Archive for the ‘Animals’ Category

Our 15-Year-Old Cat Taught Me Something about Grief

Saturday, October 25th, 2014

cats sleeping together_grief_lessonsBy Judy Brizendine

Max and Molly were inseparable. They spent their entire lives together – until Molly became sick with an incurable form of cancer. Soon afterward we had to put her to sleep. Then Max was alone, without his sister, for the first time.  And surprisingly, Max our cat taught me something about grief.


What Happens When Life Throws You a Curve Ball — and What Does Grief Look Like?

Friday, November 1st, 2013

lone chair on the beach, blue sky, plants in sandOver the past year, I’ve connected with a special woman and devoted mother I’ve grown to respect and admire. We met initially when I appeared on a radio show she co-hosts – and then again when she invited me to appear on another show to help people understand what grief looks like. Last week she sent me an article she wrote and asked me if I had seen it. I hadn’t – yet I’m so glad she shared it with me.

This article is the first guest post I’ve included on my blog. When I read it, I knew it belonged here!


Which Best Describes Your Approach to Grief — a Cheetah, a Turtle, or an Ant?

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

closeup of cheetah, your approach to grief, do you run

Stop for a minute and think about your approach to grief. Do you face it like a cheetah, a turtle, or an ant?


Stick Up for Hopefulness, Especially During Grief

Thursday, December 13th, 2012

Whimsically painted Adirondack chairs_primary colors_hopefulnessIs hopefulness worth sticking up for?

This time of year should be joyful, hopeful, exciting, and filled with anticipation. But when you’re grieving, the holidays often produce feelings of dread instead of happy expectation. If you’re grieving, what are you supposed to do? Are you doomed to an anxiety-ridden season?


Snugly Bundles of Love Bring Life to Grief

Wednesday, June 1st, 2011
Photo of Max the cat in the dryer

Max in the dryer

I’d like you to meet this little guy—well, actually he’s not so little! His name is Max, and he’s around fifteen pounds of pure love and limitless curiosity. He’s like a toddler on the move, poking his head (and his paws) into, behind, and underneath anything that looks interesting or new. This photo captured him sneaking into the dryer just as we started loading it with clothes! We never know where we’ll find Max next. When discovered, he always looks at us as if to say, “What?”

My daughter presented Max and his little sister Molly to me a while after my husband died. I wasn’t used to an empty, silent house. All life seemed to have gone away. Explaining what these two little critters brought back into my life and home is hard to put into words. Energy. Delight. Playfulness. Warmth. Anticipation. Love.

Picture of the cat named Meadow


My experience is not unique. The same was true for my mom, brother, mother-in-law, and countless others after the loss of a loved one. None of them thought they wanted a pet. In fact, they were pretty sure they didn’t! But the people around them were persuasive! Each soon discovered a secret that pet owners have known for years. Pets have a curious way of melting your heart. Somehow, before you even know what’s happened, they’ve wiggled their way into your life and set up shop!

The emotional benefit of pets, especially during difficult times (such as grief or loss), is underestimated. See the related article in the L.A. Times.

Consider finding your own Max and Molly! Or Sammy, Josie, Abby, Jackson, Meadow, Maggie, or KC—each one has a unique, endearing personality; each has quirky little habits; and every single one has stolen the heart of its owner.

Most likely you have stories of your own to tell, too!

© 2011 Judy Brizendine