Saying good-bye

“Grief is like the ocean, it comes in waves, ebbing and flowing. Sometimes the water is calm, and sometimes it is overwhelming. All we can do is learn to swim.” ~ Vicki Harrison

Saying goodbye to a pet is never easy.

“Pets are considered friends, family members and companions. The bond between a person and their pet is a special one. The loss of a family pet may result in a variety of emotions: denial, guilt, anger, sadness, shock, or pain.”

People will respond differently to the loss of a pet. These range of emotions will not be the same or at the same time, for all members of the family as each person shared a different bond with the animal. Healing is a journey and you may need the help of a trained mental health professional for additional support.

It is normal and healthy to feel the loss of a companion who was so much a part of our everyday lives. It is not unusual to go over in your mind the last moments you shared with your pet. The experience of losing a pet may be different from other types of loss as there may still be a belief that it is not a ‘valid’ reason to greive, that it is somehow ‘silly’ to mourn the death of a pet. So you may find that support may not be offered so readily. Your grief is valid.

Unfortunately, there is no quick fix or cure for grief. You may feel exhausted and experience changes in your sleeping and eating patterns. You may feel isolated and lonely and important things now seem trivial. Your head is foggy and the world seems to go on around you. These feelings are a normal part of the process. There is no timetable to follow but rather ups and downs.

“The purpose of healthy grieving is not to “get over” the death of a loved one, but to integrate the experience of loss into present life in a functional and healthy way. The hope is, as time goes on, the feelings of sadness will become less difficult, not that you will never miss or forget your pet. Initially, you may be sad to think or talk about your loss. Eventually, the hope is that you will be able to reminisce and even smile or laugh with good memories.”

Information from The Ohio State Veterinary Medical Center, Honoring the Bond, Coping with the Loss

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