It may seem strange to have a page dedicated to grief. We have experienced loss, of course, as most people do. That’s life. People and animals pass away. Grief exists, but for us has been the alchemy in our lifestyle change and journey of Arner Adventures, therefore, plays an important role.
Since we married, Ger lost his mother, his grandmother, my grandparents, and our furbabies. Living as DINKS, (Double Income No Kids), our furbabies are our children. The loss of the three musketeers (Kiko, Wilson, and Pharrell) were game changers. When we married, Ger had his two kitties: Kiko and Wilson, and I had my pup, Pharrell. We joined our families, so the three had such a special place in our hearts. Pharrell though, was never treated as if he were a pup. He very much thought he was a little boy, frankly, because I treated him like one. Don’t judge. It was wonderful!
A few years into our marriage, we lost our cat, Kiko, which was terrible for Gerry. We were starting to face the reality that our babies weren’t going to be here forever. The thought that we actually had to face our babies’ mortality was a huge threat. Pharrell began to get older, and around 10 years old, we adopted Betty White. Betty was a rescue and we thought she would keep him youthful and wanting to play more, plus we wanted to give another pup the chance at life that our other pets had. Betty White and Pharrell had some rough patches as Betty White had some food and resource hoarding issues (she had starved and been emaciated as a pup) so we worked through that, and it worked. In 2016, we lost our orange tabby, Wilson. It was extremely sad, and Gerry and I began feeling a constant grief: not only because of the grief of what we had experienced, but the anticipatory grief of what was to come. The threat of Pharrell’s age bothered me terribly.
In February 2017, despite him being almost 15, his immediate sickness and inevitable passing was devastating, immobilizing, and life changing for me, for us, for our family.
In the first year after the loss of Pharrell, I struggled with being the social butterfly I once was, and with engaging people who didn’t “get it”. We began the lifestyle transition of decluttering, not just materialistic, but the events, obligations, and stressors in our life. I always say that Pharrell gave me that gift. The light of the grief we have experienced is that we both feel empowered to tell people no.
Another light in the loss of Pharrell, after submitting his obituary to our local newspaper, the story of Pharrell’s life went viral. PupJournal featured our story, and thousands of people started reaching out to us, letting us know that they, too, read about Pharrell’s life, and had either experienced what we had, or now knew that other people “get it”, when it comes to the loss of their furbabies. We now have a network of people around us who have been through this, and understand the level of grief that comes from this loss. That, again, is a gift.
So, grief is very powerful for us. While it is something we work on every single day, it also shines like an open window with the sun beaming inside, letting us know that we need to enjoy life while we have it. For that, we are thankful.