The Shine Journal - The Light Left Behind

Journeys Through Grief and Beyond

Loss of a pet...

I recently had a discussion with someone about losing a pet. My friend went to her local 12-step meeting and someone decided to 'share' about the loss of their horse. A gentleman in his mid thirties, had talked about his horse and how he had to 'put him down'. My girlfriend said he was near hysterics, crying and an overall ball of emotion.
She and I kind of chuckled, said we couldn't understand it...But then I thought about it. And when we suffer loss, as I've stated many times before, it comes in many ways. You can never be dismissive about the depth of feeling that accompanies the grieving process.
Many people feel more for their pets than actual relatives! Sometimes for good reason. There are times when that puppy, kitty, bunny or horse,was the ONLY one who would listen. Listen to your fears, share your joy and love you when you felt loved the least.
With this gentleman, I could easily speculate that this animal was around for his recovery process and instead of using, he chose to confide and ride. And it was this horse who only wanted to serve, not realizing the fullness of his purpose.
So, the next time I hear that someone has lost a pet, I'm personally going to be a little more sincere and a little less obligatory in my condolences.
If this article touches you in any manner, consider adopting a pet. Contact your local animal shelter. They need you too.
Until next time...
Cindy Clemons RN

Cynthia Brown-Clemons BSN,RN


Cynthia Brown-Clemons BSN, RN is our Medical Consultant, licensed to practice in both CT and MA. She graduated in 2001 from American International College, Springfield, MA with a Bachelors of Science in Nursing. She began practicing in MA 2011. She challenged for an L.P.N. in NY and CT in 2001. She received her R.N. in CT in 2003.

Brown-Clemons's practice ranges from pediatrics to geriatrics to hospice. She works as a nursing supervisor, a school nurse, as a nurse consultant and currently owns Village Keeper Adult Day Health Services.

Residing in Western MA, she sits on the board of Liberty Prep Academy and The Maternal Child Health Commission. She sat on the planning board of the Mason Square Recovery Initiative and has volunteered in a local free clinic. She is also a writer.She balances this professional expertise with being a devoted wife and nurturing mother. Cynthia looks forward to interacting with the Shine family. Send your comments, questions or requests for information to The Shine Journal... 

Cynthia Shares...

I feel a sense of disbelief...I am going through loss again!
One of my favorite aunts suffered a massive stroke on Mother's Day. All of a sudden the memories start flooding your mind. This was the aunt who taught us how to swim, fish and play tennis. She was so much fun but definitely had her cantankerous side. You really did not want to cross this one. But that too was one of the funny things. We kids would first- get scared, watch out Aunt Bertha's mad... then giggle at it all.
Everybody's got an Aunt Bertha.
It never ceases to amaze me how all the memories come back while simultaneously we are losing someone we love dearly  who will be sorely missed. I was combing her hair and thinking about times when she would comb mine. And thinking about her final arrangements.
She had some lucid moments the other day with her grandchildren and me her 'favorite niece'. My brothers (the jerks) were quick to point out that I was her only niece.
The doctor suggested some music, I will bring it in this evening. Although I asked my other aunt, whether she was a big music person. In the end But we decided that we would try it. My husband said she might get irritated. My thought, we will take that too.
Sometimes it's hard to be the medical person in the family. Maybe it is a little selfish of me to want this time to be just another 'family member' and to spend time with her, remembering and talking.
I encourage you, to not disregard your feelings  Tell your loved one, especially one who is ill,  how you feel. Let them share their feelings about their illness and their life and the inevitable end to both. And finally start working on that quality time now, before there is a terminal diagnosis to restrict your time.

Cynthia Shares...

Lately, I have had a more than a few hospice clients in my clinical practice. The 'difference' in recent weeks, is that they have been friends and family. Needless to say, this has given me quite an opportunity to explore my feelings on loss. As I continue along in my nursing practice, particularly hospice, it causes me to reflect on my losses. These can come in many forms, not just loss of life but love, relationships, dignity, 'home'...
In my experience, there has been a recent loss in the dynamic of my relationship with my Mom due to dementia. An ugly thief that leaves an ugly new truth:

Dementia is a commonplace term used to describe a person who suffers from cognitive and intellectual losses. Alzheimers Disease is one of the more common forms of dementia that we hear about. There are three forms of dementia and the symptoms depend upon which part of the brain is effected, but are a result in a loss of nerve cell function.

Some of these symptoms are memory loss, difficulty making decisions, personality and behavioral changes. The latter are the symptoms that are affecting my relationship with my mother.  Dementia leaves me with only the physical picture of who my mother is and only traces of what our relationship once was. This is the part where the roles have changed between mother and daughter.
And my journey continues…

Cynthia Brown-Clemons, BSN, RN


Contact Editor: Pamela Tyree Griffin

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