Losing a beloved pet is always hard, but it can be especially difficult to cope with that loss during the holidays. Know that you are not alone. Here are some gentle reminders* to yourself that we hope will provide comfort if you’re grieving the loss of a pet over the holidays:
- I will experience many emotions during the grief process, and that’s OK. There may be sadness, anger and possibly some joy. I will try to be mindful of these emotions when they happen and accept them. None of them are off-limits. They just are.
- I will give myself permission to set boundaries with those around me. I’ll allow myself to say no (or yes), depending on what I need at the time, with no apologies.
- I will control only what I can control. I will not focus on the things that I can’t control.
- I will be mindful of the situations that I’ll face during the holidays and plan ahead.
- I will be kind to myself and treat myself like I would any dear friend, with gentle words and caring thoughts.
- I will remind myself that I am grieving because I loved and shared. When the emotions of grief show up, I will graciously welcome them.
- When I can’t think of anything else to do, I’ll remember that I can help others.
- I will reach out when I need a hand to help me along. I’ll remind myself that asking for help is not a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength.
- I will give myself permission to just be — to allow space for myself, for my emotions, for the good, for the sad, for the joy.
*Adapted from Two Hearts Pet Center
And here are some additional ways to help you cope with losing a pet:
- Join a Facebook group for people who have experienced the loss of a beloved pet.
- Give a gift in memory of a beloved pet.
- Watch “Love Lives On: Grieving the Loss of a Pet During the Holidays,” a video presentation featuring Patty Hegwood of Best Friends and Coleen Ellis of Two Hearts Pet Center.