by Adam Goldman
While working with dozens of people who experienced different types of grief and loss, I’ve noticed some recurring patterns and common pains many seem to share. If you had the misfortune to lose your beloved furry friend lately, reading these and knowing you are not alone in this might be a good first step in your healing process.
If your pet died from an accident, it’s common to replay it in your head over and over again.
If you had to put them to sleep due to old age or severe illness, witnessing the passing and the deteriorating condition of your beloved pet hunts many people.
There’s a very effective process to soften these experiences that might still hunt you, and reorient yourself back to happy times and emotions shared.
Routine is “broken”
As one woman described it: “I woke up, she was there. I ate breakfast, she was there. I come back, have dinner, watch tv. She was always there!”
Pets are such an integral part of our day to day activities, losing them leaves many voids to be filled.
Future plans that won’t happen
“I will never see my baby play in the park again. Feel the comforting touch of her fur in my hands. ”
Following the previous point, there might be many future scenarios you play in your head about things you planned to do with your pet.
There’s a surprisingly helpful way to attend to these thoughts, by “coding” then in your mind like “A dream that is lost but still savored” (Thanks to therapy and grief expert Steve Andres for this quote).
“It’s not like you lost a family member!”
Unfortunately sentences like these are common to hear from the people around you, who lack understanding and devalue your loss since “It’s not like you lost a family member!”.
This usually hurts more when coming from close friends and loved ones.
If your ears are lucky enough to not have heard this, that is wonderful, and you were probably wise enough to cultivate a healthy empathetic social circle and relationships.
Often times the loss is more severe than a human family member, since our pets provide us with precious unique gifts which most humans can’t provide. The unconditional love, the acceptance, the beloved companionship … It’s something you rarely get anywhere else.
Emptiness /loss of good feelings and presence
When asked about their pet who recently passed away, some rare individuals seem to “light up” and attend to the fond memories with their beloved furry friend, and feel their presence and the appreciation for getting to know them.
As Dr Geoff so beautifully shares about his brother who passed away: “I will live well for the both of us … When we let the love be there, for the ones we’ve lost, we find peace.”
Living by this noble way of thinking is something that seems to come naturally to only a few rare individuals, but for most this is actually a skill to be learned.
Dark uncompelling future
Even after accepting the future that won’t be, pacifying unpleasant or graphic experiences, and reclaiming past experiences and good feelings, the future might still be dark and unattractive without your furry friend by your side.
My dear friends and colleagues Connirae and Steve Andreas did a wonderful job modeling a process called “re-engaging” the future, that provides some unique ways to let the qualities of your pet propel and draw you forward towards a brightening compelling future.
“I don’t want to say goodbye”
This is something I often hear from people going through different stages of grief, and you might feel the same way. This is something many people (including experts) get totally backward.
I don’t want you to say goodbye neither! I want you to learn how to say “Hello” again, and reconnect with the good feelings, experiences, and everything you valued in the relationship and didn’t want to lose, which is part of what I teach in my program.
As one of the women whom I’ve worked with recently described: “Together you learn to paint the most magnificent portrait of what will soon become a future celebration of your brand new beginnings of living and loving in this world.”
About the author
Adam has been guiding people through and developing personal change processes for almost a decade.
He has developed a step by step program for people whose pets have passed away, to guide them through their journey from grief to appreciation, and has agreed to give our customers a special pre-launch price.
Check out his program and use the coupon code “iloveveterinaryhope” for the special price.