Grief

If any of you read my blogs about my beloved dog daughter, Kula—who departed last August—you know I was sad and missing her. I took a time to take care of my inner self and also put together Kula’s ceremony on her 49th day, according to Buddhist tradition. I invited many of Kula’s friends and people who loved her. You can read about it here and see a YouTube video of the ceremony here.

 

I heard that by Buddhist tradition, I must not cry after the 100-day ceremony. I did not think I took the tradition so seriously, but after November 9, Kula’s 100-day ceremony, I not only stopped crying, but I also stopped talking or writing about her. It was not intentional, but Thanksgiving and the holidays were coming, so I must have felt it was not a good time to share my sad feelings with anyone. I kept all the memories of Kula inside of me.

 

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photo: Kula wearing my wood sandals at her favorite place – the beach!

 

I gradually started to feel numb and did not feel “Sanae.” Sanae is usually excited every morning, motivated about the day, and she is curious. But I had no excited feeling and no motivation or curiosity anymore. I thought it was just holiday blues, which I do feel almost every year. So, I kept doing my usual things—teaching, counseling, taking dogs for walks, and practice my yoga.

 

About a week before Christmas, Eric got sick (which was unbelievable, because the last time he got sick and took a day off was in 1992 when he first moved to Los Angeles.) He had to go to Utah for his cooking job the day after Christmas, so I took care of him with my best ability. He had to take only one day off from work; he got better and went to Utah. But I was getting a high fever and stayed home alone with the dogs and cats for seven days. I got a little better, so I wrote my final 2016 newsletter to my friends and family. I was hoping to get better soon after I wrote the newsletter. It took another week or so, but I got better and taught cooking classes, did counseling, etc.

 

In mid-January, we found out we had a flood in our mountain cabin in North Fork, California. It was lots of work for Eric to clean and make trenches, so I cooked and took care of our dogs and cats. Then I got a fever again for one week; it ended but came back again last week. After more than a month, I decided to go get some tests done. My main symptom was a fever of 100–102. I had some sore throat and a little cough, but nothing major—except I was not able to eat my favorite foods, like brown rice, miso soup and twig tea (kukicha). Also, my sleeping pattern had changed. I was able to do most of the housework and things I normally do, except when I had a high fever. But I did not want to socialize much, and I got tired very easily and had no motivation to do music or new or physical things. I just wanted to go see the ocean and be with my dog and cat family. I did not feel like I was depressed (I went through depression before, so I usually notice if I am feeling that way).

 

It took a while, but I realized I was going through “grief.” I was grieving for Kula! I was thinking about her most of the day. I remembered her with everything I did and everywhere I went since she had been my service dog when I was in a wheelchair.

 

I knew I was feeling very sad and missing Kula a lot, but I thought I was doing all right. I have sent many dogs and cats to heaven since I was 8 years old. Of course, I was sad and missed each of them, but I was able to process the sadness every time, so I did not think I was going through “grief” for Kula. Also, I still have five other dogs and two cats, so I felt bad missing Kula so much. I told myself that I can’t miss her so much—an excuse not to feel my sadness. That’s how I completely stopped talking about her.

 

Since finding out that I must be grieving for Kula, I have been reading a book about grief and learning how to process it and find self-support meetings and workshops. The book told me that in order to deal with grief, I need to talk about my sadness and pain and how much I miss Kula—which is a relief because whenever I talk about her, my heart is lifted and open. The book also says, “Sadness and joy are part of your memories.”

 

What I have learned so far from The Grief Recovery Handbook  – John W. James and Russell Friedman

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Myths About Grief

Most of us, over the course of our lifetime, have heard at least one of the following statements after a loss:

