Coping with pet bereavement at Christmas
Christmas can be a very difficult time of year. It always brings the pet memories rushing forward, especially if it a first-anniversary since your beloved pet passed away.
We have a few ideas for surviving Christmas but everyone is different so please do speak to others who have been through the experience, they may have some helpful advice. There are also lots of great charities who have great support websites which can be useful even if you don’t feel up to going along to one of their groups.
Make sure you know what you want to do
Christmas is a stressful time and many demands are placed on you by family, friends and colleagues. Do take time to think about how you want to spend the day so that you can deal with requests. You may want to do something completely different, or, you may prefer to gather your close family around you. It might be a good idea to keep plans flexible so that you can decide when you know how you feel and change your plans if you want to.
Remember your beloved pet
Some people find it helpful to take time to remember their beloved pet, this might include visiting and spending some time where you have buried them or where you have scattered their ashes, or at a place that was special to them.
Make time to look through photos or memories with family and friends, it’s good to talk about them.
Look after yourself
It is very important to nurture yourself during this difficult time of the year, let others look after you. Simple things like hot baths and walks in the countryside or park can all help to lift your spirits.
Christmas is a time of over-indulgence and there is often a lot of alcohol being offered, whilst drowning the pain may seem like a good idea it is only a temporary solution and please remember it is a depressant. Exercise, if you can manage it, will make you feel better in the long-term.
There is no right or wrong way
Grief is as individual as you are and your beloved pet was, there is no right way to grieve and also there is no wrong way. If your emotions take over on the day, don’t feel alarmed, it’s perfectly natural. Just take some time to yourself. Keep talking and remember to be kind to yourself.
Blue Cross is a brilliant organisation that offers lots of helpful advice in general and support during bereavement. Their support phone line 0800 096 6606 is available all week.
The Cats Protection League has a page dedicated to dealing with grief and whilst it doesn’t specifically mention Christmas their phone line 0800 024 94 94 is available Monday to Friday apart from bank holidays and you can upload a photo of your cat onto their memory wall for no charge.
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