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 pet loss over the holidays:
- I will experience many emotions during the pet loss grief process, and that’s OK. There might 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 is 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.
These tips have been adapted from Two Hearts Pet Center.
More pet loss resources
Here are some additional ways to help you cope with losing a pet:
- Join a social media group, such as Best Friends Animal Society's Angels Rest Facebook group, for people who have experienced pet loss.
- 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.