Is All Grief the Same? Dealing with Grief After Loss of a Pet

December 29, 2017 9:48 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

It’s normal to grieve when someone close to you dies. The person can be a parent, grandparent, sibling, child or longtime friend, and the news of their passing is often met with a shower of sympathy and condolences. You experience emotions and feelings of sadness, so you cry, or you might feel anger and guilt toward the situation. But, do we grieve the same when a pet dies? You loved and cared for them the entire time you were together, so yes—it’s very likely you will grieve, mourn and cry.

The thing about a pet passing away is that it may seem as though only other loving pet owners truly understand how it is you’re feeling. Others may not understand that your pet was a part of your family for years, maybe even for more than a decade. That’s a long time to have a pet as a constant in your life.

While funeral homes in Westchester, IL may not seem like the first place to turn when you’re grieving the loss of a pet, you may be surprised to learn that many aspects of pet loss are very similar to what is experienced following the passing of a friend or family member.

Why losing a pet is so painful

Pets bring happiness, joy and purpose into our lives. They also help us learn things like responsibility, kindness and how to love, and when they destroy something we own, we get to practice patience. We always forgive them because, after all, they are our companions.

Like people, pets can be in your life a long time, often for a decade or more, which is why their deaths can hurt just as much as losing close family or friends.

Stages of grief

Despite what some non-pet owners believe, pet owners can absolutely go through grief after the loss of a pet. It’s important to remember that grieving has no timeline and everyone grieves differently:

  • Denial: A very common part of the grieving process is denial. It’s not that you don’t think they are gone, but rather you want to believe it did not happen. Don’t deny yourself time to grieve; do allow yourself to let your feelings out.
  • Anger: You may be angry that your pet has died. Anger is a normal stage of grief that comes with negative feelings regarding the “how” and “why” of your pet’s death. This feeling is enhanced in cases where the manner or cause of death is unclear, or if the pet was involved in an accident.
  • Sadness: The longest stage of grief is likely to be sadness or even depression. Like losing a close relative, spouse or friend, your heart will always hold some sadness for your cherished pet.
  • Acceptance: Just because you accept that your pet is gone doesn’t automatically mean you will forget the memories you had together. This is the final stage of grief, when everything begins feeling normal again. At this time you might even decide to adopt another pet.

Experiencing the death of a pet is, in many ways, not unlike experiencing the death of a person in your life. In fact, what you learn from pet loss can easily be applied to situations in which you’ve lost a friend or family member, and vice versa.

Compassionate funeral homes in Westchester, IL understand families’ needs for stress-free funeral planning. At Marik-Baken Funeral Services Ltd., we take a respectful approach to your funeral service needs whether you wish to pre-arrange plans or are planning a funeral for the unexpected death of a loved one. Call our caring staff 24/7 to learn more.

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