August 28 – First Annual Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day Blog Hop to Honor Pets Who Have Passed On

Jazz-memory

Mr. Jazz – my forever muse and beautiful boy. I will love you always and not a day goes by that I don’t miss you.

When I wrote the book Purr Prints of the Heart – A Cat’s Tale of Life, Death, and Beyond – a book written after saying goodbye on August 28, 2013 to my beloved Ragdoll companion cat, Mr. Jazz, who had lived to the age of 15, I did it with the purpose of wanting to help others who had lost a pet and were having difficulty with the grieving process. I knew full well after publishing the story that I would subject myself to people contacting me to discuss their innermost feelings of grief and pain, as I knew the manner in which I wrote the story would be something that would deeply resonate with most anyone that had lost a pet.

I can’t say it’s always been easy having to deal with the pain of others – often I have enough trouble dealing with my own after the loss of Jazz in 2013, and then Harley unexpectedly in 2014, but truthfully I’m not complaining – quite the contrary. While I never like to hear someone has lost a pet, death is an inevitable part of life and I think having an outlet to talk about it is healthy and important. If I can help someone feel better in even the smallest of ways, then I’m okay with being that outlet.

On the anniversary date of Jazz’s death – a full two years later – I ponder the irony of it all. Me, writing a book about grieving. I have always been a very private and shy person – sharing my feelings was not in my nature and I’ve always been the kind of person who preferred to live in denial. I’ve had countless pets over the course of my lifetime, so naturally I’ve have countless times I’ve had to say goodbye – by burying my feelings of grief deep inside me, perhaps they really didn’t go. It just seemed easier that way.

DebJazz

My last final moments with Jazz at home. I was so very blessed to be able to say goodbye to him and to let him know how very much he was loved. At my feet were Kizmet and Harley who seemed to understand Jazz had to go.

But, since I elected to write a book that deals with the subject of death in such an honest and forthright fashion, it has caused me to be much more open with my feelings, and I have come to the conclusion that dealing with them, rather than avoiding them, is actually healthier in the long run, and far more respectful to the memory of that pet. The process is one that is easier said than done, but I find having that mindset eventually brings a sense of peace to the relationship, allowing one to focus on precious memories that can never be taken from the heart.

writing jazz book

Writing Purr Prints was not always easy – I broke down many a time in mid-sentence. But, ultimately, it provided me the peace and comfort I needed by helping me process my feelings of denial and grief.

All of this has caused me significant reason to reflect and I realize that how we grieve as a society has changed. Years ago, if a pet passed on, some people would be ridiculed for grieving or there would be the standard responses from friends, family, or co-workers who just didn’t get it – “It’s just an animal,” “You’ll get over it in time,” or “Just get another pet, what’s the big deal?” Some people would understand and offer more comforting words, but in general the loss of a pet was a topic that was not brought up.

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When Harley passed, I was so devastated that I couldn’t tell my co-workers because I just knew they wouldn’t understand my pain. I was grateful to have the love and support of all of my friends on Facebook and my blog to help me process my feelings.

Through the constant barrage of social media that is my life, along with my own experiences, I know there are far more of us that understand the loss of a pet than those that don’t and I am grateful for that change. For those of us that love our pets, they are everything. They are beloved companions; often of greater significance than certain people in our lives and the grief we feel when we have to say goodbye can be devastating. Time might soften the pain, but it never truly goes away.

For many of us, having the support of others who understand our pain is helpful to getting through the mourning process. We want to share our emotions on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and blogs and we are not ashamed of the depth of our feelings. That is how and why I decided a day to honor those memories in a more universal sense was in order.

RainbowBridge-Web

Almost like a giant, worldwide hug of comfort, I came up with the concept of Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day – an annual event to take place on August 28 in tribute to Mr. Jazz who has been my guiding light through this new direction in my life. Naturally the day will have sadness – but it’s my hope it will also be a day of celebration – a day of celebrating and respecting the memories of those dearly departed pets that always hold a loving spot in our hearts.

There are no rules or guidelines for the day – I just want it to be a safe and comfortable platform for people to share pictures, or poems, or blog posts, or a favorite story about their pet(s) without concern of judgement. You can participate quietly from afar or you can interact in every aspect possible. The only request I have is that you take the time to be kind to yourself – your pet knew how much you loved them and they hold no grudges that they had to move on. Revel in the memories of the good times you shared – for however long or short their time on this earth was.

Rainbow-Tribute

I miss each of my babies ever so much and wish they could all be with me forever. But if we did not let go, we also would not get to say hello to the new babies and the new memories – each pet so wonderfully special and unique in their own individual ways. RIP to you all – until we meet again one day…

Peace to all – thank you for making this a special day and heartfelt condolences to all of you that have had to say goodbye to a beloved pet. For those of you that have opened your hearts and homes to love a pet again, please be sure to give them extra love and hugs today, as each moment we are blessed to have with them is so very precious.

Rainbow Bridge Day-hop

Thank you again – for those participating in the blog hop, please add your link below. To participate in the Facebook event page, please click here. For the Google+ event link, please click here.

hearts

PurrPrints-ePub One final reminder – today is one of the last days to participate in a fundraiser that is near and dear to my heart. During the month of August, 10% of the proceeds of the sales of Purr Prints of the Heart will go to Cat Care Society – a rescue that my treasured friend, Sierra Koester of Fur Everywhere volunteers for. Sierra lost her beloved Jewel on August 28, 2014 – one year after Mr. Jazz, so this fundraiser is especially meaningful to both of us. Please click here for purchasing details.



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  1. Angie says:

    This is such a wonderful message and forum you have created. The more we put ourselves out there the better loving and healing it is for all. Peace and blessings to you!

  2. alison says:

    In memoriam
    Cats: Heather, Kinky, Snuffy, Jewel, Bogie, Amber
    Horse: Lovey

  3. Glogirly says:

    Thank you so much for creating this beautiful day of remembrance. The outpouring of love, memories and stories has been so heartwarming. Friends and readers across the globe have been sharing their stores on blogs and social media. It’s so inspiring. So healing.

    Thank you, Deb.

    love,
    Glogirly

  4. We all grieve and heal in our own time and way. Losing Praline was devastating to me. I would cry at the drop of a hat and would sob until I could sob no more. She sent me Truffle and Brulee and the hole in my heart is healing. Thank you for sponsoring this day to remember our wonderful fur children.

  5. Thank you Deb for creating this important date and forum.

    I should send this to my former boss who was upset that I needed time off work, to grieve my Pepe Francois who died suddenly. One day he was fine, next day he was having difficulty breathing and died within hours. Given that I never had human children, he was my child.

    So yes, it’s important to grieve, let it out, whether by tears, writing, sleeping… or all of the above. I did this to get back to normalcy sooner than later. Never have I experienced such pain and grief. Thank you for sharing your experience and for the worldwide hug. I needed that!

    http://www.aboutpepefrancois.blogspot.com

  6. Deb thank you for creating this event. It was a reflective, loving, peaceful, bittersweet day for us all (((hugs))))
    catchatwithcarenandcody

  7. Kitties Blue says:

    Thank you Deb for creating this day. It is perfect to honor Mr. Jazz and to allow the rest of us to honor and remember our beloved anipals. XOCK, Lily Olivia, Mauricio, Misty May, Giulietta, Fiona, Astrid, Lisbeth and Calista Jo