Dealing with the loss of your animal loved one
Special to the Sun
Do not underestimate how deeply the loss of your pet can affect you. Your loved one is a part of your identity. You are everything to him. You and your loved one are a part of each other and#8212; even when you are apart, you are connected.
Your loved one is interwoven with the details of your daily life. She is the witness to your life story. She anchors you amidst the confusion and complexity of life.
Your loved one offers you extreme acceptance and loyalty. He sees parts of you that others may not see. You feel safe with him, and allow him to see deeply into your soul.
When you lose your loved one, it can uproot your life from the core of your self to the tiny details of every day life. People often feel lost, angry, empty, and painfully alone. People often fall into despair about the fragile nature of life and the slipping away of time. Everyday life can seem wrong, off, imbalanced. Your routine has been changed. Your companion is missing at each step of your day.
There is no right or wrong way to feel. It is normal and healthy to feel fine one moment, and collapsed with sadness and disorientation the next.
There is no time frame for how long you are focused on the loss and#8212; it may be days and it may be months. Comparisons with other types of loss, or with how other people deal with losing an animal, are not helpful.
Your grief is what it is, and other peopleand#8217;s grief is what it is.
There is likely to be guilt and regret. There is always more you could have done for your loved one, always more love and attention you could have given. This is even more complicated when you have been the one to have to decide when to let your loved one pass on, or when you have lost him or her to a tragedy.
Just as your loved one offered you love and acceptance, be kind and accepting with yourself about your own unique grieving process.
Reach out for support. When you are grieving, it is the right time to ask for help, even though it may be difficult to do so. While we never and#8216;get over itand#8217; when we have a major loss, support for your grief will allow you to honor your loved one by carrying him or her with you, in your thoughts and spirit, as you move forward in your life.
and#8212; Danielle B. Klotzkin, licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, provides psychotherapy for clients who are looking for a way to move forward through relationship issues, problems with alcohol, drugs, or managing money, eating and body issues, trauma, grief and loss, depression, bipolar disorder, and anxiety. You may contact her at (530) 470-2233.
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