Kathryn Jennings, CPFE, CPLP, Pet Hospice Support Services
The upcoming holidays traditionally focus on celebrating however, this year many of us may be faced anticipating the loss of a cherished pet or be mourning one we’ve had to say goodbye to. Plus, the isolation brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic may all intensify pet families grief this year.
The overwhelming thought of this being your last holidays with your beloved pet or the lack of the physical presence of your beloved pet (bereavement) can be devastating for many pet parents. The relationship with a beloved pet is significant therefore the pain of grief associated with anticipating a loss or certainly after a loss can be quite difficult during holiday festivities for the pet parents.
Many in your family or social circle may want to disenfranchise your grief or tell you it’s time for you to moving on and be happy again. But there is no need to think of your grief as not acceptable. It is normal and to be expected. Something as simple as not being able to purchase a gift for the pet we’ve lost or opening a decoration box only to find your pet’s stocking can bring about mourning and/or a grief burst.
If you are having trouble enjoying the holiday’s due to a loss of a pet keep the following in mind.
The holidays can without a doubt intensify loneliness, sadness or cause you to have “grief bursts” when you thought your grief was behind you. Just remember to reach out for support from those who not just sympathize but truly empathize with your loss. Finding those who understand will help give you the opportunity to mourn your loss and continue on your path to healing.
Grief is the hardest work we’ll ever do. It becomes easier when another lends a hand. When we feel understood, when our pain is acknowledged, we feel less devastated and more supported.