If you are like me, your animals are a big part of your family. In this episode, I talk with Von Braschler about dealing with pet loss and grief.
Von is the author of the book Natural Pet Healing and the e-book Healing with Your Pet: Our Psychic Spiritual Connection, which is based in part on his 4-year popular podcast which was called “Healing with your Pet.” He rescues cats and has volunteered as a dog walker and groomer for the Humane Society. He is also a certified pet massage therapist.
There are steps that you really need to go through in dealing with pet loss
The most popular names in the US for pets are no longer Fluffy or Spot. Instead, they are names such as Max, Sam, Ginger, Misty, Jake, and Samantha. These are like children’s names and they become our family. According to Von, the bond we have with our pets these days is stronger than ever before. Pets are not spending as much time outside, they live in the house with us, therefore, our bond with them gets stronger.
Most of us will go through many… many pets and will sadly lose them and go through grief. Unless someone has lived with an animal or had a pet that is close to them, they do not feel the bond and they can’t truly empathize with the grief you go through.
What are the steps for dealing with pet loss?
Take lots of photos and make a book out of them
Keep collars, tags (keepsakes)
Celebrate their life
Surround yourself with sympathetic people
Allow yourself to grieve
If you have another pet, you can comfort each other and grieve together
Have a small ceremony
Join a pet loss support group either online or in person
Have age appropriate animal (someone who is elderly may not want to get a parrot who will live a very long time)
So many people in my life in 2016 were grieving it’s difficult to track them all.
Some of them lost a family member. Some lost a pet. And some were grieving over their lost candidate after the election. One of the things that most of us have to deal with in retirement is grief – either our own or someone else’s. What do you say to someone who’s grieving? That’s exactly what I asked Natalia Volz and the answer may surprise you.
Natalia Volz is the founder of Passing Through Grief and the RELIEF Process.
She helps individuals who feel lost and down after experiencing a significant loss or change in their life such as a death, divorce, or children leaving home to heal their pain so they can rebuild their life and find renewed purpose.
She has first hand experience with loss and grief. In 2010, after a two-year battle with cancer, her husband died at the age of 49. Lost, alone, and very frightened, she eventually found her way through the devastating pain of loss and grief.
There is a lack of understanding and a fear in our culture about loss and grief and she found herself struggling to find help to get through. She worked diligently to move beyond her own grief and on to living happily and purposefully. Natalia read every book she could get my hands on, took courses on the subject, and completed grief recovery certification training, and in the process became passionate about making a difference in the way our society deals with loss, change and grief.
It’s easy to tell that she feels passionate about getting out accurate information on a subject we normally avoid but all have to confront first hand at some point in our lives.
I asked Natalia, “What do you say?” I know that I’m always at a loss for words when I’m confronted with someone who is grieving, because I know that nothing I say or do is going to bring their wholeness back. She had a very interesting answer: Be a heart with ears.
For the person who is grieving, she said that time does not heal all wounds. The person suffering a loss needs to talk about it. Keeping busy does not heal. So what do you say to someone who’s grieving?
Natalia gave us some steps to take to help with our own grief:
Find a place to talk about the feelings of loss.
Write about your feelings about the loss.
Connect with others. See if there is one friend who will listen to how you are feeling. Tell them you just need to talk, and to have them listen.
Say it or write it while you are feeling the emotion.
Grief causes a lot of energy. Move through it through your body. Don’t stuff it. Take a walk if you can.
Listen to music that makes you cry. Get your tears out. Crying releases a stress hormone that actually helps you release the stress. Don’t worry, you can’t cry forever. Normally it takes about 15 minutes and then you feel better.
Writing really helps with the relief process.
So what do you say to someone who’s grieving? For dealing with others, remember you can’t fix it so don’t even try. Be a heart with ears. If your friend is telling you about some guilt that they might feel, don’t discount it by saying “He knew you loved him”, instead say something like, “I can imagine that would be really painful. I can’t imagine what that would feel like. Tell me more”.
Natalia gave us some excellent advice, but unfortunately my internet went out right when we were wrapping up the show. I hope to have her come back someday because what she had to say was so valuable. The good news is that we were wrapping up, about to give out her contact information, which we have below.
If you’d like to contact Natalia, you can reach her at 877-606-0909 or Natalia@PassingThroughGrief.com
Janelle Anderson helps people discover their pathways to a fulfilling life in retirement.