  • Time Heals All Wounds. You may still be grieving after losing someone five, 10 or 20 years ago. Does it hurt any less? Do you miss that person any less? Probably not. For some, the pain may get even worse. Time definitely does not heal all our pain. Yes—I thought after Kula had been departed 100 days, I should be okay.
  • Grieve Alone. We have been taught that we are not to burden others with our grief. I felt that way after the suicides of two friends. You don’t want to bother others with your sadness, so you keep it to yourself. In some cases, you reach out to others, but they don’t know what to do to help you. As a result, you feel lost and alone, so you isolate yourself as a way of handling the grief that others can’t. Grieving alone certainly, doesn’t work. Yes—I did not want to bother people, and I just stayed alone.
  • Be Strong. If you are the oldest child in your family, you know this one well. If something happens, you have to be the strong one for your younger siblings. You have to suck it up and not show your emotions. Heaven forbid the younger ones to see you crying. What sort of message does that send? Maybe they will think you are weak instead of just plain sad. Trying to be strong just gives the wrong message that you are trying not to be human. Yes—as long as I stayed strong, I was all right.
  • Don’t Feel Bad. How many of us have been told as a child not to cry when something bad happened? Rather than expressing our emotions, we were told to hold it in. I think many of the generations before us were never allowed to show their feelings. Men joined the military and were told to check their emotions at the door. Some children have never seen their parents cry. No wonder they grow into adults who can’t deal with their own emotions. Yes—it has been a while, so I should not feel sad.
  • Replace the Loss. I am pretty sure most of my generation has heard after a relationship breakup, “Don’t feel bad; there are plenty of fish in the sea.” I’m not sure if that was supposed to make us feel better, but in actuality, it made it worse. It implies that we should not wait and grieve over the loss of the relationship, but instead move on right away and replace the old one with a new one. That can’t be healthy. Maybe that is why so many people have a revolving door in relationships—maybe even two at one time, in case one of them doesn’t work out. No wonder there are so many divorces these days. This one did not fit me.
  • Keep Busy. Speaking from experience, I can say I became a workaholic just so I didn’t have to think after the suicides of my two friends. Keep busy. Keep working. Don’t think about it. It’s much easier than facing your grief. In reality, it’s worse, because you don’t end up facing your grief at all. Yes—I thought as long as I kept busy, I was all right.

 

All relationships are unique—no comparison and no exceptions.

I am also reading The Grief Recovery Handbook for Pet Loss  – John W. James, Russell Friedman and John W. James

Grief book pets

I started to talk about Kula a little bit again, and I am writing about my feelings and letting some friends know what I am going through, which is helping me.

I went to see the new movie A Dog’s Purpose. I cried a lot and thought about Kula and miss her a lot.

Now I started to talk to Kula once again and using animal communications that I have learned. She supports my feelings and told me “Mommy, I love you and miss you too. Please take all your time, you are all right! I am here for you no matter what.”

I am thinking of trying a support group meeting or taking a workshop to learn more.

If any of you are interested here is their website.

 

Bach Flower remedy and a homeopathic remedy are also very good to take during grieving period, as well as using essential oil and a healing crystal power stone. I would like to share about it in my next blog.

 

If you are going through grieving, please share also!

 

With my love,

Sanae

 

Kula, Golden Retriever’s 49th-Day Memorial

Kula came into my life when I was in my wheelchair in 2003 after I had a near-fatal car crash. Her mother, Kin, was my service dog. After Kin departed, I wished for Kula to be my service dog. She was a very shy and quiet puppy, so even during the two years that we took her to training, I was not sure if she could be a service dog. But she worked to build her confidence and passed the test.

 

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Kula’s 49th-Day Gathering register desk with friends wishes for Kula.

 

Kula was the most gentle, smart and kind dog I’ve ever met. She became not only my service dog—opening the door, picking up things I dropped—but also my beloved dog daughter, who was there for me every day to enjoy her life with us. She loved going to the beach, on mountain hikes, swimming, diving into Manzanita Lake, and enjoying the snow. We had a beautiful life together for 13 years.

I felt much sadness after Kula departed on August 1, 2016.

I wanted to honor her life and process my grief and longing through a memorial gathering with my husband Eric and others who’d loved her all her life.

Kula used to go to senior homes, where she made many people happy, as well as to the Santa Monica Farmers Market, where she’d meet children and let them feed her organic apples.

Please read about her going to senior homes and Santa Monica Farmers Market on my blog.

 

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This is the memorial card I made for the friends/guests with her favorite flowers: plumeria and white hibiscus.

 

 

 

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Here is Kula’s photo album “Kula’s Beautiful Life”, which I made with Eric. It contains 84 pages and 214 photos.

