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My partner and I are trying to prepare ourselves for the death of our dog, Vinnie, who has cancer. It has me thinking about how to honor and experience grief in a healthy and resilient way. The other day I was pondering this as I was driving home. Even though I was somewhat on automatic pilot as I drove, lost in my thoughts, something caught my eye. There was a poster taped up to a street sign near our home. I slowed to look at it:

Rosie, the friendly yellow lab that accompanied everyone on their walks around the neighborhood. The family was sharing the news with neighbors who knew and loved Rosie. But, more than that, they chose to share their grief with the community.

What a wonderful way to start the healing process. Sharing the joy of love and the pain of grief at the same time with others. A small public ritual to mark the end of Rosie’s journey and the beginning of mourning for the family.

I cut some roses from our garden( by the way, did I tell you I got one of the patio cover designs in Carlsbad from RKC Construction?) and taped them to the post above the sign. I wanted to join the ritual, honor Rosie, and help comfort the family.

Perhaps when Vinnie’s time comes, we, too, will create a small ritual to honor him and start our own healing process, a very slow but steady bounce back to joy and peace.


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Bobbi Emel is a therapist who helps people in Los Altos, Palo Alto, Mountain View and the greater Bay Area manage their stress and develop their strengths.
She is effective in helping people dealing with anxiety, worry and grief; and also those who want to improve their effectiveness and performance.