Grief generally includes a number of strong emotions that are quite varied. There is no right or wrong way to grieve, no normal duration and no set sequences of reactions. The type of loss and the circumstances surrounding it may affect the intensity and duration of the grief. A loss that is expected generally produces anticipatory grief where one actually begins the grieving process before the death occurs - anticipatory grief may take the "crisis" effect off the actual death but usually does not make the grief process any easier.

Grief is a natural response to a major trauma and the act of mourning the loss is a healing process. Grief must be expressed. If not, serious problems may result such as increased tension and a prolonged grieving process.

The particular coping processes that may work for one person might not work for another. Some simple guidelines may help you through the grieving process.

1. Recognize the grief and allow the feelings and emotions. Give yourself permission to cry, grieve, and to feel.

2. Give yourself time - the old adage "Time Heals All" is correct in a way but it is not time that heals but what you do with and in that time that helps.

3. Keep up some type of regular routine - don't allow yourself to "veg" out.

4. Take the good with the bad. Some days you may feel you are on the road to recovery, other days you may feel worse than ever. This is all part of the grieving process. Allow it to happen.

5. Ask for help if you need it - help others that may have experienced the same emotional upheaval - tell your story to someone and then tell it again.

6. Don't get "hung up" in the "stages" of grief - you may experience all the stages, you may skip stages, you may go all the way through the stages and then feel yourself starting over again. The stages are just guidelines regarding some feelings you may experience - they are not set in stone.

7. Remember the past - hang on to those memories.

8. When it feels right, do what you feel is appropriate with the animal's leash, food bowl, water dish, toys, etc. Take your time - there is no rush.

9. Talk to your animal - your beloved pet may be physically gone but is still very much alive in your heart!

10. Write a letter to your animal, keep a journal, start a photo album.

11. Be gentle and patient with yourself - grief is work!

Charlene Douglas
1528 E. River Rd.
Grafton, WI 53024
United States

Rainbow Passage Links

The Rainbow Passage: Pet Loss Support and Bereavement Center
Pet Loss Resources - Books: Pet Loss Books - Prepared by The Rainbow Passage

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