MY LUCY: HOW TO COPE WITH GRIEF?
“Pets bring us happiness that lives in our hearts forever”
The Death is ultimate, final and visitor with no baggage. It takes the joy away and brings the eternal sorrow. We are weak when the death is around, because it is a kind of reminder that our time on this world is limited. Each time when some from our beloved dies, the message about meaning of life is more intense. The circle of life is a never-ending story but death has a permanent contract.
I found my Lucy in the corner of his own little home, as he is sleeping, so peaceful. My heart did not want to believe that my adorable bunny friend passed away. It was not the right time. It is never right time for death to come and rip off. I was not ready to accept that 2-year-old rabbit that I love so much is not anymore with me.
Everything happened so suddenly and so fast. Even the vets did not know how to help….and Lucy was gone. When our pets passed away, we usually ask ourselves what we did wrong and why we did not react earlier. The first is MEA CULPA feeling, typical for all animal lovers. Our basic philosophy is that we are responsible for our pets and we need to take care of them the best way we do. If they die, we think that we have not been good enough and that their death is because of us. The second negative feeling is toward vets and their failure to save our little fellows. The both moods are wrong because, at the end of the day, we stay with our own grief, alone. The fact is that our lovely pet could not be back to us and that sadness will not be cured by pointing finger of quilt on ourselves or anyone else. The love is the only force that can cures us and can heal the wounds. We lost our pet but our pet hasn’t lost us. That special bond stays forever no matter where is our pet. The life itself cannot really defeat death but love and remembering can ensure that death has a fear from light.
Many studies have shown that loss of pet is almost more difficult as loss of friend or family member. The main reason for it is that animal companions are always with us, with no judgement, condemn or critics. They love unconditionally and accept us just the way we are and for our pets, we are perfect, their human beings with no flows. The researchers have even written the articles how this bond has been modified through the years:” The experts I talked to emphasized that our relationship to pet loss has changed over the last century. ´It is not surprising to me that we feel such grief over the loss of a pet, because in this country at least they are increasingly considered family members, ` says Leslie Irvine, a sociologist at the University of Colorado-Boulder. Sixty-eight percent of Americans own a pet, an increase of twelve percent since surveys of pet ownership started in the 1988, when it was already booming. Losing a beloved animal friend is made harder by the relative novelty of the experience, often being a person’s first experience with a close death, and by it being one of the few times most people chose euthanasia to end a life. And depending on the relationship, the loss of a pet can be more traumatic than the grief we feel after the death of family and friends. In part, this is because pets share some of our most intimate relationships—we see them every day, they depend on us, we adjust our lives around their needs—and yet publically grieving their loss is not socially acceptable. Pets become family members because they actively shape how we live.”
The grief is only individual and has no time limit. There are no rules about being sad or devastated and no shortcut to pain relief. We are all different so are our tears and soul storms. What is common to all of us who adore pets and who lost some or many of them is a big understanding that we share for each other. For all of us, it is not ´just a dog`, `just a cat`, `just a bunny` or `just a pet´. It is the love without demands, the emotions we get and receive, staying who we are. Our `just a pet` love us, no matter if we are rich or poor, healthy or sick, beautiful or not beautiful. They do not care for the values of societies, because they see the soul. That is why the modern spirituality consider the animals as angels on the Earth.
What is happening with the spirit of those angels after they passed away? I believe we all agree that our pets are on some better place, enjoying their freedom and watching over us, like a secret guardians. The Rainbow Bridge is my favorite comfort. In spite the fact that I am not religious at all, the idea of sunny meadow for our happy pets is an optimistic way-out from dark sorrow. I just want to believe they are enjoying their after-life time now, because everything else would cause me a pain.
How we can cope with this grief? There is no simple instruction to reduce the pain of loss and to overcome the heartache. People are not the same so are not our mechanism of reactions on misery and despair. I only know that the only bad thing about having a pet is losing that pet, too early. When I was a child, I was so angry with God for taking away my fury angels. Then I asked him to enable animals to live, at least, one day longer as we live….so we do not have to experience that destructive dejection. Our pets give us so much happiness and losing them is attack on our hearts and our lives. Some of us have a feeling that they do not want another pet, because the grief cannot be cured through the new pet. Some of us keep giving love to the new pet, because there are so many animals that need love.
Whatever way you take, remember my words, it is the right for you and that all what matters. There is no magic pill that will erase the pain but there is a time that will protect the memories and put them in the safe part of our hearts. None of our pets that we think we lost is lost, they are always with us, they are safe and loved, never forgotten. Just think how great life those adorable creatures had and only because you gave them and cherished them. As one of my friends once told me, if just many other animals would have half of love that I gave to my pets, this would be a nice world. It is not about quantity but about quality. It is not about death, it is always about love that makes life eternal and death powerless.
Let yourselves feel grief because it comes from deep love. Let yourselves some time for being sad and never be ashamed of it. It is a privilege of rare people with pure hearts. When the time is there, your own Lucy will send you some happy pet that will make you smile again.
R.I.P. My Lucy and say hello to my all another lost and beloved pets that are playing on the Rainbow Bridge and protecting me from a distance. Love you all.
3 thoughts on “TIME TO SAY GOODBYE: THE LOSS OF A PET”
Thank you so much Sarah for this heart-touching article !
With every Pet that I have lost over the years, a part of me has died as well ! My sadness was always immense and my pain was ineffable. With Pet who passed away, I cried my heart out with no relief in sight. I couldn’t bear the thought or the feeling of never seeing them again. Life has taught me that our love for our deceased Pets never ends. They are always in our hearts where they live forever. We keep them alive by remembering them and by talking about them. They were and are our true heroes !
Our Pets love us for who we are and the way we are without any judgment ! They truly are our Angels !
Lucy, you will always be in our hearts !
To all of our deceased pets, I love you and you will live eternally in our hearts !
Sarah’s melancholic and heartfelt expressions induced me to ponder the history of the process of original bonding between prehistoric Homo sapiens and wolves/dogs (a genetic divergence occurred between wolves and dogs c. 40,000 years ago).
The domestication of grey wolves in what would become Eurasia occurred c. 13,000 BCE, by nomadic hunter-gatherers; although, the breed became extinct. Certainly, there would have been specific bonding between the wolves/dogs and humans (i.e. trust).
One of the oldest documented accounts of a domesticated dog is that of ‘Abuwtiyuw’ (died c. 2260 BCE) in ancient Egypt. This canine was a ‘sight-hound’ (i.e. for hunting), and was similar to a greyhound. More of a pragmatic rapport than a therapeutic one, but bonding would have occurred, nevertheless.
The ancient Grecian historian Herodotus mentions that dogs were protected animals in ancient Persia; as they were in ancient Egypt (the Egyptians believing that canines were spiritual beings similar to humans). Often, dogs who passed away were interred in the familial tomb of their master(s), as a sign of reverence.
The ancient Greeks and Romans continued the legacy of holding dogs in reverence, and the loss of them was inscribed into tombstones.
As Sarah wrote, ‘The main reason for it is that animal companions are with us, always… No judgement or criticism. They love without condition and accept us just the way we are. For them, we are perfect: human beings without flaws.’
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