If you are bereaved from the death or loss of a cherished animal this website hopes to offer some support …
Tel: 07952 230199
Pet bereavement support
Bereavement is a loss. It’s a strange, often horrible, sad and lonely thing to experience.
It can also be a release from pain for the person or animal dying, and a relief for those left behind. It can also leave a void so big, that it seems that we may never be able to live through it.
Somewhere in our minds, whether we feel it 100% or refuse to believe it at all, we know that we will not see again that being as we used to.
What we do believe, and how we come to terms with that death, will be coloured by our beliefs about life after death – whether we believe that there is nothing after death, or whether we believe in some sort of existence afterwards.
Our lives as they were, how we shared them with that person or animal have now changed, unable to go back to how they were.
A physical world
We live in a world that is very physical. We have senses that enable us to experience the world – to see, hear, smell, taste and feel it.
All of that gives us evidence of the world around us – where we live, what we eat, the sound of things, whether something is sweet, sour, fluffy, smooth, squeaky, noisy, bright, dull, big, small, and how it might be feeling – angry, frightened, tired, happy …
We are like solid objects – we can be touched, heard, smelt, and seen. We seem to be as solid as the things around us seem to be.
When a person or animal dies, their body is usually either buried or cremated. Their personality, how they sounded, the things they tended to do, how they behaved … all that suddenly stops. All those things that we experienced about them disappears.
They seemed so solid, but suddenly they have gone. If we were to search the whole world – we would not find them again. Something, someone, that existed, and was so real – no longer exists.
I don’t know, but I do wonder, if this is why death can be such a difficult thing to come to terms with. We can hear, see, touch that person or animal – then they are here no more.
Time keeps moving ...
However we are feeling, and whatever our beliefs are, the day will go on, time will keep ticking by, the sun will go down, and the sun will rise again the next day.
The next hour will go by, then the next day, the next night, the next week … For all of that time, we may be grieving.
When we get up in the morning, our awareness of our grief may be there straightaway, or it may take a few seconds for us to remember – before the realisation hits us about how our lives are now – with the loss, the emptiness, the void, that we have in our lives.
As we go through the day, we may be grieving – whether those around us realise, or whether we allow our grief to show, or not. As evening and the darkness come, we may still be with our grief, or it may become forefront in our minds, if perhaps the business of the day has been enough to distract us from our grief.
At night, as we get ready for bed, or as we try to sleep, with less things to take our attention, we may feel our grief again, but even more so. This may be the time, that if we have been able to hold ourselves together so far during the day, that finally we let go, and let the grief come.
Sometimes grief can feel good – it can feel like a release to cry and let our feelings of upset get out of our heads. It may be that we then feel ‘a bit better’ and able to get on with things.
We may also feel overwhelmed by grief, stuck in our sadness … stuck in a feeling of desolation and emptiness that we don’t want to be in, but just can’t get out of. Something has happened. We didn’t want it to happen.
A being that we loved so dearly, who was with us perhaps only yesterday, last Friday, this time last week, last month, or on this date last year, is not with us. How can that be ? How can they not be here anymore.
Sure we all feel things differently. You may be able to come to terms with the death of your loved one, quite quickly – or you may feel desperately sad.
Many of us tend to feel some measure of sadness at the loss of a person or animal not being in our lives anymore. It is normal to grieve. It is normal to cry. It is normal to feel alone, guilty, misunderstood, sad, desolate, distraught, and as if you might never get over the loss of the being who has died. Indeed, you may feel that you don’t want to ‘get over’ their death.
None of these things is particularly nice to experience – but they are normal. Whether it is an animal or a person who has died. It might be a massive loss, a massive difference in your life. It is normal to be upset, and perhaps very upset, about the death of that being.
We will all be different in the time we need, in order to come to terms with how our lives are after a death – without that person or animal.
Time will keep ticking by, and moving on around us, no matter how we are feeling. We may sit staring into space, or with a picture of our companion animal. We may stop eating much, stop going out, stop doing anything much.
Time will keep going.
The distance in time from the death of our loved one will get longer, and drift away from us, and we will be left in the void where our loved one existed with us, with no choice but to experience the seconds, minutes, hours, existing with our grief.
It may seem unbearable …
It is often said that ‘time heals’. That can seem like a bit of a strange thing. How can ‘time’ heal. In our physical world, we can’t touch or see time. Time can’t actually ‘do’ anything itself, so how can it heal or do anything else.
It seems to me, that as more days, weeks, months, years … pass after the death of someone we loved (whether that be a person or an animal), at some point – and that could be years – the routine of life starts to take more priority in our heads than it did when we were first grieving our loss.
Sure, we will all be different in how we feel our grief, how long we feel the intensity of it, how long we need to grieve for, and how we feel we need to do that.
However, at some point – for most of us, whether that be days, weeks, months or years, somehow with the passage of that time, the memories we have of our loved one, perhaps stop being in the front of our minds so much.
Somehow, it seems that we start to give a bit more thought to other parts of our lives that had been pushed out of the way by our needing, and wanting to grieve.
Perhaps that is how time can heal – it perhaps helps the memories become less raw, less upsetting, less frequently in the forefront of our minds, although still there in the back of our mind, and surprisingly easily triggered by thoughts, smells, and situations.
It is also said that the body tries to heal itself, if it can. Tears are known to be healing. Bereavement can be a massive trauma to our lives, one which we may need a short or a long period of time to adjust to.
However, people don’t tend to feel comfortable being with other people who are upset, at least not for very long. We might find that those around us may try to get us to ‘cheer up’, wanting us to look on the bright side, and to stop grieving.
We may find that we are expected to stop grieving, and that people’s expectations are that we will not grieve for very long. We may be hurried along, not able to have the time that our body and minds need in order to come to terms with the loss of our loved one.
We may find that people around us don’t seem to want us to talk about the grief we are feeling – that they don’t want us to grieve anymore.
However, we may still need to cry, and feel our sadness and loss, to think about the person or animal who has died, look at pictures of them, hug the things close to us that they loved, and let ourselves be filled with our grief.
It may be that we need to do that for a long time – whilst those around us are trying to get us to get over it.
It may be that what we need is perhaps acceptance from those around us, and from ourselves, that what we need – is time to grieve … and that that’s OK.
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