Coping with Loss

Have you ever wondered how people can get so down when it comes to the loss of a pet?

I mean, I can understand the deep sadness when it comes to human life because that is true tragedy.

However, I could never understand such sadness when it came to losing a pet.

But as many of you know, our family pet – a dog – who we called Ruthie got ran over the other day and now I understand how people get so down about that type of loss.

So, for anyone whom I’ve ever crossed paths with who lost a beloved pet and to whom I didn’t show any understanding, maybe even lacked compassion, I truly want to say I’m sorry.

Our loss happened this past Saturday and we are still grieving.

I just keep reminding myself that it wasn’t anyone’s fault and we need to move past it, but it’s hard. She no longer roams the yard, no longer tries to get into our vehicles, is no longer at our heels as we walk around outside and I no longer catch glimpses of her from the living room window as she sprints up the back hill. My son, Ruthie’s trusted friend and trainer, hasn’t been sleeping well due to having dreams of her during the night. As anyone knows, when we are alone with our thoughts and not busy with the day’s activities, our mind slows down and begins to wonder. My son’s mind always wonders to dear Ruthie. When he talks about her during the day, he’s fine and seems to be coping with it pretty well, but it’s those darn evenings and nights when he’s not busy with something else that he seems to get emotional.

Through his tears, his siblings’ tears and my tears, I just keep trying to encourage him to remember the goodness she brought to his life and what he fulfilled in her life. And of course, as his mother I only want to make him feel better. I want to make the pain go away and………

I. Simply. Can’t.

That is a hard truth for me to accept.

So, each day since Ruthie’s accident, I encourage him to talk about her. To me. To his brothers. To his dad. He’s even taken to wearing her collar as a bracelet of some sort, if only after school.

Even though my heart wants to make his feel better, I realize there’s not much I can do other than let him grieve.

But it breaks my heart.

Here are a few tips I have learned throughout the loss of our dear Ruthie:

  • we can’t tell one another how to feel
  • remembering her and what she brought to our family, to his life encourages healing
  • having a funeral for the beloved pet which also leads to acceptance and encourages healing
  • create a memory book or keep a picture of pet

Most of all, don’t be as lacking in compassion and understanding as I was, but offer solace to someone who has lost a pet. To many people it can be almost or just as devastating as losing a loved human life.

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