The Ball and The Box
(A wonderful way to explain the pain of grief - as told to Lauren Herschel by her Doctor)
Written by Kirstey A Lee LSBP www.petbereavementmatters.co.uk
Imagine your life is a box and the grief you feel is a ball inside of the box. Also, inside the box is a pain button. In the beginning, when the loss is so fresh and new, the grief that many people feel is overwhelming and large. It is so large, in fact, that every time you move the box — moving through your everyday life — the grief ball cannot help but hit the pain button: The ball rattles around the box at random, hitting the pain button every time. This is how many people initially experience loss.
You cannot control it and you cannot stop it.
The pain just keeps coming regularly, no matter what you do or how much others try to comfort you. The pain a person experiences may feel unrelenting and never-ending. Over time, however, the ball starts to shrink on its own: You still go through life and the grief ball still rattles around inside the box. But because the ball has got smaller, it hits the pain button a little less often. You almost feel you can go through most days without even having the pain button hit. But when it does hit, it can be completely random and unexpected. Like when you are staring at a person’s name in your friend’s list or watching a favourite video or TV show. The pain button still delivers the same amount of pain no matter how large or small the ball is.
As time passes, the ball continues to shrink and with it, our grief for the loss experienced. Most people never forget the loss they experienced.
But over time, the ball becomes so small that it rarely hits the pain button. When it does, it is still as painful and hard to understand as it was the very first time, we felt it. But the frequency of the hits has decreased significantly. This gives a person more time in-between each hit, time used to recover and feel “normal” again.
Time also allows our hearts to heal and to begin to remember our pet as they were in life. Grief is never experienced the same way for any two people. But it helps to know that grief impacts most of us in a way where the pain is intense at the beginning, but the frequency (if not the intensity) of the pain lessens over time. Most of us walk through life, carrying our own box with a ball of grief inside. Remember that the next time you see someone, as they may be struggling with their own ball in the box.
Whichever way you look at it, pet loss is traumatic, and most of us struggle. It can take weeks, months, or many years to feel lighter and to find balance. To lose a close, animal companion feels like we have lost a part of who we are and what our life is about, it changes everything, physically, emotionally, cognitively, socially, and spiritually, and it can challenge our beliefs too.
The Author Kirstey Lee is a professional Pet Bereavement Support Counsellor and a Licentiate of the Society of Bereavement Practitioners, which acknowledges existing expertise, training, and achievements. Kirstey lives in Cardiff, sunny Wales in the UK with her partner Carl and their two dogs a Staffordshire Bull Terrier and a Jack Russel Terrier - Shilo and Monty. It’s the JRT (Monty) that wears the trousers; he is so cheeky and always makes her smile with all his antics. Shilo, on the other hand is quieter, more laid back and a sensitive soul, who likes his own space.
Kirstey’s counselling sessions can be carried out via Zoom, email, phone call or texts. You can get in touch with her below: -
Or take a look at her new book -