Thursday, September 22, 2011

Loss of a Pet: 4 Things You Can Do To Help Yourself Survive

Surviving the loss of a pet can seem like a daunting task. The pain can be unbearable, the support ambivalent and the emptiness haunting. Here are a handful of tools to help you make it through.

1. Assemble the Team
Consider taking a minute and writing down the names and contact numbers of everyone who can be a support to you. Don’t add people to the list that don’t belong. If they don’t understand the loss of a pet with plenty of sympathy and compassion, they don’t get to be on the list. Now, jot down how the people on your list can be helpful to you. Good to call when you are sad? The perfect person to run errands with you? Make the list.

2. Remember the A Team
Not many people go on the “A Team” list. These are the people who will do anything for you, your nearest and dearest. The people you can call in the middle of the night. Always have their numbers with you!

3. I want it now!
Resist the urge to do the irrevocable. You might feel impulsive now, like wanting to get a new pet quickly. Be careful and allow yourself to grieve. Listen to your healing heart, not the part of you that wants to avoid pain. Those quick, impulsive decisions we make after a loss are often about AVOIDING pain and the problem with that is that the decisions can have longstanding implications. Impulsive buying, moving, getting a new pet are all examples.

4. Triggers
Expect to have triggers. These include anything that can set us off. It can be a memory, a smell, something we see, even something someone says to us. The problem with triggers and loss is that they can be unpredictable. I remember once, being at work and suddenly I couldn’t stop crying. I had to close the blinds in my office. Thank God I had blinds. I was okay after a few minutes, but it hit from out of the blue. Sometimes we are lucky and we know what they are, but mostly, not so much. It’s okay, its normal.

Most of all, know that you will survive. I hope these strategies help ease your pain and help your healing process.

Do you have a story or a tip that worked for you? Please share in the comments section. Thank you so much and wishing you healing and peace.

Other Helpful Reading:

Pet Loss: 3 Tips to Ease your Pain

Pet Loss: How to Handle the Stupid Things People Say

Pet Loss: 5 Things you Need to Know

Loss of Pet Quotes

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