Wednesday, March 09, 2005


No one can give me peace, that's my job.
-byron katie

My husband and I have been doing better emotionally the last few days but woke up this morning feeling depressed. These next four days are going to be hard. A week ago today Emma ate the poisoned cat food, a week ago tomorrow we stepped onto a roller coaster ride of optimism and despair, and a week ago Saturday Emma died. I am confident that when we get to Sunday things will start looking better again.

Emma death has been harder on me that I expected, which is a strange thing to write since there is no way to know exactly how deeply you are going to grieve until you do. Sunday I was in so much pain I sat on the living room couch screaming her name over and over. I wanted her to be alive. I wanted to pretend she was outside in the yard and that when she heard me she would come racing though the doggie door and up to me with tail wagging and a big smile on her face. I wanted the pain to stop.

My husband is having a hard time too. He blames himself in part for Emma's death because he felt he did get her to the vet soon enough. He said he did not feel this devastated when his sister died at the age of 28 or when his mother died at the age of sixty-three. I think that Emma's death has brought up all the unexpressed grief from incidents like this for both of us. I know I feel like the inside of my heart has been scooped out with a large spoon.

This morning while reading the news I came across a story reporting that 50 Filipino children died after accidentally being poisoned at school. My first thought was how can I feel so badly about a dog dying when 50 children have died horribly in the same way? How can my grief be as deep as a parent losing a child? If this had happened five years ago my answer would have been, "it can't," and I would have stuffed my feelings deep inside me and pretended they were not there. Five years ago I did not have the tools to work though this, today I do.

About seven years ago I heard about a process called The Work. The premise of The Work is that all of our emotional pain is caused by the unconscious beliefs that we hold clashing with reality- the "should" and "shouldn't of happened" thoughts. The tricky part, and the part I had trouble understanding, is whenever you find yourself saying something shouldn't have happened you turn that statement around and say it should have happened. Then you ask yourself how do you know it should have happened with the answer being because it did. I had a hard time with this at the seminar I went to because some people were dealing with some pretty traumatic things. How can you tell someone who has been raped that it should of happened? I finally understood this is not what katie means. What she was saying is that whenever we say something shouldn't have happened we are trying to ignore reality. By thinking "it shouldn't have happened" a part of us is not accepting the fact something did happen and therefore we are stuck there reliving the incident or thought over and over again. By not accepting what has happened we are arguing with reality and anytime we argue with reality we loose and then cause ourselves a lot of emotional pain. When we accept reality we can let go of our pain and move beyond it.

Now, that is a pretty simple explanation of The Work but what I have written in the above paragraph is helping me though Emma's death. I never went to "it shouldn't of happened" when she died. I didn't want it to happen but I did not deny the reality of it. When I read about the 50 Filipino children and then told myself my grief shouldn't be as deep as a parent losing a child I was denying my reality. My grief should be as deep as a parent loosing a child. How do I know? Because I am grieving that deeply. As long as I acknowledge this I will be able to move past it.

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