What to Do When Grieving for a Pet

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    Death visits us in many ways throughout life. Sometimes, it announces an important life change or an internal change that we must integrate as if it were the loss of a loved one, elaborating our grief.

    At other times it comes through the end of the life of a loved one. And that loved one can be a person or a pet. It is still difficult for us to talk about death; it is still a taboo even though it is a universal fact.

    And when it comes to the death of a pet, many people save their pain and sadness for the misunderstanding that may exist in their environment.

    After all, love is love…

    So it is… Love is love. It does not matter to whom it is directed. When we want, we long for the loved ones, we need to mourn the loss of what we lack.

    Pets are another member of the family, so it is necessary to mourn the loss. Many people feel that it is not okay to feel sad that their pet has died. And I think it’s the most natural thing in the world.

    Because our pet becomes a source of joy and concern, care and routines like those we can have with anyone. That is why we long for their presence when they are gone.

    It is important to say goodbye to our pet, either in his presence or when he is no longer there. This farewell helps us close the emotional wound and although it is not something quick, it is necessary. Carrying out a ritual is also very useful, that’s why there are pet cemeteries, because human beings need to pay tribute to those who leave our lives.

    Therefore, if you have lost your pet, remember that crying is normal, that longing for him is fine and that your pain is just as valid as the pain for the loss of a human being.

    Tips for dealing with a pet’s grief

    Many patients often tell me that, almost with a sense of fear, they long for their deceased pet. Accustomed to misunderstanding, they feel that something strange is happening to them because they feel this way. And I always tell them that it is normal, that they should not hide their pain, much less with me.

    In fact, you mourn to normalize your feelings and integrate your pet inside. Some common feelings and symptoms are:

    • Experience sadness and emotional pain.

    • Miss the pet on a day-to-day basis.

    • Common grieving steps are: denial, anger, pact, sadness, and acceptance.

    • Wait for your pet to enter your room.

    • You can get to hear their usual footsteps or sounds.

    • Having difficulty concentrating because of your emotional pain.

    • You can dream of your pet.

    • Feel deep sadness when you see photos or videos of him.

    All these things are natural. Because you are integrating the loss of your pet and it is an emotional process. The objective of grief is not to forget your pet, but to live without feeling that excruciating pain in your heart for the loss of it.

    Some things you can do to work out your loss are:

    Say goodbye- It can be a physical goodbye to your pet, or it can be an internal goodbye. The key is to feel the loss in all its magnitude. It is preferable to be sad when this happens, than to have the pain appear months or years later.

    Cry- Crying is natural, if it were not our body would have developed another way of expressing sadness. Tears are healing, allow them to come out of you and heal your wounds.

    Remember- When a loved one leaves, it is good to remember them. Maybe you can remember some funny situation that is engraved in your memory, maybe looking at pictures will help you. At first it will be hard, if you feel that it is too much for you when the loss is recent, wait a few months. But don’t forget to remember your pet.

    Talk- It is important that you can express your pain, so look for trustworthy people who have gone through a process similar to yours or a person who listens and welcomes you, respecting your emotional times and your emotions.

    Write- In my experience, writing is a good way to put our emotional world in order, it helps us free ourselves from a lot of suffering and it can become a farewell ritual. That is why I recommend you write what you feel and you can even write a letter to your pet to say goodbye to her.

    To conclude, you must understand that the loss of your pet is natural, as it is feeling pain and working out your grief.


    Resonance Costa Rica

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