Grieving a pet hits us so hard because it feels like a part of us has died right along with them. Our fur babies are a reflection of our true selves. Our true humanly flawed self that felt unconditional love, often for the first time in our lives. No matter what we did or felt, they continued to love us. They would never abandon us. Their pure joy and love will live in our hearts forever.
They're cute, funny, entertaining, and such characters. They exude a happy energy and presence in our lives. They are the epitome of a family and/or friend.
They've entered our heart and explored our soul with us. A pet symbolizes all the qualities we yearn for in humans, but often don't receive. There are so many great qualities of our beloved pet. So many! I've made a small little list of just a few that we miss when they are gone.
- Judgment. It's difficult to find a human that we feel we can be open and honest with knowing there will be absolutely no judgment. We don't even need to speak of our emotional state with our pet. They just know and feel our pain without judging what we do because of our pain.
- Acceptance. We have a hard time accepting ourselves, let alone knowing that another human accepts our true self. Our pet accepts all of us, no matter what. Even when we can't accept ourselves.
- Trustworthy. Who do we trust the most with our innermost deepest emotions? Our pet is always there. Always. We ease off on negative self-talk because we trust our pet loves us even though we don't trust ourselves enough to fully love ourselves.
- Support. There is no other emotional support system that is stronger than the one we have with our pet. They know our soul and intentions more than anyone on earth. They have that unconditional support hardwired within them. It just comes naturally to them.
- Dependability. No matter what, you can depend on them for anything you want or need them for. They sense our sadness and will be there to offer us themselves as a comfort to pet them, hold them, or just to be by our side so we don't feel so alone. Ready to play or get healthier with a little exercise? They are more than happy to accommodate. Feeling sick? They will be the only one that won't be afraid to get near us for fear of catching what we have. Or be offended by the way we smell or look.
- Respect. They hold us in the highest regard. There's never a disrespectful vibe when it comes to their beloved human. They respect, honor, and adore us.
- Genuineness. Where else in our life have we felt sincere genuineness? Our pet never lacks this trait. They can't fake it. They are genuine, kind, and caring.
- Unconditional love. Their love will never have a condition attached to it. EVER! You just know this kind of love will last until "Death do us part". It's one certainty in this life.
- Protector. When they bark at someone that knocks on our door, it's their way of warning the outsider of their ability to protect us. When they nudge us to pet them, they are protecting us from some of our sorrow with their love. They protect our hearts from crumbling and give us a little hope with their sweet gentle way of letting us know how much they care. They watch over us and our every little move.
- Stressfree. When we focus on basic connection, we leave the outside chaotic busy world for a brief time to destress with the simplicities of life with our pet. They bring us back to what's important in our lives.
You can see why grieving a pet is so difficult. Our pets help us grow, learn, and heal. They teach us patience, responsibility, how to be playful, how to express ourselves, and our love grows through them. Our hearts sing because of them. Our soul soars from knowing them.
When we hear of someone that is grieving a pet, we must remember a part of them has gone right along with them. All the good parts of a relationship that is difficult to find with a human have just left them. It rips their heart and soul to the core. If you're a pet lover, you will understand this kind of love and loss. If you've never had the privilege of loving a pet, I hope you will find empathy in your heart when you hear that someone is grieving a pet
So many emotions come up that typically doesn't come up when grieving a human. Different types of intense emotions. Take your time going through the stages of grief. Know that there will be things that come up for you that touch on the deepest core of your heart and soul. It goes deeper into the depths of who we have become because of our pet. Who we once were and how they have made it possible to become better humans.
Be present for the pain you are going through. Have a ceremony. Make a photo collage or shadow box with their collar and photos. Do whatever you feel is right for your loss. It may be tempting to downplay the grief, but its imperative to give yourself permission to grieve.
Allow yourself as much time as it takes. Grieving a pet looks different for everyone. It can be overwhelming at times. Lean on your fellow animal lovers to support you through this time.
You are not alone.
Tell me about your beloved pet in the comments.