 

We had 26 guests, and we got all kinds of great food (everything was vegan, except one dish). I made Kula’s favorite hijiki dish, and Eric made Kula Cake—vanilla flavor with almond cream.

These below photos were taking by our good friend, Claire Johnson.

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Sanae (me) and Eric with Eric’s Kula Cake and all the potluck food!

 

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Vadaka

 

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Jeff and Phung and their daughter, Quyen and son, Khai with Kula’s sister, Oro, Jessica, Florence and Manuela…

 

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Masano and Rin.

 

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Sanae (me) and Allison with Kula’s nephew, Bubu

 

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Michellee and her mom.

 

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Sanae (me) with Kula’s dog family Health Happy Pooches (let to right Bubu, Happy, Oro, Leo and Lumi).

 

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Sal & Mariko with Kula’s grand niece, Happy.

 

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Stephanie, Sally, and Karin.

 

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John, Carole, Manuela and Jessica…

 

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Eric with powerful vegan ladies: Chef AJ, Armaiti, Shayda and Lisa

 

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Michiyo, Dan, Masako and Yoko singing and dancing

 

 

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Singing Kula’s Pacific Blue

 

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Amanda

 

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Michiyo & Dan

 

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Everyone put incent for Kula.

 

Our friends/guests shared their wishes, thoughts, and love for Kula.

I sang “Kula’s Pacific Blue” (I changed the lyrics) with Eric’s ukulele, accompanied by Dan How, our ukulele teacher.

I was nervous and made mistakes—you can see how I sang—but it was from my heart, and I really want to share it with everyone.The video was posted by Kula and our friend Chef AJ on Facebook.

Claire and I were able to retrieve it and post on Youtube so you can watch it and remember we had a fun and good memorial for Kula.

Kula’s Pacific Blue!

As I said in this video, animals have feelings and emotions, just like humans. Honoring their lives and holding memorial services help us to experience healthy grieving and learn how to be good humans.

 

With gratitude and love of light,

 

Sanae 💖

 

 

Life is a Balance of Yin and Yang – Pray fro Kula!人生は陰と陽のバランス – クラのために祈って下さい。

Life surely is a balance between yin and yang-light and shadow. I have had higher highs and lower lows in my life. Many times tragedy struck when I least expected it.

These are a just a few.
I met Eric while I was going through a divorce from my first husband. Eric was working overseas so we kept in touch by phone or/and fax, since this was before we used the internet. I was happy that he moved to Santa Monica the following year as we started to enter a deeper level in our relationship. Then I got ovarian cancer in 1993.
In 2001, after I had started a career as a certified macrobiotic counselor, I had a near-fatal car accident in the Arizona dessert on my way from taking classes at the Kushi Institute. I was also ready to marry Eric after being together for 10 years, but when I awoke from my coma, I found out that he was about to break up with me.
In 2006, my first service/therapy dog, Kin had a litter, and I learned that my mother passed away suddenly after battling a long illness, from an asthma attack.
Eric and I were working hard to fulfill our dream of opening Seed restaurant, when one of our dogs, Dore, was killed in a hit and run accident. Ten days later her mother Kin died suddenly in 2008.

Now, my beloved dog Kula (she is Kin’s daughter and Dore’s sister), who had joyously just turned 13 last week, is stricken with spleen cancer.
We took her to her annual checkup and blood test and found out she has internal bleeding, so we had to take her to a special internal medicine animal hospital to get an ultrasound and x-ray. I was fervently praying that it was nothing serious, but she was diagnosed with spleen cancer, which had already spread to her lungs. I knew she lost some muscle around her hip area last month after injuring her leg and not walking as much, but it was not her leg injury that was causing her muscle loss. I also noticed one night that her tummy was bigger than usual, so I was concerned, but a few days later I did not notice it as much, so I thought she must have eaten too much. At her age she has a good appetite and enjoys meeting people at Farmers Market every Saturday, and still visits senior homes as a therapy dog.

Kula today!

Kula at a senior home as a service dog on May 26, 2016

I asked myself that what did I do wrong?
Why didn’t I take her for a checkup when I noticed her tummy was bigger?
Why didn’t I catch when her condition change?

The questions kept haunting me.

