I can’t help but reflect on how caring and wise my family’s animals are. My wife died a little over two years ago, and I have remained at home with our 4-legged children who are wonderful companions. I find that pets and grieving are a good combination. They are caring and, in my case, they try to fill in as much as possible for my wife.

My wife and I shared a queen-sized bed for many decades. I have kept it just the way it was when she was lying beside me. I have had so many mystical and wonderful experiences in our bedroom with my wife since she died. I’ll find a dime or penny in places they shouldn’t be. And she kisses me goodnight with a puff I hear and a breeze I feel on my face when I get in bed.

Now back to my new girlfriends. Princess and Hope have been with us for many years. So many I can’t keep track. But since Bobbie died, they have started filling in for her with a specific schedule.

Very often before I make the evening meals for our dog and two cats, I put their food out to warm up a bit. Then I lie down for a brief nap. As I go to the bedroom, along comes Princess and she waits for me to get into bed and then jumps up on the bed and waits for me to settle down and get comfortable. Then over she comes and nestles into the space between my legs. It all has a sedating effect upon me; she stays until I get out of bed.

In the evening when I get ready for bed, Hope shows up once the TV and lights are off and she cuddles in the same place as Penny. However, when Princess senses my trying to change positions, she goes to the foot of the bed and sleeps by my feet.

I am writing this to share that they never switch times or places. No matter when my nap, Princess shows up. And at night Hope appears. I know they are doing it to fill in for my wife. Pets and grieving are a good combination.

Read more on Open to Hope by Bernie Siegel: https://www.opentohope.com/we-dont-die-our-bodies-do/

Check out Dr. Siegel’s books at Amazon.com : bernie siegel

Bernie Siegel

Dr. Bernie Siegel, who prefers to be called Bernie, not Dr. Siegel, was born in Brooklyn, NY. He attended Colgate University and Cornell University Medical College. He holds membership in two scholastic honor societies, Phi Beta Kappa and Alpha Omega Alpha and graduated with honors. His surgical training took place at Yale New Haven Hospital, West Haven Veteran’s Hospital and the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. He retired from practice as an assistant clinical professor of surgery at Yale of general and pediatric surgery in 1989 to speak to patients and their caregivers. In 1978 he originated Exceptional Cancer Patients, a specific form of individual and group therapy utilizing patients’ drawings, dreams, images and feelings. ECaP is based on “carefrontation,” a safe, loving therapeutic confrontation, which facilitates personal lifestyle changes, personal empowerment and healing of the individual’s life. The physical, spiritual and psychological benefits which followed led to his desire to make everyone aware of his or her healing potential. He realized exceptional behavior is what we are all capable of. Bernie, and his wife and coworker Bobbie, live in a suburb of New Haven, Connecticut. They have five children and eight grandchildren. Bernie and Bobbie have co-authored their children, books and articles. Their home with its many children, pets and interests resembled a cross between a family art gallery, museum, zoo and automobile repair shop. It still resembles these things, although the children are trying to improve its appearance in order to avoid embarrassment. In 1986 his first book, Love. Medicine & Miracles was published. This event redirected his life. In 1989 Peace, Love & Healing and in 1993 How To Live Between Office Visits followed. He is currently working on other books with the goal of humanizing medical education and medical care, as well as, empowering patients and teaching survival behavior to enhance immune system competency. Bernie’s realization that we all need help dealing with the difficulties of life, not just the physical ones, led to Bernie writing his fourth book in 1998 Prescriptions for Living. It helps people to become aware of the eternal truths and wisdom of the sages through Bernie’s stories and insights rather than wait a personal disaster. He wants to help people fix their lives before they are broken, and thus not have to become strong at the broken places. Published in 2003 are Help Me To Heal to empower patients and their caregivers and 365 Prescriptions For The Soul, in 2004 a children’s book about how difficulties can become blessings, Smudge Bunny, in 2005 101 Exercises For The Soul and out in the Fall of 2006 a prescriptions for parenting book Love, Magic & Mud Pies. Published in 2008 Buddy’s Candle, for children of all ages, related to dealing with the loss of a loved one, be it a pet or parent, and to be published in 2009 Faith, Hope & Healing with survivor stories and my reflections about what they teach us. Woody Allen once said, “If I had one wish it would be to be somebody else.” Bernie’s wish was to be a few inches taller. His work has been such a growth experience that he is now a few inches taller. His prediction is that in the next decade the role of consciousness, spirituality, non-local healing, body memory, and heart energy will all be explored as scientific subjects. For many, Bernie needs no introduction. He has touched many lives all over our planet. In 1978 he began talking about patient empowerment and the choice to live fully and die in peace. As a physician, who has cared for and counseled innumerable people whose mortality has been threatened by an illness, Bernie embraces a philosophy of living and dying that stands at the forefront of the medical ethics and spiritual issues our society grapples with today. He continues to assist in the breaking of new ground in the field of healing and personally struggling to live the message of kindness and love. Dr. Siegel appeared on the radio show “Healing the Grieving Heart” with Dr. Gloria & Dr. Heidi Horsley to discuss Finding Thanksgiving After Loss.

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