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Sunday, November 4, 2012

Coping with Pet Loss

Having lost a beloved companion of my own recently, I feel the need to share what has helped me get through the tough emotional times so far. As with many things, the range and magnitude of emotions one may experience will vary from person to person.

The first important thing to understand is that it is okay to feel your feelings. You will feel sadness and loss, but you might also feel anger, guilt, even initial shock and denial. You must allow yourself to go through the levels of grief in order to pass through and come out on the other side of it.

After Kai's passing, one of the first things I did (the next day) was take out some time and write out what I was feeling. This was, of course, after a great deal of crying and moping and not-sleeping. I wrote out everything I thought of in a long free-write block of text. I didn't write it to show anyone else, I just wrote it all out to get a visual representation of my emotions. This helped me a great deal. It also came in handy when I went to write my blog post - the organized and more memorial-style work regarding my kitty.

It also helped me to talk with others who have lost pets. Talking and relating to other people can help you feel like what you're experiencing is a normal range of emotion.

Going through the emotions is an important first step in moving forward through your grief. However, do not allow yourself to dwell for too long. Give yourself enough time - and I'm sorry to say I do not have a specific amount of time that is acceptable. That will vary.

Feel your feelings, get them out, and then keep yourself occupied. Try to make sure your downtime is limited in these first few days or weeks, as down time can lead toward over thinking. In my experience, any way. So keep yourself busy with friends and loved ones, house work, movies, whatever. If you think of your loved one, try to limit it to happy memories.

What has helped me immensely is throwing myself into my time with Nathan even more so than usual. I had been over-planning our meals and trips to the parks and all of the little things that happen each day. In addition, our remaining kitty Kabuki has needed extra love lately as well - cuddling with him has helped a lot.

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