Spring may be all about new beginnings, but as the trees began budding, and the first brave wildflowers of an early spring bloomed, on that last hot March day, I was faced with an ending.
My beloved French bulldog, Louis, suddenly succumbed to a large ruptured tumor we didn’t even know he had. One minute he was his normal demanding self, and the next… And even though the loss of an aging loved one is never totally unexpected, it is painful all the same, regardless of the physical form they take in life.
To say this sudden turn of events threw me for a loop would be an understatement.
I felt like I was in shock. My mind didn’t have any time to process the vet’s words before having to make the painful decision to end his suffering. It was the one final act of unselfish love I could do for him. Actually, it was more like the entire experience was happening to me and through me, as if I were caught in some cosmic play, rather than something I had any control over. My husband was literally in the air flying home from Arizona as this was unfolding. Lou and I waited until he got home, and then together my husband and I said goodbye to our companion of 12 years.
For the first few days after losing Lou my brain felt numb. When I tried to make any decision at all it felt like I was putting my foot on the gas of a car in neutral. Nothing would happen except the resistant pressure of an unresponding brain.
One big mistake I made was to fall into a familiar pattern of asking for inner guidance and then not following it. I knew I had to give myself space to process my feelings and wrap my brain around the unfolding of events. It was clear that I needed to take the next two days off from work to come out of shock and give myself time to grieve and heal.
Unfortunately, in my lack of ability to truly think clearly I let myself listen to my husband’s suggestion to go to work instead of staying home moping. That was the worst decision I could have made. I added to my dis-stress by not honoring my needs or listening to my clear inner guidance.
The Disease Process and Meta-medicine
One thought and concern I had during this time was that this stressful event was for me a UDIN moment.
According to the theory of meta-medicine (which has its roots in German New Medicine), a UDIN moment is a stress event that is unexpected, dramatic and isolating. You have no strategy or control over it.
I confess to having limited understanding of meta-medicine, but to the best of my understanding, here are the basics.
At first, these shocks (or UDIN moments) are picked up by the heart. This can change how we interact with other people and things in our world.
Shock also affects the body and brain. When a UDIN moment happens, it literally gets trapped inside an energy ball. This ball gets trapped in a specific location within the brain and the accompanying emotion lodges in a corresponding organ.
Practically every disease is caused by this type of emotional stressful event. Chronic disease is a process caused by repeated stress followed by rest. The slightest reminder triggers it again and again unless and until you do something to heal it.
During the stress phase, your body is trying to solve the problem. In this ‘cold’ phase, you may experience high blood pressure, constipation, insomnia, feeling cold and weight loss.
The rest phase is accompanied by a healing crisis. Don’t rush to circumvent this phase or suppress your symptoms (of course, if you need medical attention, do get it) During the rest phase you may feel very tired or experience headaches, cramps, diarrhea or fever. Your body warms up and repairs.
This happened to me after the long illness and death of my dog Duke. During those months I was stressed out and exhausted. A week after he died I got ‘the flu’.
As odd as it sounds, a heart attack can also occur in the rest phase.
Grieving and Healing
Somehow through the blur of brain fog and grief, I had the presence of mind to consider the impact of what I was experiencing on my long-term health and well-being.
On Friday I did stay home and by Monday was in a much better space. During this time, and the week that followed, I had to give myself permission to let go of ‘shoulds’. I limited my responsibilities to the essentials and what I felt up to. It was an exercise in listening to my mind and body and honoring them.
Another choice I made was not to fall into another old pattern of isolating myself emotionally. I chose to share my emotional vulnerability and get support from others. I found a way to cope by choosing to accept that although Lou was gone in physical form, he was still with me in spirit and energetic essence. I allowed the waves of emotion to move through me instead of judging them and trying to stop them. I breathed deeply, checked in with my heart often, and did a little tapping.
The bottom line was that I could not control what happened to Lou, but I could influence my response and my experience of it. While continuing to honor those moments of missing him and the tears that still flow, I chose to forego another old pattern of letting my life revolve around my loss. I would not want that for my loved ones and I know they would not want that for me. I choose to face loss as all the more reason to make something of the time I have left here and to make my life matter.
I believe these pattern shifts and choices made it possible for me to avoid falling prey to the potential damage of a UDIN moment. Instead of letting this experience close my heart, as my past patterns would have dictated, I allowed it to bring healing on some level and open my heart more. And in that is healing.