Practical suggestion for dealing with loss

Marlow cat

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Dealing with Loss

Here are some suggestions for how to cope with loss that I have learned from my own personal experience, reading, chat groups and message boards.

Initial grief
The grief you feel at the beginning can be overpowering both emotionally and physically, but, please take heart, it will get better with time. The grief is a natural result of the love and connection you had with your dear pet. The grieving process, despite being so painful, is also a natural process. Our bond with our pets is often deeper than the ones we share with people.

Suggestions for initial grief
  1. Let the tears flow as they will help you heal. They are Tears Of Love and an important expression of love and sadness.
  2. Keep drinking water especially if you're crying a lot. Keep eating. It's important to take care of yourself physically.
  3. Talk with supportive friends and family. HUGE WARNING: often people do not understand the grief we feel for our lost pet. As a result, be prepared if they are less than helpful.
  4. Go to online pet bereavement chat, bulletin boards, or a counsellor that specializes in pet bereavement.
  5. Give yourself permission and time to grieve.
Further suggestions to help with the healing and acceptance.
I don't believe that we “get over” the lost of our beloved pet. I don't like the words “closure” or “resolution” because it gives the idea that there's an ending to our grief. So that's why I look at it as “Healing and Acceptance” or better yet, finding a way to live again and regaining a happier life. We will carry our pets in our hearts and souls forever.

They have enriched our lives and made us better people and the world a better place to live in.

Please try any of these suggestions that you feel may be helpful:
  • have a Memorial in Celebration of your pet's life
  • light a candle
  • make a small shrine
  • make a memories box of a locket of fur, toys…..
  • make a photo album
  • make a journal about your pet. This can be a really great project. Write about the things that you feel are important. It could include topics like these: how you met, funny stories, special characteristics, things you like to do together, special places you'd go to, favourite activities, special talents, your pet's personality, what your pet look like…...
  • write a letter(s) to your pet
  • email your pet by sending one to yourself: Dear ______
  • have your pet write a letter(s) to you
  • talk with your pet
  • have your pet talk to you
  • change the routines of your life, especially the ones that involved your pet
  • make a donation to a pet charity
  • volunteer at a pet shelter
  • go to an online pet bereavement chat like aplb.org. There are also a list of counsellors that specialize in pet bereavement
  • read books about pet bereavement. I found Dr. Sife’s book, The Loss of a Pet, very helpful as well as When Your Pet Dies: A Guide to Mourning, Remembering and Healing Paperback by Alan D. Wolfelt
  • this one is worth repeating. Make a journal about favorite memories and happy moments.
  • keep socializing and getting out. If you isolate yourself you can get trapped in a revolving circle of negative thoughts and feelings
  • remember that it is okay to heal. Do not punish yourself with guilt or feel that you must mourn forever to prove that you loved your pet. Your love for your pet was made to enrich your lives and the world.
Be creative and think of your own ideas. Please be kind to yourself. There is a way through.

**** Please add more suggestions ****​

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iloveprincess

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Wonderful suggestions and guidance, thank you for posting this!

I have done many of the things on your list and agree they are helpful.

Wanted to add for anyone interested that I had a replica of Tigger made and have him in Tigger's favorite heated bed right next to me.
Needle Felted Cat Sculpture Tabby kitty Memory Pet Portrait Pet replica Wool kitten Felt wool pet Wool Art Toys

Also, when I don't feel like taking care of myself, I challenge myself to do it for Tigger or to take care of myself the way I took care of him.

I've been having trouble sleeping, but listen to this every night and it helps me drift off.
 

di and bob

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I agree with everyone of those helpful suggestions. One I have is that we have to actively pursure healing, learn how to truly live again and make a life without them in it. Dwelling on the death and the circumstances around it are self defeating. There is nothing that can be done to change what happened. So rather then making the death so all important, elevating it above their precious lives with us, concentrate on what was good in the relationship, how they made themselves so elevated in our own lives, what they meant to us. In other words, be kind to yourself. Make your world one that you would want for them. Like if you were the first to go.
Always remember, the hurt is equal to the love, so give yourself lots and lots of time to heal. There will always be a scar, but it fades over time, one day at a time.......
 

les26

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Very good advice that I'm sure will prove helpful to many, thank you for posting it!

