Grieving the loss of a pet

Grieving the loss of a pet

Friends and family often try to make us feel better about the loss of a pet with advice that may hurt us rather than help us.

When we are grieving the loss of a pet, people automatically try to make us feel better. “Let go. Move on. Seek Closure. You gave him a good life, and you can get always get another pet.”

These are well-intentioned bits of advice we give to ourselves and others when we have lost a deeply loved animal companion to death. But it’s unhelpful advice and at its worst, it can even be harmful.

Is letting go what we need?

Why should we let go when letting go can actually prevent healing? And why should we seek closure? Who wants to close the door on the love we feel and long for? Why would we want to let go of the ones we’ve lost? In fact, why close any door to love and remembering? When that door closes, our healing and growth stop.

Get on with life? No. Move forward? Absolutely.

Grieving the loss of a pet

Allowing ourselves to feel profound grief from any loss is the only healthy way to get through it. Grief is the process of shifting our relationship with our loved ones from a place anchored in the physical world to one of memory and spirit, always remembering that death does not end the relationship or the love.

This is the time to share stories and recall memories of our beloved pet or companion who has physically gone from our lives.

Moving forward

Moving forward describes forward motion – a movement toward light, love and new meaning in life. Letting go is the opposite. It’s an act of unnatural abandonment, often stultifying and freezing our grieving process which can lead to mental and physical illness.

A new relationship with your pet

Grieving is about drawing close and embracing all that we are to each other. It’s about a new beginning in our lives without the physical presence of our beloved, but it’s also about opening up to a new relationship, now forever in spirit.

This is the time to move toward and through the pain, becoming part of the circle of connection with our past and those we loved and love still.

This is how we heal.

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