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I may not be able to tell you.

Sometimes we have to talk about it a lot. Sometimes we can't really talk about it (yet). When our heart aches, we aren't always sure what we need or want. I think sometimes we try to protect ourselves by bottling things up.

This August we lost the most dog like cat I have ever loved. We lost the last connection in our family to our early years. We said good-bye to an extra-toed cat who stole the hearts of many, including non-cat lovers.

And I really struggled.

It has been many months now and there is much less anger, sadness, blame, guilt and there is more acceptance, love, missing and yes, still sadness, but lighter sadness. Is that an understandable description? Lighter sadness.

I walked through those last few days watching him as a sick old kitty and struggled with what to do and blamed myself for not doing better. We knew, though, ultimately, what to do to help him and he had a gentle, dignified, quiet death with love all around. And just like that, he was gone. Then I had to put my grief somewhere so that I could be OK enough for the rest of life.

Recently, I sat again with a small group of brave, loving people who shared their ongoing love and loss with each other and I was reminded of the basic nature of this beast called life. How lucky we are to know such vast love but then also having to know the depth of such loss and to acknowledge how real the weight we carry is.

You can't (really?) carry a card that says "I'm Ok" or "Please don't ask". We really can't ever truly know what someone else is going through but we can always share empathy. It isn't always easy to know how to grieve or how to be around someone who is grieving. We just have to be, whatever that looks like.

Here's to once again coming up and out in to the sunshine. A bit lighter, forever changed and all the better for the love and loss.

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