 

Dr. Lane is checking Kula

Kula with Dr. Lane

I talked to three vets (two holistic vets and one conventional). Dr. Lane (my main holistic vet) and Dr. Hadar (conventional vet) both said since five of her brothers died from cancer at a much younger age, and most golden retrievers get cancer because of a genetic propensity, Kula may have succumbed to that. Kula still has a good appetite, and she enjoys her life without reserve, so the chemical free and GMO plant-based homemade food has kept her from losing her appetite and retreating from a normal life. Dr. Hadar, who performed the ultrasound and x-ray, told me that Kula will live a few weeks to two months. I was too shocked to hear about it. As I am writing this I am not able to accept it and numb from the sudden prospect of losing Kula, but I know in my heart that Kula needs me to focus on her healing, not on my feelings of guilt or grief. She is eating, doing her best and not giving up on her life.

Kula with her 13th birthday gift of new bed

Kula loves her 13th birthday gift of her new bed!

I have been studying animal communication, so I talked to her about her cancer. She said “I am not feeling pain, but sometimes I feel more tired, so I thought I was just getting old. I still enjoy my life and now I have more time to be with you so I am not worried. Please don’t worry, because then I will worry about you. I enjoy my short walks, going to Santa Monica Farmers Market and seeing Leyla the apple vendor and all of the children who come to pet me and feed me snacks of organic Fuji apples (she only likes Fuji apples). I also love visiting our neighbor Nancy and going to a senior home as a service/therapy dog.”

Kula at Santa Monica Farmers Market

Kula at Santa Monica Farmers Market

When I asked her if I can share her story, she said “ Mommy, do you need to ask me that? You wrote Healthy Happy Pooch book so that you can share with others what you thought was best for you against all odds and wanted others to benefit from what you experienced and learned. I trust you to do the same and help other dogs and dog’s family go through tough times the best way they can, through my story and photos.” She made me feel that I have been loved by her so much that I can’t even express with words. She also talked to my animal communicator teacher, Lydia Hiby and she is not ready to leave so soon and she really enjoys her life and appreciates everything she has been receiving from us and other five dogs and two kitty family are very understanding her condition and caring what she is going through.

I was so sad when I found out about her cancer and did not know what to say.
This is unbearably difficult for me, but being in denial is not going to help anything or anyone, so I am accepting my fear, sadness and mental suffering so that I can go on with my daily ritual of getting up in the morning, appreciating my life and Kula’s life and her courage, kindness and beautiful soul.

Please pray for her to fulfill her life and miraculous recover from this cancer one day at a time.

Kula is enjoying being on the deck after dinner.

Kula enjoys being on the deck after dinner.

 

I am making special remedy drink and healing food for her. I also give her body scrub, shiatsu, Reiki, moxibustion and more.
I want to share what I am doing to help her through this healing journey whenever I can.

I appreciate so much for all of your support and prayer for Kula.
Love and healing for Kula,
Sanae

 

人生は光と影、陰と陽のバランス。
今までいろんなことがあった。悲しいことは思ってもいないときにやってくる。

エリックに知り合ったのは、前夫との離婚をすすめていた時、海外で仕事をしていた彼と連絡をインターネットがない時代、電話かFAXでしていた。次の年にエリックがサンタモニカに引っ越ししてとても喜んでいたのにその後、自分が卵巣癌だと告知された1993年。

2001年、マクロビオティックカウンセラーになる資格を修得するためにマサチューセッツにあるクシ・インスティテュート行った帰りにアロゾナの砂漠で臨死体験をするほどの酷い車の事故にあった。出会って10年以上経っていたが、丁度、この事故をする前にやっとエリックとの結婚へのこころの準備が出来ていたのだが、エリックはもう別れることを決意していたと昏睡状態から戻って聞かされた。

2006年、私の始めてのサービス・セラピードッグ、キンが子犬を産んだ日に母が昔から患っていた喘息で急に亡くなったと知らされた。

エリックと私は一生懸命働いてSeed レストランをオープンする夢を実現させようとしていた時に愛犬ドレちゃんが自宅のすぐ横の裏道で車にひき逃げされて亡くなってしまい、その後、10日後に母親のキンが急に亡くなってしまった、2008年。

