It’s been 10 years since actress Reagan Pasternak’s beloved dog, Griffin, died, and since then, though life has been very busy with her career, marrying, and becoming a mother, she has missed the pet she calls a “soul mate.”
To help with her grieving, Pasternak, who starred in Netflix/HULU/HBO’s “Being Erica,” HBO’s “Sharp Objects,” Syfy's “Wynonna Earp” and BET’s “Ms. Pat,” began journaling her feelings, incorporating not only the pain she was feeling but also tools and techniques for processing her grief. It took a decade, but now Pasternak’s book, “Griffin’s Heart: Mourning Your Pet With No Apologies” (Creative Align Press, $27.99) is available through Amazon.
Pasternak, in a phone call from her home in California, described the book as an interactive memoir, keepsake and healing journal that she hopes will provide guidance for others who have lost a pet.
“I feel that animals get so forgotten after giving us so much love,” she said. “I wanted to honor them.”
Pasternak doesn’t consider herself a writer but says she felt compelled to write about all that she has learned while going through her own stages of grief. That includes reading about the brain and how it processes emotions and information, exploring different ways to heal, such as music therapy, and taking up meditation to help with anxiety. Doing so helped with the loss of her other pets as well, including another dog who just recently passed away.
“Everything began accumulating in my psyche, and one morning my husband said that I needed to finish the book,” she said. “I had started it, put it aside, had a baby, was acting — so I was busy. Every morning when I started writing the book, I’d ask myself to whom am I writing. I wanted readers to have something, so they knew they weren’t alone and to know they could get through. Then it just all came together in a cosmic way. I met an editor who thought it was a great idea and we started working together.”
The book contains exercises, chances to journal, and is a repository for readers to enter their own memories, melding their losses into what Pasternak sees as a keepsake.
Since the book was published, Pasternak has been receiving notes from readers who share their own stories of losing a pet.
“My husband and I read them and cry,” she said. “It’s so touching that these strangers are reaching out. I keep getting photos from people showing how they have placed the book next to the urn containing their pet’s ashes.”
This outreach has inspired Pasternak to stay focused on the book and the stories people share. “I just believe I’m helping change the culture of grief,” she said.
For more information, visit www.griffinsheart.com.