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A Process of Healing from Loss

Michelle Tinkham: Ofrenda of Remembrance for Animal Companions

Grief Is A Process. Art Is A Process of Healing.

I recently had a participant in my Animal Loss Healing Workshop say, referring to her companion animal loss, “I didn’t think I was ready but now, I think, I’m ready.” She realized she was ready to memorialize and honor her companion animal through a process of healing. That is what my workshop is all about; processing grief/loss through the process of art making.

Jill B: 50 Years of Cats
“50 Years of Cats” – Jill B.

What about other forms of loss that are not those animals we live with on a daily basis? The cruel treatment and conditions of factory farmed animals deeply affect many of us. Habitat loss due to climate change, wild animals seeking food and shelter due to overbuilding deeply affect us. Public display industries such as circuses, zoos, or cetaceans being forced to perform for entertainment deeply affects us.

Michelle Waters: Unhealed Trauma
“Unhealed Trauma” – Michelle Waters

Moral Injury is an injury to one’s moral conscience. There are four types of injury events.  Something you failed to do: Something someone else has done: Something you witnessed: Something you learned. We carry those injuries with us, sometimes every day especially when we have a job to do such as working at an animal shelter or veterinary hospital.

Be your own moral agent. You can choose what is right and wrong for you, even though you may not always be heard.  How can an art workshop with an animal chaplain help one cope with loss? The workshop provides a sacred space. It is a community of compassionate people going through similar things trying to work things out by using the tool of art making and the dialog that follows. It is a place to be heard.

Participate and be heard in a healing art workshop for animal/planet loss. Are you ready?

Cover image: Michelle Tinkham. “Ofrenda of Remembrance for Animal Companions”
The two paintings are representations of my dog, Maggie, and cat, Chloe. The stained glass represents the Rainbow Bridge. The little candles have a photo of each of my babies who have crossed. 
The candles have a lot of symbolism. They are white which represents purification. The candle flames equal light, faith, hope and serve as a guide for our loved ones’ spirits to see their way when visiting.