そして、今回は、大好きなクラちゃん(キンの娘でドレちゃんの妹)が楽しい13歳のバースデーを過ごしたブログを2週間前に書きましたが、クラちゃんは13歳の健康診断に行って血液検査の結果、内臓出血をおこしているとわかった。その後、内科専門の犬猫病院でいろんなテストをして脾臓のガンと告知され、ショックで何も考えられない1週間が過ぎてしまった。

何か自分の育て方に落ち度があったのか?
お腹のところに何かあるのを見たときにすぐ検査に行かなかったからか?
なぜ、もっと早く気が着いてあげなかったのかと何回もいろんなことを責めている自分に気がついた。

内科専門の犬猫病院のドクターハダーさんと、主治医のホリスティック・ドクターレインさんからゴールデンリトリバーは、ガンになる確率が高い犬種で、またクラちゃんブラザーの8匹中5匹がガンで若い時に亡くなっているから原因は遺伝と思われると言われた。手作りのドッグフードでずっと育ててきたからクラちゃん13歳まで病気もしないて元気で生きられたんだと言って下さった。ドクターハダーさんは、クラちゃんは後、2週間から2ヶ月の命だろうとも宣告した。
ショックで何も考えられない、こうしてブログを書きながらも受け入れられないでいる心の表面は麻痺した状態を感じる。でもね、恐々、心の奥深いところを覗くとクラちゃんが私を必要としているのを感じる。罪悪感で自分を責めたり悲しんでいる場合ではない。クラちゃんはまだよく食べているし、ヒーリングフードに変えてからもちゃんと食べて、生きる気力をまだまだ捨てていないで一生懸命頑張ってる。

Kula with Beach sign sm

海が大好きなクラちゃん

昨年からアニマルコミュニケーションの勉強をしているので、クラちゃんとこのガンのことを話してみた。クラちゃんは、「痛くないよ。ただ疲れやすくなったのを感じてたから、初めは年を老いたからだと思ってた。まだ、楽しいことあるし、このことで、ママと一緒にもっといられるからクラは嬉しいから心配してないよ。ママ、心配しないでね。ママが心配するとクラも心配するから。短い散歩、サンタモニカのファーマーズ・マーケットに行って、オーガニックりんごを売っている、レイラに会って、リンゴを買いに来る子供たちと一緒にフジりんごを食べるのも楽しいし、近所のナンシーさんのところに遊びに行ったり、老人ホームにサービス・セラピードッグとして行くのも楽しいよ。」と言って、私が、今回のことをみんなにシェアーしてもいいか聞いたら「ママ、今更何を言ってるの?ママはみんなのヘルプが出来るようにヘルシーハッピープーチの本を書いたんでしょ。もしクラが他の犬たちとその家族のためになるなら、写真も今までのように撮ってね。」と言って私を励ましてくれた。自分がこんなにクラちゃんに愛されて支えられていると再確認して感謝の気持ちいっぱいで言葉にもできませんでした。

私のアニマルコミュニケーションの先生のリディア・ヒビーさんにもクラちゃんと話してもらったら、クラちゃんは痛みはなくって、まだまだ逝く気はない、今までの幸せな彼女の犬生に感謝している。他の犬とネコの家族もみんな理解してくれているから安心しているって言ったそうです。
クラちゃんがガンになったと知って悲しくって誰にも何もすぐ言えなかった。耐えられないような苦しみを感じてしまったけど、この気持ちを否認していたのでは、本当にクラちゃんを癒してあげられないから、どんなに苦しくても怖くて悲しくても正直な自分の気持ちを認めて毎日、クラちゃんのために早く起きて、まず自分の人生とクラちゃんの優しくって勇気ある素晴らしい魂に感謝して1日を始めてます。

どうぞ、みなさん、クラちゃんが彼女の命を1日でも長く全うできるため、ガンが奇跡で治るように祈ってあげて下さい。お願いします!

クラちゃんの癒しのレメディードリンク、癒しの食事を作って、ボディースクラブ、指圧、レイキ、温灸などを毎日してあげてます。時間ができたら、クラちゃんにしてあげている癒し療法をシェアーしますね。

愛とクラちゃんを癒すために…

草千