborate and involved in your creative endeavors as you want or keep it as simple as you like.
Step one: Gather Your Pictures
Looking for pictures from the time when your animal was young can be so soothing. The pictures can help you reconnect with all the reasons your love swells at the thought of them. Pictures that show your adventures together, special times and events can help feelings move, bring a grin of remembering and a sense of comfort.
Step Two: Placing Your Pictures
You may want to put the pictures together on your refrigerator or in frames and gather them in a special area. If you already have pictures displayed, you may want to dust them off and see if there are any you want to add or move around.
After my dog Liza passed away, it was 9 days after our cat and buddy Scarlet had passed. I was devastated and was having trouble with 2 deaths so close together. I was also letting down from intensive hospice care for both of them in the previous month. There were so many adjustments to daily life without both animals.
I felt like I was on a mission to find all my pictures that I had of both of them. I looked through boxes of pictures for hours at a time. It was bittersweet. My heart leapt when I found those few precious puppy pictures. I knew there were only a few of them before my camera had broken that year and I wasn’t sure if I still had them. I chuckled, while tears swelled.
For my favorite all time picture of my pooch, I found a beautiful frame that had special significance for me and set it next to my bed so I could see her right before I turned out the lights at night and when I first woke in the a.m. It was comforting to still ‘see’ her to say good night and to greet her cute little smoochy face first thing in the mornings.
Find some ways that are meaningful for you to display your pictures.
Step Three: Let Creativity Take Over
For some people finding and placing pictures is plenty and it is just enough. However, I encourage you to take this a step further when you are ready.
Find a more unusual way to display or use the pictures. Make extra copies and create a collage in a large picture frame or if you have tons of pictures paste them onto a large poster board to create a more free form collage. You can cut out descriptive words from magazines that describe your animal friend and paste them around the pictures. Then frame this large collage and hang it.
Get as creative as you like. Stores like Staples and online programs like Shutterfly have offers to print photo journal books. Or keep it super simple. The idea is to create something, anything that is meaningful for you.
I made 2 video slide shows as tributes for the Queen Scarlet Cat and her Cohort Lizaloo. This project gave my mind a place to focus, on both my cat and dog! They were all I could think of anyway, so why not put it to some kind of good use? I felt like taking this action gave me something to look forward to, something that would help me honor them and allowed me to stay in connection with these two amazing beings who I had shared my life with for so many years. Take a Look….
Gathering pictures and having a project ‘with them’ helped me create an emotional bridge through this loss of them in the physical. These creative actions gave me time to get used to them not being in their body anymore, to get used to letting them go in each and every nuance of the day that they used to fill.
I truly believe that creative acts can help ease our hearts. I have experienced it time and again. And I have witnessed countless others feel a sense of comfort when they take even the smallest of actions to honor both their heart and their relationship with their animal friends. The action you take that is a creative endeavor is most important here. You do not have to be an artist to use and engage your creativity.
Do not mistake me here, I do not mean to say that my heart was all bouncy with joy right away, or that I didn’t continue to feel grief, sadness or a sense of loss over time. But these creative actions helped ease my way, aided me to navigate through this transitional time in a manner that felt kind, gentle and had some positive purpose.
And, if someone around you fusses at you about your ‘projects’ or how long you are taking with your grief, or doesn’t agree what or how you are doing any of this, keep it private, for your eyes only in a manner that is safe. This may mean creating photocopies of the pictures and pasting them in a private journal. Remember, this is for you and your heart.
Respecting the Rhythms of Grief
I have found that grief is an ongoing process over days, months, sometimes even years. Each of our animals play different roles in our lives and mean varying things to each of us. And so what we create can, and should vary according to what our feelings are at that time and what we need. There is no time frame with grief as it has its own rhythm.
I hope that this information helps you to create more ease and comfort to your own heart.
Pet Loss: 3 Steps to Using Photography and Creativity to Ease Grief is written by Sandy Rakowitz © copyright 2011
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Sandy Rakowitz of One Heart Healing Center for People and Animals is a graduate and former faculty member of the world renowned Barbara Brennan School of Healing, Brennan Energy Healing Practitioner, Tellington TTouch Practitioner, Animal Communicator, Essential Oils Expert, Entrepreneur, Host of Essential Oils 101, a monthly Tele-seminar educational forum for holistic health and wellness with people and animals, Program Creator of Pet Loss: Soothing Heartbreak and Author of Kindle Booklet Pet Loss: 10 Soothing Heartbreak and Grief Tips. Sandy has 20+ years of experience in the field of Holistic Wellness.
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