No words can truly describe the broken pain and agony we feel when our beloved best friends pass away, whether just moments ago or even years later. We each share a special loving bond together with our pets unlike any other. We may accept that our pets are always in our hearts and memories but adjusting to the loss of their physical presence can be agonizing. How do we get through the days, months, and years after our pets pass away?
Sadly, it is still common to encounter diminished support from our friends and family over time and we may feel more limited to a certain “appropriate” timeline of grieving. However, our grief does not carry an expiration date. Our pets are our family and our bond is eternal. Adjusting to this new attachment of memory over physical presence takes time to understand and accept.
Grieving through the years may be a long painful process in which we take one step at a time, learning to cope on a daily basis. As we hold memories in our hearts, we still experience physical heartache and grief emotions while continuously reflecting on our relationship, care, and their last moments. Each day is different and unpredictable and can feel exhausting. Part of the grieving process is accepting that while grief lessens over time, it may always be a part of our lives. We learn to acknowledge how to live and grow around this grief, physically and mentally, and seek comfort through others who understand. We will always grieve and miss our pets greatly but may find comfort filling our hearts through the years.
I can personally understand and attest to this. This April will mark six years since my lovely 5 pound Poodle, Alfie, passed away unexpectedly in surgery with me by his side at 11 years old. In all honesty, this last day has been constantly replayed in my mind and feels both quite recent and decades ago. I cannot put into words the devastation and heartache this grieving journey has been over the last six years, while learning to find peace along the way.
Six years later, I still miss Alfie very much every day. He always carries a piece of my heart and is my best friend forever. I treasure our special moments and picture his happy smile and fluffy, wiggly dance numerous times a day, so very thankful for our shared times together. I still experience numerous unexpected pangs of grief that cling dearly to my heart and bring tears to my eyes, even as I love our other furry loved ones at home. I feel tremendous peace in my heart, knowing that Alfie was happy, loved, and treasured by us and he loved us back just as strongly. I still reflect often on his last moments and question aspects of his treatment plan and what more I could have done to help. I will always wish we could have had more time together living in the moment but am eternally grateful for our everlasting bond. I will forever cherish my sweet Alfie, and even as years go by, he will always be in my heart and daily thoughts.
It is always okay to acknowledge our grief, understand that unanticipated emotions may occur, and know that there is no timeline for our sorrow. What is so important and valuable for taking care of ourselves is accepting when to seek support and comfort, learning to live around our grief, and honoring our pet’s memories. We are so thankful for our pets who want us to be happy and at peace and have shown us this path through their lives and beyond. They will forever be with us and live in our hearts.