Our pets often turn out to be some of our closest companions. We share countless wonderful memories with them, and when we lose a pet, it’s no less heartbreaking than when we lose a family member or friend. If you’re experiencing such a loss, you know that there can be an overwhelming amount of grief. Sometimes it may feel like you’ll never overcome it. Coping with the loss of a pet is undeniably difficult, but with some time, you will come to peace with the loss of your dear friend.
Coping with the Loss of a Pet
Grief is complicated, and no two people will move through the grieving process in exactly the same way. It could take weeks for some and months for others. Some grieve privately, others publicly. Even so, there are a few general tips that can help anyone coping with a loss.
Don’t Ignore Your Feelings
Grief is often a mix of emotions, and what you feel may not always make sense. You could feel angry one day, guilty the next, and just plain sad the day after that. All of these feelings are normal and okay. The important thing is to recognize them. Ignoring your emotions doesn’t make them disappear; it only makes it harder to face them when you can’t avoid them any longer. The sooner you acknowledge how you’re feeling, the sooner you can move through the difficulty.
Know Your Grief Is Valid
Some people may not understand your sorrow if it is not over a person. However, there is no way to rank grief. People often feel the same sting when coping with the loss of a pet as they do when mourning a loved one. If someone in your life is trying to devalue your feelings, it might be best to avoid having conversations with them while you’re grieving. There’s no such thing as “just an animal” when it comes to losing a dearly loved pet.
Lean on Others for Support
That said, loved ones who do understand your grief will be essential while mourning. They can remind you of how wonderful life is even when your pet has moved on. When grieving, don’t ever be afraid to reach out to a friend or relative and ask them for help. Sometimes a simple phone call or visit for lunch can make your whole day go by more easily.
Know What Triggers Your Grief
Certain memories, routines, or experiences may cause feelings of sudden grief. For instance, your regular walk around the neighborhood may remind you of walking your dog, and you might become emotional. Situations like these can be especially painful because they occur suddenly. It’s good to know what these triggers are so you can determine how to best manage them, like taking the same walk with a friend or loved one to help you readjust to the route.
Human or not, grieving someone you’ve lost can be incredibly difficult. But moving on is important for your own health. Take your time grieving in the way that feels right to you, so you can come out enjoying life to the fullest once more.
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