Grief brings with it a host of emotions, and loss of an animal can strike us just as hard as loss of a person. For some people their relationships with their animals can be more loving and intense than their relationships with people. I know I have long conversations with my dog, and probably spend more time with her than any other member of my family.
Grief is said to have stages, the 5 stages of grief and loss are: 1. Denial and isolation; 2. Anger; 3. Bargaining; 4. Depression; 5. Acceptance. However it is important to remember that we don’t follow these stages in an orderly fashion, but can either flip between them, circle round them, rattle quickly through one and spend months on another. Grief is personal.
We are all different, everyone will experience grief differently and to varying degrees. There is no right or wrong way. You may be more upset over the death of your dog than a your uncle, that is also okay. Our relationships differ, so our response to loss will also differ. Don’t let anyone tell you that your grief is wrong, or to get over it. It takes as long as it takes you. There is no time limit on grief.
If you find your emotions overwhelming consider talking to someone, grief counselors can be very helpful in supporting you while you are going through a difficult time. Remember to ask for help and remember you are not alone.
Conversely if you are supporting someone who is experiencing grief, make sure your support is helpful. People can inadvertently be tactless and say things which make people feel worse. In your communication make sure that you make the other person feel heard, being empathetic can go a long way towards making someone feel better.
And remember, grief is the price we pay for love.