Pet’s are such an important part of our lives. Losing a loved pet can be an emotional roller coaster. A client recently contacted me about the tremendous struggles that he had after his own pet had passed. He struggled to talk with other family members and didn’t know what to do. He looked through our web site for resources and went on to find more resources that he shared with us. I’ve included our links and links that he found at the bottom of this page.
Sometimes I think of the movie Shadowlands with Anthony Hopkins and Deborah Winger because it involved losing a loved one. The movie is based on the true story of the author CS Lewis and his poet wife, Joy Gresham. It is a story about how joyful, meaningful, wonderful, and fulfilling love can be. By the end of the story, Joy Gresham dies of cancer and CS Lewis is left coping with such a tremendous loss. It’s been some time since I’ve watched it, but it left a big impression on me because there seemed to be a comforting message. Hopefully my interpretation is somewhat correct. What Anthony Hopkins (as CS Lewis, but with piercing blue eyes) says, is that the loss of a loved one hurts because there was so much ‘good’ there. I’m sure I’m not doing the film justice, but in other words; During the time you spend with a loved one, you are creating an emotional stockpile of ‘goodness’. It’s deep and rich, it is something more than just yourself, it’s lots of love and shared experiences. When that is lost, it is very hard. Its hard exactly because you had so much ‘good’. It wouldn’t hurt if you hadn’t been so fortunate as to have all those experiences, moments, and love.
I don’t know if I’ve captured the meaning that I want to convey, but in our own family we have had to cope with the loss of loved pets. It leaves a deep ‘hole’ in our hearts for a time and it is hard to imagine moving forward, but time marches on – we want to honor our lost loved one and never forget them. We try to focus on the things that we’ve been thankful for during the pet’s life. More than anything, I think we want to remember the joy/comfort/love that we shared with them. Hopefully remembering those parts will remind and inspire us to know that joy, comfort, and love will be attainable again. To savor it when it comes our way and to share it with others when possible.
It is important to say that we have tremendous compassion for our patients and clients but we are not able to evaluate human mental health issues and do not provide mental health counseling.
These are veterinary school websites providing pet loss support
These are some additional links:
Coping with the Death of a Pet – Understanding Pet Loss Grief
Pet Memorials at Home: A Guide to Logistics and Legalities for Memorializing Your Pets
9 Loving Ideas to Honor a Beloved Pet That Has Passed Away
Helping a Child Cope — the Death of a Pet
Pet Grieving: How Pets Mourn the Loss of a Companion
How Long After the Death of My Dog Should I Wait to Get Another Dog?