Loss is never easy , but Doc often tells the patient’s that it’s very important for them to honor their feelings and express them in a safe place. Trying to act like everything is ok when it isn’t, never works in the long run. The body keeps count of every emotion that we choose to stuff inside and it can rear it’s ugly head when we least expect it. This week was our turn to practice what we preach and express our profound grief over the sudden loss of one of our coworkers Diane, that also happened to be a counselor. It felt like the loss of limb not only for the staff but for her patients that had trusted and opened up their lives to her. And so we all begin the healing together.
As a therapy dog, I absorb all the emotions of those I am around and the pain feels profound to me. I have never had to help comfort patients from a loss that I am also going through myself, along with my co-workers. Over the last week, sometimes I have to take a break and go to my safe place in my dog bed behind the big chair in Doc’s office. I escape by going to sleep for awhile. Then I think about how I have known Diane since I was a puppy and how she would sneak me treats when I escaped down to her office and then give me a pat on the head. Doc notices how it affects me, but she is trying to make sure she is ok so she can help the patients trying to come to terms with this profound shift in their lives. None of this is easy.
Sudden loss has a way of sneaking up behind you and slamming you in the head when you least expect it. It’s exhausting, but also can be a teacher because grief really never ends, it just changes form and we learn to hold space in our heart for the person that we care for.
Diane was a gentle soul, who made a profound impact on the hundred’s of patient’s that she helped over the years, her family, co-workers and friends. That is her legacy and she will will be dearly missed.