Acknowledge the loss is real.
Pet Bereavement Guide Step 1. One minute they are there, the next they are not. The shock can be overwhelming. Don not panic, this is totally natural. You have lost a pet and that loss is extremely real.
Your pet was part of your family, part of your daily life and woven intrinsically into your memories. They were one of your best friends, you greeted them every morning and shared with them your daily thoughts and worries. If you had children it was probably their confidante and best friend. When that vital part of your life disappears it can create a huge hole.
How you grieve is completely unique to you, no two people grieve in the same way and we often experience different bereavement journeys for separate pet. Some people will be able to deal with the loss and may even get another pet straight away, others will experience deep loss and a long journey through their grief. It’s not dependant on the bond between you and your pet, it’s just that grief impacts people differently and can be depend on what is happening in your life.
Permission to grieve
This first stage of grief – shock and denial – also affects people in ways that are not alike. Common symptoms include anxiety, nausea, dizziness or feeling faint. Some people cry some stay silent.
Whether you knew that their parting was coming or whether it was sudden, the shock can be quite devastating. It is essential that you give yourself the time, the space and permission to grieve.
When you’re grieving you might experience decision fatigue. Suddenly making ‘good’ choices however small can feel overwhelming. Some people forget to eat or opt for unhealthy meals of take-outs and snacking. Unfortunately this has the knock-on effect of sapping you of energy and releasing large amounts of cortisol which is the stress hormone that causes blood sugar shifts which impact your mood.
Looking after yourself during pet grief.
And this is the time when you most need to take care of yourself. Even if you don’t want to leave the house get some healthy food delivered. Stock your fridge and freezer with fresh produce, leafy greens, nuts and protein sources.
You may not feel like cooking but the mere act of preparing food can be very therapeutic. You don’t have to make fancy dishes, just put some gentle music on and try to focus on making something nourishing and healthy. This is your best way to deal with both the physical and emotional impact of grief, trust me it works.
Pet Loss Advice and 12 Step Pet Bereavement Guide
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For more information about pet bereavement see our advice pages here.
To join my free 12 Step Pet Bereavement Guide you can sign up on this page, there are other free resources here too.
Pet Bereavement Guide Step 1 – acknowledge the loss is real.