Healing From The Loss of a Pet – Why Is It So Hard?
My pet has died. Why does it hurt so much?
The love from a pet is deeply unique. Trying to explain this in the right words is something only a fellow pet lover would understand. My pets have always been my best friends and when they died, my heart would break into a million pieces. I’ve had many conversations with others who have told me that they feel the only downfall of loving a pet is that their life span is not the same as a human’s. And each time they say this to me, I nod my head in agreement.
More times than not, we will invite a pet into our lives AND also experience having to say goodbye to them as well. As with all life, death is a part of it and is inevitable. We cannot get away from that and it is one of the rules of life and one we must live by.
When it comes to healing from the death of a pet, most times we tend to downplay what we are feeling and often keep the mourning to ourselves. For some reason, the majority of society isn’t ready yet to fully accept the impact animals share in our lives but in time, it is becoming more acceptable.
Grieving Takes Time: At the workplace, usual standards dictate an allowance of 3 days bereavement leave upon the death of an immediate family member. After the 3 days have passed, we are expected to return to work and continue as normal. The grieving process takes much longer than 3 days and we have become accustomed by societal standards to move on quickly. Are we truly ready to come back after 3 days?
When healing, I invite you to be patient with yourself and remember that this will take time.
The Emotional Attachment: Your pet was a loving companion and an important part of your life. There is an emotional attachment that is involved and when that attachment becomes broken, you feel the loss and sadness. This is exactly the same as with a human. In fact, there is no difference in the emotional attachment from an animal or human. Loss is loss no matter how you look at it and with it; the grieving process remains the same.
Because you received unconditional love from your pet, it can be sometimes more painful since our pets are so innocent and loving. They ask for nothing in return and we care for them their whole lives. Sometimes with human relationships, we don’t find the same level of unconditional love and that is why the grief and loss of a pet can be so strong.
Recognition: Taking the first step in recognition; recognizing that you are in fact grieving is the very first step in your journey of healing. Realizing that emotions and healing go hand in hand with each other helps to accept that this is normal. In doing this, you also begin to recognize that you are not alone. Others have experienced this before you and more will experience this after.
Are you ready to take this step and recognize that it’s okay to grieve? If so, I’d like to congratulate you. You have now taken the first step forward onto your true healing journey.
Until next time, be good to yourself and remember to honour the feelings within. It’s what our pets would want us to do!