I know I say it so so many times but I do because to some it is new, but I was told years ago while grieving for Sebastian that the herb Holy Basil helps you deal with the stress with a calmer mind, you still know it is there but it somehow strengthens you to deal with the stress. And the homeopathic pills Ignatia Amara that you put under your tongue help you deal with the intense grief, shock and trauma. These do not mask the pain but help your body and mind adjust and deal with it better, they have helped me many times over.

And I know that I help try to console many on here but I simply dread the day that Sylvester has to cross the Bridge, I don't dwell on it and I sure love him up everyday and enjoy our time together, but I know despite me saying all these things to help others when that horrible day comes I won't be much good to myself.

But it is the price that I am willing to pay, trading the love and companionship and good times NOW for the price to pay later....

Again, thanks for posting this great advice. And also like you said "let it out", cry it out as that helps so very much. :rbheart:
 

Kat0121

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This is excellent advice. It also helps to turn to people that you know will understand and help you through it. We all know people who will not understand and make light of your loss. Those are the ones to steer clear of. This forum is so helpful because we can all put ourselves in the shoes of the bereaved. We understand the connection a person has with their beloved pet and the amount of grief we feel when we lose them.
 

OhYesIndeed

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It's now the fourth day since we lost our eldest cat to a thyroid disease and I've been going through the various stages of grief, not quite hitting "acceptance" yet. I've been trying to analyze my emotions, why it's hit me so hard, much worse than I had anticipated.

I do think cats offer us humans unique kind of companionship. There are many animals we have domesticated and offer us either friendship or service, but cats obviously seem to hold a special place.

In my case for the sorrow I think the number one reason is the journey we had together. We took her from a shelter six and a half year ago and she turned out to be extremely fearful and distrusting of humans. I wont lie, we questioned ourselves whether we should take her back because we seemed completely out of our depth with a cat like her.

So I've been slowly playing back all the scenes of her development. The first time she stuck her nose through the door and had the courage to take a tour around the apartment when we weren't sleeping. The first time she came to eat when we called her. The first time when she came to greet us at the entrace - we had been away the entire day and she had this look on her face, both frightened and happy at the same time.

So when she finally curled up in my lap, purring about a month ago it was the end of a long and hard journey, both for her and us. I know she wasn't happy in the shelter because her only friend was taken from there by another family and she was mostly alone. I definitely know she didn't like living on the street. I hope she understood what a good home we tried to offer her.

I've come to realize something. The end of a cat's life almost always involves extreme distress or pain. They don't get to peacefully drift away in their sleep, in the safety of their homes. Most of them develop a long-term disease that becomes increasingly harder to endure, and cats in the wild probably have it even worse. I tried to think about the cats I've known my family or friends have had, and it confirmed this to me. Strangely enough this helps me to deal with the pain a little bit. The dreadful end is just a part of owning a cat. You try to make a good home for her and care for her the best you can, in the end that is all that matters.

My suggestion for dealing with grief? Be around cats, go to the shelter and help out. Or just take some food there for them to enjoy. Sooner or later you will connect with another cat. Of course it won't be the same emotions and the same journey, because nothing can replace what you lost with your previous cat. She was unique, just as people are. But you will begin a new journey hopefully that will enrich your life just as much. We are going there on Sunday.

Take comfort in the knowledge that many people are going through the same pain. This board has helped me to deal with my sometimes overwhelming emotions. Take it one day at a time. Thank you all and take care.
 

Tik cat's mum

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Good advice it will help people alot thankyou for posting.
 

NadiaRey

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This is so beautiful. I'm keeping this tab in my favorites so I can review each point. I did start making a memorabilia, I have a small shrine/project dedicated to her, and I talk with Sueño almost every day. I wished I could have her talk to me. How do you do that? Please. That's the part I never could do in real life.

I'll try to come up with suggestions of my own but... just give me some time, I'll get back to you. Thanks again. Hugs. :grouphug2:
 
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Marlow cat

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This is so beautiful. I'm keeping this tab in my favorites so I can review each point. I did start making a memorabilia, I have a small shrine/project dedicated to her, and I talk with Sueño almost every day. I wished I could have her talk to me. How do you do that? Please. That's the part I never could do in real life.
Dear Nadia.....thank you. As for having your Sueño "talk" to you.....you let her words and thoughts flow through to you. You probably know what she would want to say to you. Kinda like how we talk out loud to ourselves, this time let it be your beautiful cat. Similarly, you could have Sueño "write" a letter/email to you. It really can be quite beautiful and helpful if it makes sense and feels right for you.

My best wishes to you,
mc
 
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