How do we move forward when we’re grieving the loss of a pet? When we’re having a hard time putting their loss into perspective? I take a spiritual approach to finding peace.
“Our animal companions are an integral part of our spiritual journey. Their lives are like chapters in the book of our life.” – From my Amazon Bestseller, Peace in Passing: Comfort for Loving Humans during Animal Transitions
How did they help on my life journey?
When I’m grieving a loss, I find solace in thinking about how this animal helped me on my life journey. I’m not saying they’re only there for us! I strongly believe they have their own destiny, purpose, and reason for being on this earth. They aren’t just a prop or minor character in the movie of our life.
- Am I a better person because of their presence in my life? Maybe I had to make a difficult decision about this animal. And now I have more empathy for other pet guardians in the same situation.
- Did their companionship help me through a tough time? Maybe they were a great comfort when my husband/son/wife/other animal passed away.
- Did they remind me to embrace a part of myself I almost forgot about? Maybe they demanded that I spend time playing with them and laughing at their pranks. Because of them, I remembered life is joyful!
But why did they go then and in that way?
Most times, we know the physical cause of their death. But from a “big picture” perspective, we may never know for sure know why they chose to go when they did. Or why they chose that particular ending.
My best analogy is that their lives (and ours) are like a highway with potential exits. Sometimes when our animals are quite sick, we think, “This is it!” But they zoom out of the exit lane back onto the highway of life, surprising everyone.
And of course, there are those tough endings when we think they’re cruising just fine in the middle lane. But then they veer through many lanes of traffic to exit RIGHT NOW. And that’s incredibly tough!
Where do I find comfort for my grief?
Many of us theorize about the spiritual/emotional reasons and timing of our animals’ endings. Sometimes I do. And we might be right. But my real comfort rests in trusting that Creator, friends, and family are with them. They are not alone.
Look for the gifts of their life
So I recommend that when you miss your animal, decide what gifts they brought into your life. Even if they taught you patience because they barked a LOT!! And then celebrate them as you feel their presence!
Read Scientific American’s article, Why We Need to Take Pet Loss Seriously!