Grief Following Death of a Family Pet
With the intense compassion we share with our four-legged companions, it is natural to feel the excruciating sting of separation when the dreaded day finally arrives. The agony of losing your beloved pet to death can be overwhelming, and there is little anyone can do or say that makes you feel better. However, there are some ways of providing your pent-up grief a healthy release and finally, embrace the reality of life after the death of a pet.
Coping strategies to help with loss of a pet
Take your time
More often than not, we are unable to make others around us understand the honest truth about how actively we might be grieving the loss of a pet. The fact is that you do not have to. You understand your grief best, and no one can tell you when to ‘get over it’ or ‘move on.’ Allow yourself to shed as many tears as you feel like without feeling embarrassed. Grieve as long as you need to, and let go only when you are prepared to do so.
Connect with others like you
Grief can make you drown you in a terrible sense of isolation. As such, you may want to connect with other people who may also be grieving the loss of a pet. There are plenty of message boards, forums, and pet loss support groups online that you can log into and find the much-needed empathy that is hard to get from people who do not fully understand the ‘big deal’ about losing a pet.
Reflect upon the good times
Try to find peace in the countless great memories you shared with your beloved animal companion through his or her lifetime. Reflecting on the good memories will help transform your pain into a sense of gratitude for the beautiful time you got to share with your pet. Focusing on the positives will also allow you to accept the sad reality and let go of the grief gradually and naturally.
Take care of yourself
While the death of a pet can leave you devoid of all the energy or enthusiasm to go on, it is important to get a grip on your emotions and look after your physical as well as emotional health. Eat well-balanced meals. Exercise. Take some time off to indulge in a calming activity such as meditation to elevate your mood and restore your inner peace.
Remember, grief is a normal part of life. The only way of emerging from it and getting your life back on track is embracing the situation and letting the sorrow gradually fade away of its own accord.
Need more help?
The therapists at Agor Behavioral Health Services are available to assist our clients with issues related to grief and loss. Contact us today for more information or to schedule an appointment by calling 630-621-5824.