One day while I still practiced as a Pet Loss Counselor and therapist I received a phone call from a very despondent man who was driving while speaking and right away declared that he is about to kill himself. Since I JUST happened to pick up the phone I did not have any knowledge of this man, who he was, or why he was about to kill himself. I only asked that he would please park his car so that we can speak safely. When he agreed to do so, I had only a few fragile seconds to ask for the nature of his pain and decision.The man shared with a broken voice: “My dog died this morning. I have no reason to live anymore!”
I have been a practicing counselor and educator on this very sensitive condition called Grief (specifically pet loss grief, which to some people seems to be at times even more profound than human loss) for approximately 8 years. I truly cared for both the human client and the animals who have departed. These sorts of phone calls were the norm for me during those days, yet nevertheless each one needed full attention and compassion. In my heart I asked for the right words to come through, so that this grieving man can remain with me on the phone until his pain subsides enough to make a different decision. I then said gently: “My dear, I don’t really know you, and I don’t have the power to make you not kill yourself. You have the right to do so if that is what you truly want, and although this act would devastate the world around you, truly I can’t stop you from doing it. BUT before you do so, and just for a moment, could you think back and tell me – how have your beloved dog touched your life? Did she manage to teach you anything at all during her life on earth?“
There was a brief silence on the other line and I began to worry a bit. But then the man replied hesitantly: “Well, yes… she taught me plenty. She taught me to get outdoors and play, she taught me to socialize with other people, she taught me how to laugh… she taught me how to LOVE.”
As he reflected on his words, I asked further:“Do you not see what a terrible thing it would be for you to take all that she taught you – TO YOUR GRAVE, instead of helping her gifts live on by sharing them with others in her honor? Do you see how she trusted you and left you here with a JOB to do; and a mighty holy one indeed?!”
I heard his breathing returns to normal slowly but surely. Another moment of silence came between us, but this time it felt as if we were held in the arms of something bigger than ourselves – perhaps it was a moment of connection, human to human, or maybe it was a moment of insight that led to deep healing.
The man then shared the following with me: “You know something? For the first time in days I feel as if I have a reason to go on, a new purpose to my life. Thank you!”he cried, but this time tears of relief. We completed our chat with a blessing. I did not even know his name, but he was a brother in need.What if his dog led him to me at the right time and space – so that he be reminded of her last wish?
This is an incredible time of human evolution that is best marked by a global revolution. How touching it is to see people coming in UNITY to stand up for a social justice cause everywhere around the world! This is also a time like no other to wake up to and embrace a way of life what is referred to as “Christ Consciousness” – remembering that all life carries within a core essence that is holy and divine – and as such we are eternally linked to one another as brothers and sisters.
When we begin to truly embody this understanding of “Oneness,” we can begin to see everyone through the eyes of compassion. We begin to see others as God sees us. In fact, we then are able to see through the eyes of Unconditional Love.
Sounds familiar? Perhaps you have a fuzzy teacher of these virtues at home?!
How can you share the gifts you have been receiving from your companion animals – with the world and take part in the bigger plan? Do it in their honor, for your own spiritual healing and growth!
S.O.U.L. Academy: School of Compassion
Nov 2011, Vancouver B.C
Nov 2011, Vancouver B.C