Animal Lovers throughout the world this week are expressing our collective grief for the loss of a beloved kindred spirit, Knut, the Polar Bear. It is fascinating to see the outpouring of grief and the condolence books filled with empathy for our deceased four year old white fluffy Knut. The Huffpost article has a slide show of the condolences. Beyond being an orphaned polar bear cub in a German Zoo that so many watched being raised by his caretaker. Why is so much collective mourning happening? Certainly when you watch all the youtube video’s of knut as a cub , ones’ maternal instincts can show up instantly as well as the joy of seeing another species being so lovingly cared for by us. Another video shows the beauty of Knut playing with his caretaker, illustrating how we can all love and play together,when we let go of labels. What has been touched in our deepest hearts with the loss of Knut that brought out such profound collective mourning?
Who was Knut the polar bear really? As I see with so many animal companions, they can be a reflection of our deepest yearnings to be connected to nature and unconditional love. As more of the global population concentrates in urban centers, we often lose touch with wild animals and nature. Yet, somewhere deep inside, many of us yearn for connection with the wilds of nature.
When we lose a kindred spirit, we often are losing one of the few beings that was showing us true unconditional love. This is often why the grief is so profound. In a world where are hearts become more and more closed as we protect our vulnerability from the incessant onslaught of fear and angst that is presented in the media, our animals offer us a warm, cozy, safe place where we can just open our hearts and receive all the love that they share with us.
Was Knut also a metaphor for our collective yearning to save all polar bears and the polar ice caps? Was Knut a metaphysical reflection of unexpected death and dying of all polar bears and our arctic environments?
The necropsy to see if we can discover the cause of his death is still pending. It will be very interesting to see what the veterinarians find.
The books of condolences, the flowers and sympathies from animal lovers throughout the world are quite touching. His body will be stuffed and preserved in Berlin. Is it possible that we can transform that collective grief of animal lovers into a more positive, constructive memory by donating to causes that help protect endangered wild polar bears and their environment?
When my clients in veterinary practice lose a loved one, after a period of grieving, they will often transform their grief into positive compassionate actions. This allows for the grief to be turned into appreciation and honoring of their kindred spirits life. Some may create a book of photo’s and write down all their favorite moments with their deceased companion, some may plant a tree, a small garden or something that represents a new life beginning on the planet. Some may adopt a abandoned or abused animal from an animal shelter or donate to support a rescue foundation. There are many constructive ways that we can help transform this collective worldwide grief and loss of Knuf into a living memory whereby we all put efforts into protecting endangered polar bears and their environment. What would you do or what have done already in his memory that would bring you joy and be of benefit to all polar bears?
May Knut’s death somehow be of benefit to all the polar bears that are drowning due to the lack of ocean ice and the melting of our ice caps. May his memory live on in efforts to save this endangered species.