I love sharing musings from colleagues,

and those who too “found their silver lining” in a less-than stellar experience. Emily’s story and her silver lining just touched my heart, and I couldn’t wait to share her words with you… Here you are:

There’s an old adage that says, “Good things come of bad,” and while I’m hard pressed to embrace the notion that everything happens for a reason, on closer inspection, important discoveries do tend to result from life’s biggest challenges. Some happen spontaneously and others take sustained effort.

Consider where we are at this very moment. With this pandemic disrupting virtually every aspect of daily life, we’re already seeing remarkable positive trends taking hold, from record numbers of shelter animals being fostered and adopted, to school groups making and distributing hand-made masks, restaurants pivoting to respond to food insecurity, and international teams collaborating on developing a vaccine. We are collectively finding silver linings in the midst of this terrible storm.

When facing a difficult life experience, I’ve come to recognize that I’m also being presented with an opportunity to learn deeper lessons, and in fact, a chance to change the world for the better. Of course, we seldom invite adversity just to gain wisdom, but the intersection of love and grief is rich with extraordinary possibilities.

I was recently introduced to RemembeRing, a new mourning tradition born originally of another devastating virus — HIV. Emily Piccirillo, founder and CPL (Chief Pet Lover), came up with this innovative idea while working as an art therapist and grief counselor in the AIDS community during the height of that crisis. Her clinical responsibilities included preparing and accompanying children to family funerals. When one little girl was especially distraught and clearly needed an active way to participate in the service, Emily came up with this intervention on the fly and its therapeutic value was immediately evident.

Furthermore, during counseling sessions with adults, Emily was struck by the depth of raw, disenfranchised grief that many clients still held due to unacknowledged pet loss during childhood. They often expressed significantly greater grief and suffering related to those 4-footed loved ones than for their two-footed family members who were actively dying. Emily knew then that society’s lack of shared pet loss rituals is a profound barrier to healing, and that RemembeRings can help ease this heartache.

This customizable resource is specially designed for both “holding on and letting go.” The dual nature of this invention is so unique that it earned a patent. Each comes as a “tribute kit” and includes everything needed, aside from something to write or draw with, scissors, and a photo and/or other memento of your furry friend. A RemembeRing is simple to create — you separate the center token from the outer ring, transform the outer ring into a frame for a favorite photo and/or memento (the part for holding on), and the back of the center token is blank for writing a farewell message to your pet (the part for letting go). The token can be cremated or buried with the deceased, or kept in a special place of the bereaved’s choosing.

To experience pet loss during this pandemic is doubly excruciating, as the bereaved are physically isolated with their grief while also having to go through it without the very friend they’d usually count on for solace.

RemembeRing is a DIY resource that suits all faiths, origins, and ages (3+ years), and because the 4 designs feature a paw print, they are best for cat and dog lovers. The modest $12.95 price point can allow each member of the family to make their own. A ProPack of 20 (5 of each of the 4 designs) is available for $180 for professionals who participate in end-of-life care. It is also a meaningful gift and a touching way to show how much you care, like giving a hug. You can select from the designs here: https://remembering.pet/collections/rememberings, and the website also includes relevant guidance, resources, links and blogs.

I invite you to check out this silver lining that delivers a very welcome ray of sunshine!