Ceremony and closure for a beloved pet
- a fact or situation that is observed to exist or happen, especially one whose cause or explanation is in question.
It is sometimes shared that those who work as nurses, or other services that work at night, often encounter ‘spiritual experiences’ in the workplace; but they don’t often share publicly because of possible community unbelief or reactions.
I think it would be helpful if we understood that this was quite a natural phenomenon.
I have talked about Ceremony being an important part of our lives. Ceremony can be as simple as placing a candle in a cupcake for yourself; or lighting a candle to remember someone you love. When it is a natural part of our life, we are giving thanks for what we have or have known. And for those we love and honour ...
Trigger warning ... before going any further, the following is a little story of the unexpected loss of a pet and how we used Ceremony to bring closure and a phenomenon that occurred. It tells how we honoured our pet in Ceremony for closure.
Recently my husband and I lost a very beloved pet age 6 years 10 months very suddenly … Simba had come to us as a tiny kitten, rescued from the wild by my step-daughter and her husband, where its mother was dumped. The mother and daughter stayed with them. Simba came to live with us. We also have another rescue kitten from a shelter who came to us the day before. So they became ‘brothers’.
Simba was an unusual cat - he would sit and stare face to face with his beautiful green eyes, seemingly looking deep into our souls. He felt to be a very old soul himself and did his best to communicate and sometimes seemed also dog-like. He had a beautiful black mane and a big bushy tail. His black fur was something we had to vacuum up every day from the floor.
Rescue animals are like people - they carry their trauma in their bodies, and ours were no exception. With loving encouragement we gave them the best care and life we could.
As my work is about soul, I will share that the night that Simba suffered a stroke, I nursed him in my arms all night. I have spoken about about tuning into the energy to ‘know’ what is best to do. When your soul is close to another, you can feel the soul of the other being, and messages can come in different ways. There was something yet for me to experience. A natural phenomenon.
I determined that he would not feel alone and so I lay back in the recliner chair with our beloved pet in my arms. Then, as I was praying for guidance on ‘how do I help him?’, I knew that this was serious and, being a Saturday night, there was only us to care for him. About 3.30am Sunday morning I drifted into a ‘dream journey’ where I was in a beautiful bush forest in a place of safety and love, and I felt all the beautiful supportive souls around us as I walked with Simba in my arms. I sensed an ‘elder’ take Simba from my arms, and bless him. He then returned Simba into my arms and said gently, ‘it’s time to let him go’. This was incredibly hard for me to take in - 'did I imagine what I heard? Was it really true? How could I let Simba go?' But, dream or reality, I instinctively knew I had to do this in absolute love and care.
Gently, I continued my words of love and gratitude to our beloved pet as I stroked his body and paralysed legs. I could feel him going. He passed over 55 minutes after my ‘dream journey’ still in my arms, nuzzled into the crook of my shoulder. We were in utter shock. This was totally unexpected. My husband also took time to be with him. The sorrow has been intense.
So, maybe the following suggestions may help you or your loved ones for when you encounter something similar.
1. Tell your pet how much you love them and are grateful for their choosing to be with you.
2. Take care of you in whatever way is best. The good old fashioned cup of tea is a good starting point.
3. Tune in - listen to your intuition and be guided as to what your pet or loved one would like.
4. Have a little Ceremony. This can be as simple as reading a poem as you say goodbye to your pet.
For us, Simba had come from the wild, so we had to return him to the wild. So there was no question about having to scatter his ashes. Both of us received it very clearly intuitively. Releasing ashes is an act of releasing the soul back to the elements and is freeing on both sides.
Our pet died and was cremated on a Sunday, and the ashes scattered the following night. Even the person doing the cremation ‘felt’ the energy of the soul saying that they wanted it done immediately that day. This soul was so longing to return to the spiritual world. We realised on the returning of the ashes the following day, that for our pet's sake, it had to be that night. It was full moon. So we created a nice little setting with snacks and beverages, candles, and fairy lights. A few people who had loved Simba as much as us joined us. As the sun set, those of us gathered spoke a few words on what effect Simba had on our lives and how they would miss him. And we heard again the beautiful story again of how he and his sister and mother had been found and rescued. I read a beautiful poem which I have repeated at the end of this post. We scattered the ashes in the garden and wished him well and left the perpetual (battery) candle on for 30 days. If there are children, it is important to let them be involved - encourage them also to say a few words about their love for the pet and how they will miss them. Let them turn on a 'perpetual candle' (battery operated) that can stay on in a safe place for 30 days as a time of honouring. Perhaps they can make a trinket out of the pet's tag or decorate a frame for a photo of the pet or loved one.
This will help bring closure and help you through this time of grief.
So, sad as this post is, I hope that there is some encouragement. Please note that there is no wrong or right way to do this. Feel into your intuition as to what is best for you and your pet, or loved one.
Whatever is at the heart of you.
For this particular soul, it was this way. For others, they take time to consider when to scatter or bury the pet. There is no judgement. It is whatever is right for you and what you believe is right for them. In my own work I have even done ceremony with clients who feel that they need to acknowledge someone or a pet as they missed out and needed to say goodbye. And for some, it was a loss years ago. This time it was our turn.
Even if you lost your pet or loved one a few years ago, if you have not acknowledged the love you had for them, you can still do a ceremony as you feel called. Light a candle and speak the words from your heart. They will hear and you will feel a peace in your heart.
In loving memory of Simba - wild, gentle, affectionate and deeply loved. An old and wise soul.
May you run free. Many blessings.
A POEM FOR CATS
And God asked the feline spirit
Are you ready to come home?
Oh, yes, quite so, replied the precious soul
And, as a cat, you know I am most able
To decide anything for myself.
Are you coming then? asked God.
Soon, replied the whiskered angel
But I must come slowly
For my human friends are troubled
For you see, they need me, quite certainly.
But don't they understand? asked God
That you'll never leave them?
That your souls are intertwined. For all eternity?
That nothing is created or destroyed?
It just is ... forever and ever and ever.
Eventually they will understand,
Replied the glorious cat
For I will whisper into their hearts
That I am always with them
I just am ... forever and ever and ever. (Author unknown)