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  • Writer's pictureMarybeth Haines

During The Holidays, I remember...

During the holidays I remember the past however, I’ve discovered that when I live in the past, I lose opportunities to move forward into the future. I never would have realized two years ago when I started writing my book The Power of Pets – 7 Effective Tools To Heal From Pet Loss that I would be okay with leaving the past where it is, in the past and look forward to the future.

The reason why I started writing this book was all because of one beloved cat – my cat named Kitty. I needed an outlet for my grief when he passed away. No, I didn’t want to forget the memories, I just wanted to place them where they were safe and never stop living for new moments. Healing takes time and it takes a lot of processing but it is worth it.

Tonight I held the ornament with Kitty’s picture on it that was tenderly placed on our tree. I celebrate Kitty. It definitely is true when folks say that grieving is a process and things get better with time although some days are truly better than others. Things are never the same.

They are always in motion and changing but somehow, with the right tools to help, we find our peace. I discovered that my creativity was a healing outlet for my own grief.

Each experience that is difficult or shakes our world can make a shift in us – or a change for the better if we chose. Why not write a book? I had never written a book before! So how did I do it? One step at a time I guess…but what about the self doubt? I had to put the doubt on the shelf.

I wanted to include my favourite retro childhood holiday cartoon with the song that tells us to put one foot in front of the other. I think of it as putting one idea in front of the other or one thought in front of the other etc. I know I posted this photo last year at this time. I wanted to post it again. It reminds me of change and how change seems overwhelming but if you break it down into steps, it is easier.

Photo source and all rights belong to: Santa Claus is Coming to Town – Ranking & Bass (1970)

So how do we heal and deal with the memories that make us sad during the holidays?

Children – Children often ask questions about pets who have passed on and these moments are precious ones where kids can learn tools on how to cope and understand loss. If you have a pet that is still with you, like I do, we can use the pet’s support at this time. I use the support of my cat Mooshie all the time. Just the other day when I was speaking on a teleconference on Skype with my publisher in Amsterdam, Mooshie, my cat decided to waltz across the screen in front of the camera. The room of people I was speaking to broke up into this laughter that was contagious.

Music – Music is also used as a healing tool. Music reduces anxiety and blood pressure and boosts heart health. Put on an upbeat piece of music and watch your mood shift. I remember when I was little, my friend told me she had a headache and in a matter of fact way, she explained how she put on some music and the music took away her headache. We were only about 10 at the time. Even a child understands the power of music!

Honor – Honoring your pet during the holidays has proven to be beneficial in celebrating your pet and dealing with sadness at this time. By lighting a candle and putting up a picture you honour your pet. People don’t often realize it but pet loss can be as traumatic as the loss of a person.

Body/Mind/Spirit – Taking care of your body is especially important during times of grief. Going out into nature soothes us. I’ve seen websites created in remembrance of a pet which is a great outlet. Kids love crafts. Why not make a scrap book out of old pictures and poems and stories?

Donations – Donating to a group of your choice in the name of your pet is another idea that has proven to be helpful for folks who need that creative outlet to share and process the loss of a pet.

Communication – Most importantly, communication is key and however you chose to communicate is up to you. It is healthy to remember your pet during the holidays and talk about your memories while you move forward into tomorrow and the next day. Keep creating in whatever way you chose. Once I found my outlet the sadness got easier to process.

Breathing – Oh yes, did I mention how I often forget to take a deep breath? Take a deep breath, celebrate your pet(s) because there is so much to look forward to.

There are many tools available to us when healing, especially through the holidays. My father once said to me “It’s a brand new day, a gift for brand new experiences to happen” and I’ve never forgotten his words.

Happy New Year everyone! May your new year ahead hold much peace and comfort through all of the days. Thank you for being a part of my days!

Kitty's Paw Print

With love and hugs,


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