Ms. Anderson works with women find a fulfilling life in retirement. She is a Certified Professional Coach through her business, Emerging Life Coaching. Janelle typically works with women who are transitioning into a new season in life, whether that is from the “busy mother raising children season” to an “empty nest” season or from “busy career life” to the season of retired life. And…she helps them discover a new game to play and who they truly want to be in this “third act of life.” Her work with clients includes one-on-one private coaching sessions, as well coaching groups, workshops and personal development classes.
She developed a retirement transition course called “Pathways to a Fulfilling Life in Retirement.” This course was featured in Virginia Tech’s Lifelong Learning Institute this past Spring.
She has created a personalized coaching program from this course called “Redefine Your Retirement.”
Janelle’s Pathways to a Fulfilling life in Retirement course is a 6 week course that goes through the following:
Week 1 – Assessment. This is spent doing various types of assessments to determine where people are in their transitions. She uses “REC” which means:
Release – Letting go of your past life
Explore – What do I want to do now
Create – Setting out steps and goals to create a new life in retirement
Week 2 – Envisioning which is setting the vision of where you want to go and who you want to be. Dream and paint a big picture of what’s possible.
Week 3 – What’s stopping you? “GAILS”
Week 4 – Work on removing the roadblocks in your life. Create possibilities and figure out how to write a new story for your life.
Week 5 – This week is spent looking at key relationships in your life. Where are they? Are they draining you? Are they energizing you?
Week 6 – Create your best life by coming up with a plan, action steps, and goals to create the life you want to live in retirement
I’m not unhappy, I’m doing things I enjoy like gardening and going out with my friends, but I just keep asking myself is this all there is?
Janelle talks about her client Margie who was struggling with becoming an “empty nester” and she also talks about Sandra who felt unfulfilled in her retirement.
Margie had just entered the “empty nest” when she came to me. The last of her children had just moved out and she was really floundering with her life, not knowing what to do with herself.
Know that there is not just one transition that is going to happen. There are many transitions and that it is normal and you may need time to re-adjust to figure out where you are and what you want to do.
We asked, “What advice would you give to a retiree who feels stuck?” She answered, “Appreciate the moment. Live in the present moment, live every moment to the fullest and learn how to find joy right now.”
On today’s episode of Rock Your Retirement, we’re learning about how to live in an RV!
Jerry Minchey, #1 Best Selling Author, is the author of several books about the RVing lifestyle, and about retirement living. He lives full time in his 34-foot Class A motorhome. He has a Bachelors degree in Electrical Engineering, an MBA from USC, and an OPM degree from Harvard Business School.
Jerry has worked for NASA and worked for many years as a computer design engineer. He holds five patents, and he has a private pilot license with an instrument rating. (Let’s go flying!)
He has owned several engineering and marketing businesses, and he is the founder and editor of the website, LifeRV.com. How did he decide to live in an RV? He tells us on today’s episode.
After Jerry retired he bought a motorhome and started living full-time in it.
He started following several RVing blogs and forums. After a couple of years of following the RV forums he realized that there were a lot of people who had tons of questions about the RVing lifestyle, what’s it like, how much does it cost, etc. That’s when he decided to write his first RVing book (Motorhome and RV Retirement Living – The most Enjoyable and Least Expensive Way to Retire). Jerry has since written three more books about motorhome and RV living. If anyone is an expert on how to live in an RV, it’s him.
He sells his books (both the printed versions and the eBooks) through Amazon. He also has links to the Amazon sales pages for his books on his website www.LifeRV.com
Jerry says, “Probably the most interesting response I get from people when I tell them about living full time in an RV is that they say, “I could never live in an RV. I have too much stuff.”
“They say it with so much conviction it’s like saying one leg is longer than the other one. They act like they were born that way and there’s nothing they can do about it. Getting rid of your stuff is one of the most liberating things you can do.”
“Since I live full-time in my motorhome, my typical day varies a lot depending on where I’m camped. Sometimes I’m in a campground and sometimes I’m camped in a state park or a National Forest all by myself. Either way, I do a lot of writing and I like to hike.”
Jerry gave us a lot of great information and we also created a freebie, 5 steps to living in an RV Full Time, that you can get by going to http://RockYourRetirement.com/RV
Jerry, what do you think people should know BEFORE they retire?
