It Is Ok To Grieve

I am in the back of the room at our final NLP Practitioner Training here in Newport Beach. “Write a Blog” has been on my to-do list for over a week now. As always I am very transparent, so here it goes: I took a break!


I needed to. I just recently experienced a loss and I personally believe that it is ok to have a grieving process.


About 13 years ago my wife and I added a member to our family: A small dog that we named Brewster. He was a bichon, and he was amazing. He has been a part of our family for as long as Ethan has been alive. My son Ethan was too young to remember us getting him; however, he always remembers him being there.


We have moved more times than I can count (including from Honolulu to Kona), and Brewster has been with us. When he was younger, he would go into the office with us and just hang out. When I would fly back and forth to Kona on a weekly basis, he would fly with me sometimes. People would think I was carrying a fake dog, because he was so mellow.


My mom once said that when you would spend time with him, you knew he was more than a dog. He was one of those pets that were clearly not an animal, and it must have been confusing for him to be such an advanced being in a dog’s body.


There was only one occasion where he showed his teeth and growled at a person. Besides that one time, you were more likely to get licked to death by him.


We were at the airport in Kona, and we were flying back to Honolulu. The TSA agent informed me as I was about to walk through holding him that he would need to pat Brewster down.


I stopped and asked him to explain. And he said there was a new rule where they pat down all animals for possible explosives… Well, Brewster weighed about 12 pounds and we kept his hair very short so he was not hot. He had just received a haircut the day before and you could clearly see 90% of his skin.


I held Brewster up and said, “You can see through his hair, clearly this is not necessary.” He replied, “Sorry sir, rules are rules…”


The TSA agent put on two gloves and said, “Does he bite?” I responded with, “Only people he doesn’t like.” (I admit I was not in the best state.) Well, the guy leaned forward and Brewster looked at him and growled.


I was so proud!


The agent brought a lady over who was clearly a dog lover, explained things to me a bit more clearly, and then spent time talking to Brewster and just gently looking him over.


Brewster jumped back in the bag and took a nap.


The day we were leaving to come to Newport Beach the vet called and said we should take him home because he was so sick, he wouldn’t last a day or two. I had zero hesitation: I walked out of the airport and picked him up. We thought we would have to take him in the next morning to put him to sleep, so we wanted him to have a great time for his last night.


We brought him home and fed him his favorite snack, which was cheese. He ate as much as he could and then stopped.


We went outdoors, and while he couldn’t walk, he could still sniff and enjoy the time. I carried him around and let him enjoy the time outside.


Each of us spent time with him and told him how amazing he is. My 6-year-old daughter told him he has been the best dog ever and that she loves him. Ethan thanked him for being a part of the family, and I think he shared some favorite memories. My wife held him and told him how much she loves him. I thanked him for the lessons he taught me and for being a companion and reminder that no matter how old you are, you can run around and play with toys.


He knew the words, “Good boy.” So I kept telling him that. I wanted him to know.


A few hours later, he died in my arms with Sumi by my side. He did not want to die at the vets; he did not want us to have to make that decision. He went out on his terms after we had done everything we could. And all four of us cried harder than I can remember. Skylar just simply said, “It’s not right, he was my favorite doggy…”


Writing this, I am fighting back the tears, because 100 students are right in front of me.


Oddly enough, today, I helped guide a student through the Mental and Emotional Release® Therapy so she could let go of the guilt and grief of the loss of her mother.


First thing I asked before having her come up was, “Have you grieved enough?” She said yes. You see, there is nothing wrong with negative emotions. Negative emotions are not bad, they just are. If you hold on to them longer than you should, then that can be bad for the body. However, if you are sad, be sad…


I am still grieving and I am 100% ok with it. For 13 years, he has been a family member. When I go home in two days, the house will be so quiet and empty without him. I will feel another level of grief, because I will be back in the environment.


At some point, I will be ready, and I will do Ho`oponopono, or a release technique. For now, I am giving myself the space to feel what I need to feel.


NLP, MER and Huna do not say that negative emotions are bad. If anything, having emotions is good. I am ok with feeling things. When the time is right, I can do release work.


So if you need to take some time for yourself on your path that is ok. Beating yourself up for feeling sad over something that is appropriate is counter-productive to the grieving process. Give yourself the space and communicate with loved ones. Accept the highs and lows, and when you are ready, release will happen on its own.


Thank you for giving me the down time. I may have another blog up this week, or not. However, I will do what is most appropriate for me and for my family.


Here is Brewster’s first day with us and his last day with us. I love you with all my heart Brewster. Thank you for everything!



  1. isabel kengkart says:

    Hi Matt, What an emotional blog and yes it is okay to grief at certain times and this one is one of those. Like you mentioned before he became a member of your family and he loved you and your family so much that he refused to died away from home. My brother and I lost our dogs last year and this is a moment that we never wish on anyone. All I can say is that those who make part of our journey in any way will always cause some type of grief when they move on, it’s almost impossible not to feel sad because in the end we still humans.

  2. Thanks for sharing Matt. All of us trapped in our hectic days and routines benefit from this post and are compelled to read and stop and get in touch with our emotions. You were lucky to have Brewster around -no doubt, but I bet he feels he was the lucky one with you and your family. He must also think too that you guys are advanced beings in your own bodies… and what a great way to go for him. Favorite meal, with his family, in your arms…it is great story and I know I will spend some extra time today with my dog thankful for having him around and making days better. Nice post and a positive reframe on grieving.

  3. I can not begin to tell you how much I appreciate you helping me this past weekend. Dealing with the loss of my mom was hard and the guilt attached to it was even harder. I lived my life by constantly beating myself up about everything. I am very grateful that I had the opportunity to be guided by you on stage. For the first time in a long time, I felt free of guilt and had infinite love flowing out of me. It was an amazing experience and I thank you for this. 🙂

    During the Huna day, I have cut the AKA rope from my fiancee…there was just too much baggage I’ve brought into our relationship and I wanted to clean up the mess and have a deeper loving relationship with him. One of the biggest issue I had was being a backseat driver. I had no trust, belief that he could take me somewhere safely without me opening my mouth or over react. By the time we would get to the office, I would be a nerve rack. I was so paranoid, that I cold not read a book, or play with my phone looking down because I would get car sick. After the Huna, cutting the AKA rope and starting fresh with him I had another amazing experience. I was UNUSUALLY calm, very calm…it was weird. It was like someone else was inside my body. I looked out and saw all the red lights ahead of us and even though I did not feel the car slowing down, I was still calm. On top of this, after playing with my phone for about 15 minutes of drive, I realized I was not having the motion sickness. I ask my fiancee Rodney, “have you noticed that I did not freak out during the ride home? His reply was ” I’ve noticed many changes.”

    I Thank You from the bottom of my heart for giving me the opportunity to meet you and for changing the quality of my life.

  4. Hi Matt,

    Very emotional blog, I was holding my tears as well. Thanks for sharing your experience with us, like you always do! My heart goes out to you and your familiy during this period of grief.

    Your story reminded of the story when my father past away, he also had his favourite food and closed his eyes in bed, his favourite place for resting.

    Take care and enjoy your time!

  5. Hi Matt,

    So sorry to hear about the loss of Brewster. 🙁

    Also, thanks again for this advice: it’s ok to grieve. I remember when you gave me that advice at Huna last year after I was struggling with my friend’s then-recent suicide. I had been trying to force the sadness away with the use of Ho’oponopono and, surprise surprise, it wasn’t working. “It’s ok to grieve” was an important lesson for me. I’m so glad you shared it in a blog!