Today was a really tough day for me. I went to see a counselor this morning to discuss the level of pain I have felt since Ray left us. I am constantly being blind-sided by waves of grief and loss. Everyone else seems to think I should have moved on….but, as I was so kindly reminded today, grief is a process…it is not an event. There is no timeline or deadline. You just learn how to deal with the loss better as you go along.
Besides my wonderful, loving, supportive husband, our new boy Bubba has helped me more than anything else. He is young, he is active, he is naughty, and he is wonderful. I cannot concentrate on sadness when I am working with him. He does not fit in the Ray sized hole in my heart….but he snuggles up right next to it.
Working on Ray’s book has also been very emotional for me. Going through photos, remembering details of our time together. Let’s just say I feel like I’ve been through the emotional wringer today.
And then…..then I get on Facebook at lunch, and I read some woman’s sanctimonious take on animal companionship. The title of her piece was “Saying Your Dog Is Your “Baby” Is an Insult to Moms Everywhere”. The title alone was insulting enough. The article was the height of disrespect. Her article felt like a slap in the face…..her words devalued my relationship with Ray, and trivialized my feelings.
I have been a daughter, mother, wife and grandmother. I have a lot of people who I love in my life. I have lost people who have been very close to me, including both of my parents. The level of grief Ray’s loss has caused is every bit as deep and painful as any death I have ever experienced.
I did comment on her piece. My remarks were fairly respectful: “As the mother of five and grandmother of 13 I can say, without hesitation, that you are wrong. Some dogs connect in a way that is impossible to do with humans. Some dogs become intrinsically a part of you. And when those dogs leave you, they leave you with a grief more than you have ever known before. I am sorry you haven’t experienced that level of attachment yourself.”
But the longer I thought about it, the angrier I became. How dare this woman make assumptions about my feelings/relationships with any family member; furry, feathered or human. What gives her the right to be offended by how I choose to express my feelings. I was Ray’s mom. I am still mom to Turtle, Bubba and our other companions.
I will not link to her article. I am actually sorry I posted it on my website. Because by doing so, I become part of her act of disrespect to millions of men and women across the country. People who may be childless, by choice or by circumstance. People who might read that article, and die a little inside. Who will feel diminished and saddened by her censor of their emotions and family.
I will not say what I would like to. I don’t believe in getting into the gutter. But I do want to say this:
Those of you who consider your “pets” as family members have ever right to call them whatever you choose to. Your feelings are valid. No one has the right to tell you how to feel or who your family is. Hold your head up, and continue sharing your love as you see fit. I celebrate the fact you have love in your heart that isn’t reserved for one species.
And to Ms. Broadbent…..shame on you. Your disregard for other’s feelings is reprehensible.