A few weeks ago someone asked me, “Joy, what do you do when your pet dies? When do you begin to feel normal?”
It’s a hard subject to talk about especially around those that may not understand what it’s like to lose a best friend that’s not a person. Although your pet may have never said a word to you, there was an emotional connection that you shared. In some ways these furry friends can become our family.
When we lose them, it can feel like there is a gaping hole in our hearts.
I lost my “best friend” suddenly last September. It was one of the most heartbreaking things that Seth and I went through together. Our cat, Loki, had been through many difficult times with us. He had helped comfort me when Seth was deployed and would let me hold him during my panic attacks. He was in some ways an emotional support animal, but also a true friend.
When he passed away, neither of us knew that this was going to happen. It was completely unexpected. Seth and I cried for weeks and for the first few days did not leave our home, shower, and most days forgot to eat. Our loss wrecked both of us.
Regardless of if you have lost a pet or you know their time is coming soon, you know that this can be extremely difficult. But it can be hard to talk about your loss because not everyone will understand. It can be hard to know where to start to try to feel normal again. You will feel guilty, question yourself over and over as to if there was anything you could have done, and you will be angry with yourself for not being able to some how have prevented it.
These are all natural parts of the stages of grief. And you will definitely go through them.
In today’s thinks, I would like to share with you a few steps that helped Seth and I to move forward while paying our respects to our best friend.
Lay them to rest peacefully
You may choose to bury your friend in their favorite spot in your yard or cremate their ashes. Because we move frequently, we chose to cremate. Loki’s ashes were spread over an animal sanctuary in PA. A peaceful place where animals are happy. Although your pet may no longer be with you physically, you will always have a piece of them in your heart. Laying them to rest will help begin to put your heart at peace.
It’s ok to put away their things
You may need to put away their favorite toys or food bowl for a while. When Loki passed away Vader was already with us. Even though they both played with their toys, there were a few that were Loki’s favorite. I had to put them away for a while because I could not look at them without crying. It’s ok to hold on to their things, but leaving them scattered through the house may not be the best solution for you at the moment. Which leads me to my last point.
Make a memory box
This especially helped us on days we couldn’t stop thinking about him. We would see something that would remind us of him around the house, or we would remember something that he used to do. Use a box or a shadow box to place things that hold good memories in. In Loki’s memory box we have, a clay mold of his paw print, a wooden square from a coffee table he chewed on (we threw away the table but kept a piece of it), one of his favorite toys, a pair of my old flight attendant wings (he used to get so mad when I would leave and would try to hide in my suitcase), and a few other things that make us smile.
Any time I would feel sad, I would open that box and look through the things that would make me smile about him. Loki’s box is now sitting in our bookshelf. He always liked climbing into things, so it was the perfect place to put his memories.
I hope this weeks “thinks” has in some way helped you in dealing with the loss of your pet. Remember it’s ok to be sad when they are gone. They were a very special part of your life and always will be.
Thank you for reading, and I’ll see you all next week.
This weeks “thinks” was written in honor of my best friend Loki.
RIP Sept. 4, 2016
I know you always liked sitting on my computer. I don’t know if you could actually read what you were typing. But wherever you are, I hope you know Mama loves you so much. Thank you for always being there for me and for making me laugh on the sad days. Thank you for the funny memories and even for the times you pranked me. I’ll never forget the times you peed on my suitcase because you were mad I was having to fly out, the times you ate my ice cream, and the times you would sit on my face to wake me up to play with you. You will always make me smile when I think about you. I love you Meowster, you be good and don’t climb on any of the curtains in Heaven.