to Enrich Our Souls & Life on Earth
by Teresa Wagner
Like many people, it comforts me to have certain things around me to memorialize my beloved animals who have died: framed photos, photo albums, portraits, memorial candles, urns, grave markers, jewelry with their paw prints or name, scrapbooks or memorial boxes filled with treasured mementos, holding memorial services, sharing stories about my animal, etc. There are, of course, countless, meaningful ways to memorialize a loved one which can bring us comfort and honor our animal. However, nothing is a higher tribute to a loved one who has died than to identify, acknowledge and use the legacies they left behind, the legacies that live on in our hearts.
I don’t think I’ve ever talked with a person who’s lost their animal who wouldn’t say that the number one legacy from their animal is love. When we think of the legacies of love our animals gave us, it can be healing to reflect on: How that love was expressed or manifested? How was it unique? How was it shared? What did we learn from it, and how can we integrate and apply that learning into the fabric of our lives? Memorializing is comforting, and mourning is normal and necessary. But memorializing is not the same as investing the legacies we’ve been left so they can grow. If we inherit a million dollars and stash it under our mattress it will not grow. But if we invest it in good works it will grow in ways that may continue to enrich us and others forever.
When my cat Muffin died many years ago I was utterly lost in the pain of it. In time, however, when I realized that the legacy left to me was the unconditional love he showered me with, which was my first experience of unconditional love, I knew I had a choice: to be in pain from this huge loss the rest of my life, or, to learn to give myself what he gave me. That is often what keeps us so painfully stuck in our grief--thinking that we can’t possibly keep the emotional and energetic gifts we received from our animals after they’ve died. We can. When I finally realized that it was time for me to learn to give myself what Muffin had given me, I began my journey to learn to love myself. I learned that without him loving me to the depths that he did, I never would have learned that I was lovable. And what a waste it would have been to wallow the rest of my life about the loss of him giving me that love in person, rather than learning how to love myself even as I grieved his physical presence. This did not make my grief go away. I grieved for him for a very, very long time. But it did fill me with a great sense of hope and fulfillment--that I was using what he gave me to grow.
A year ago, I experienced another unexpected opportunity to identify and use a legacy left to me. On one of my whale swim trips we came across a month old humpback calf who was tortuously entangled in fishing gear--float line embedded deeply into his flesh and through his mouth, and trailing 150 feet of line and two huge fishing traps. For four hours a captain than a dive master valiantly tried to free him of this but was only able to cut off the trailing lines and the traps. This weak calf, whom we call Little One, died ten days later.
Witnessing this, both physically and in my ongoing conversations with Little One and his deeply grieving mother over time, rocked me to my core. I knew that I could no longer simply enjoy the spiritual high of being with these beloved humpbacks. I needed now to speak out for them about how supporting commercial fishing--i.e. eating any type of fish--not only litters the oceans but causes the slow, tortuous death of whales, dolphins and other marine animals. This little whale left me the legacy that loving in good times is not enough, that when I love, I need to be willing to speak up on behalf of those I love, whether speaking the truth is popular or not. I have found that it was a lot easier to just love the whales and let the activism to others. But I cannot not speak the truth after what I witnessed. This is Little One’s legacy to me.
The choices I have made to use the legacies left to me are merely my personal examples. They may or may not be choices others would make. The point is to discover and cherish the unique legacies left us, and to use them for the betterment of ourselves and the world around us. What better way could we honor the animals who have brought us so much love than to invest their legacies?
Ask yourself these questions, defining ‘legacies’ as:
Gifts we’ve received from an animal, things we’ve learned about ourselves, about relationships, about life, about death, about our beliefs, about who we are, about who we want to be:
- What legacies have you received from the life you shared with your animal?
- What legacies, if any, did you receive even from the experience of the loss itself?
- What legacy have you received from the death of any wild animal?
- How can you use these to enrich your soul and your life on earth?
To further explore these issues you may want to:
Participate in the 8 hour teleclass workshop Legacies of Love:
Listen to a download of the audio book Legacies of Love:
Read through the web pages on Comfort and Support in Your Time of Grief:
When an Animal Is Returning, What Do the Clues Really Mean?
Please respond to these questions ONLY if you are professional Animal Communicator.
Please give your name and website.
I've been a member of your animal communicator forum since it started and am especially interested in animal reincarnation topics. I think it is a subject that most people are unaware that it is a possibility and although I've been studying it myself, it might be an idea to have another communicator talk on this subject again.
I was wondering if you could possibly answer a couple of questions for me because you say that you are able to communicate with pet spirits and find out when they are returning or if they are returning back to their people.
From what I gather, if they decide to return there are "clues" that are given as to where and when and what they might look like when they do.
- I was wondering, once these clues are given are they "written in stone" or can they change?
- What happens when four out of the five clues come to pass in one day but there is a stumbling block with the fifth clue?
- Recognizing the reincarnated pet [is a problem] because the person is presented with three identical kittens, all the same sex, and try as they might to have some kind of recognition - the reincarnated pet could be one of them - all three act exactly the same and the person is prevented from placing the kittens on the floor to see if one runs up to the person because of "germs". It becomes a matter of getting all three or none. What is this indicating?
I think this must happen to other people and what is the message? That if it's not five out of five clues for whatever reason, four out of five clues means it's not the per reincarnated because of the obstacles.?
And what happens when there's a time-frame? It's to happen in such a such a month? It's two days to the end of the month and a person is faced with three identical kittens with the same colouring, etc., and everything else matches up except it was impossible to pick. What does one do?
As I said, this must happen to other people. I've tried to read up on what this is supposed to mean but I can't find any information as to what exactly this is indicating. If a person does not pick one of the kittens during the time-frame, then it would no longer be the month in which the pet said they would come back so it would drop to three out of five clues if they delayed- it would no longer be the month and there would be the obstacle in trying to determine if it is actually the pet.
Not only that there are no pictures of these kittens, they are at an animal shelter who says they will take pictures in a couple of days, I can't take pictures, and even if pictures were presented to an AC, the kittens are so identical there would be no way of determining which of the three the AC was actually indicating was the reincarnated pet?
Even the staff had difficulty and picked up the same kitten twice and then didn't know if they picked it up the third time and neither did I. It’s not supposed to be this difficult is it? As I said, this must happen to other people. What does it mean when it does?
It would be great if there was a forum where questions like this could be answered with people who are trying to have their pets reincarnate back to them and run into similar situations.