Contrary to what a lot of financial advisors say about how much money you need to retire, I tell people to look at retirement from the opposite direction. When you’re near retirement age, what money you have is what you have and there’s not much that they can do to change the amount. So look at what you have and decide what kind of retirement you can have. The good news is that when it comes to retiring and living full-time in a RV, the price of RV you have doesn’t have much to do with how happy you are in retirement.
Your RV is like your dog. Whether it’s a rescue dog or a pedigree dog, you love it and enjoy it just the same.
Jerry, what if someone feels stuck in retirement?
I would tell them to live their life so they can say, “When I grow up I want to be just like me.” It’s an eye-opening thought and in many cases it expands their horizons when thinking about how they want to live their retirement.
Are you a Retiring Executive? Are you within 5 years of that goal?
There are special issues associated with a retiring executive. Joyce Richman has worked with individuals as an executive
coach for more than 30 years. In addition to her private practice, Joyce has worked with hundreds of clients across the United States and internationally.
Joyce gave us some great advice that she specific uses with executives preparing for retirement, but anybody can use it really.
She said that if you are a retiring executive, you should really have the conversation a couple of years in advance.
So for example, if you are 60 years old, and planning on retiring at 62, you need to start talking about what your perfect retirement looks like, NOW.
A retiring executive should bring his or her spouse into the conversation.
Discuss what you expect, and be honest. If you plan on traveling, discuss this with your spouse, who’s perfect executive retirement may have meant having you around the house and snuggling on the couch watching television. Get these things worked out now.
Consider also what gives you energy.
What do you love to do naturally? How does this play out? If playing the guitar gives you a buzz, consider taking lessons or joining a garage band if you know other aspiring musicians.
Also, some executives don’t want to just stop working when they retire.
Their perfect retirement might mean volunteer work or business consulting. A hobby might take up more of your time, but most of us can’t golf for 10 hours every day.
Consider the top challenges that married couples need to overcome as they move through retirement.
If you are a retiring executive, be sure to talk it through with your spouse. Many people assume that their spouses wants to do what they want to do, and they are used to being in control. Your spouse may be used to doing things at home, and now there is someone that they need to get used to in their territory.
What do you think people should know BEFORE they retire?
If in a marriage/committed relationship, couples should have candid conversations (preferably facilitated by someone objective) about “what’s next?”; what each person wants for those years free from the obligations of paid employment for self, and for each other. This conversation is in addition to planning with a financial advisor so there’s no misunderstanding around finances… what is within bounds… and what is outside those bounds. If single, (and in addition to financial planning) who and what do you need in your life to feel a sense of belonging and involvement in lives outside your own? What stimulates, energizes, focuses your attention in positive ways. Identify it.. all of it… and realize your role in initiating the outcomes you seek.
What if you feel stuck in Retirement?
Think back… to those moments and times when you have been most happy. What was happening? What were you doing? Who was there? What value or benefit came from that experience? You job now… is to find ways to recreate those experiences… if not for you, for others who might learn and take value from what you can now share with them.
The basis of the Rock Your Retirement show is that retirement isn’t just about money.
This is basically the non financial aspects of retirement.
Alan Spector agrees. He and his partner created the Critical Decisions Matrix and Crucial Conversations. These ideas help everyone understand what the expectations are in retirement. Alan co-authored the book, Your Retirement Quest with Keith Lawrence, and you can find the book on Amazon. This is a great book to read if you are considering retirement in the next five years.
Alan wasn’t always a retirement coach.
He worked at Proctor and Gamble for 33 years as an executive. After that, Alan founded and managed three business, and authored five books. Alan also blogs on retirement issues on three sites, and is deeply involved in his community. He’s also very active physically and likes to travel.
Alan and Keith interviewed their colleagues about their thoughts on retirement. Shortly after they realized that they were dismayed at the results. This started their quest to educate people about the non financial aspects of retirement so they started conducting workshops. They kept getting requests for their book…but it hadn’t been written yet! So… they knew they had to write it. And they did. They named the book “Your Retirement Quest”. This book talks about the non-financial aspects of retirement, and it includes well-being, connectedness, growth, and fun among other things. Some of the other non-financial aspects of retirement include physical, emotional, mental, and something he calls “energy of purpose”.
Alan recommends that you have written goals. He recommends that you include the non financial aspects of retirement in these goals.
Mr. Spector says that if you write something down you are five times more likely to get it done. Your written goals should include all of the ten elements of retirement into your life.
In addition to working with individuals, he and his partner work with financial planning firms to help them understand the non-financial parts of retirement. Let’s hope he starts a movement with us.