The death of my beloved dog, Titan, has stimulated my thoughts for the four Memory Phases of the core of the Grieving Process: Phase I consist of Titan being normal and healthy; Phase II concerns when he became disabled; Phase III is the last hour of his life; and Phase IV, the after death grief. The Immaterial core of the Grieving Process begins with Phase II and in the form of anxiety over realizing Titan is on an obvious countdown to death. As signs clearly make evident the nearing of his death there comes fretting over hoping he will die quietly in his sleep. Otherwise, what will cause me to make the decision to "put him down" and will I have the courage to do so? I must think of what is best for him and not what I want for me. Phase III is about switching from the present moment to imagining his dying and what life will be like after he is gone. After he dies I step inside Phase IV's core of Grief. So what do I do now? When starting to grieve in full force I call into action my previously mentioned preparations + reserves + time limit rule + boundaries in order to assist keeping me somewhat inside the confines of the turmoil brought in with the Grieving Process. Meanwhile, I follow my previously prepared inner core stepping stone pattern for it serves as a tow-rope throughout the Grieving Process.
Step I is to write everything on my mind related to Titan. One reason is to get thoughts about him out of my system so as to not constantly repeat the same ones. By putting this information down allows me to think of new painful things. Eventually I will have said all I have to say and can stop thinking about it because it is on paper. That clears my system--and this is the keystone for beginning the healing process. Step II is having a nice burial place at a convenient location where it is easy to reconnect with Titan's spirit when desired. (However, even though I thought he was protected from predators, a coyote dug him up ten days later and carried Titan away. That greatly added to my grief). To disconnect, some people cremate their loved one so as to not have to revisit the grave. Step III: By being in a mental state of disharmony, I go to a quiet place in Nature (e.g. the botanical gardens) so as to get in tune with the harmony of Nature. This lessens my degree of disorder and puts things in perspective--as by seeing how things in Nature feed on each other; by realizing life is necessarily fleeting and can end suddenly; and by clearly demonstrating the good and beautiful. Furthermore, it reminds me that if I leave another with harsh words, I may not be able to apologize. To avoid this I vow to leave people with something good or at least in a neutral state. Step IV: To still be a part of humanity, I go into a crowd (e.g. shopping at a grocery or department store) but not talk to anybody. Step V is getting involved in something pleasurable and familiar where thinking is not required (e.g. watching the Pink Panther cartoon). Step VI is formulating a thought about Titan to hang on to--like: "I had to put him down, not for my convenience, but because it was the best thing to bring his suffering to an end." Step VII: being in a grieving state makes me irritable and thus I try to stay away from people; or try not to say anything to anybody because whatever they say and do annoys me. If unavoidably around people, I do not tell them about my pain because it makes them uncomfortable. Step VIII: Being helpless in an "impossible" problem (e.g. Titan's death), I resort to philosophical solutions. For example: "Everything happens for the best"--an instance of allowing reason to dominate over feelings or emotions. Step IX: I do something to convey a sense of even a small success. An example is producing something--and particularly when I am unable to sleep. Step X is to try to avoid the syndrome of Self-Pity by staying as positive as possible and taking care of the ever-present problems in the outside world. Step XI is searching for clues within this terrible experience that might help me to be a better person. Step XII: I clean up my workspace (e.g. desk, room).
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