Why Grieving our Pets is so Difficult

I know the tone of energy all too well.  It’s in the way they walk into my office and fling their keys and phone down on the table next to the chair they sorrowfully plop themselves into.  Head hung low.  Tears are the first words spoken.  They have loved.  And now, they have lost. 

Through the sobs and efforts of trying to catch their breath, sometimes the most they can utter is a whisper saying, “I had to put _______ to sleep last week.”  That kind of energy and those kinds of feelings sounds like shattered glass to me.  Their life is shattered.  Their heart is broken.

Secretly, I want to cry too.  I’ve been there too.  The grief from losing a pet is real.
And then . . . the look . . .

It comes right after they reach for a Kleenex and begin to catch their breath.  It’s a look that desperately seeks my approval and reassurance that the depth of sorrow they are feeling is okay.  It’s like they just can’t come to terms with feeling the loss as deeply as they do.  But they do.  But in their mind, they shouldn’t.  But in their heart, they do.  But in their mind, they shouldn’t . . .

I’m not sure which is harder for them, the loss itself?  Or the fact that they can’t allow themselves to grieve in the way they want and need to.  The battle between the heart and the mind is sometimes unmerciful.

One of my most favorite quotes is from Anatole France, “Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.”    

That is what happens when we love our pets – a part of us awakens.  They draw us into this magical world enveloped by perfect presence and unyielding acceptance.  Through telepathy they convey their unconditional love, affection and gratitude for who we are in their lives.  Their love is an invitation for us to show up as ourselves, unguarded, and fully trusting of the relationship.

In no way am I suggesting that we can’t feel that way for other beautiful people in our lives.  We can.  It’s just different.  Sometimes the depth isn’t as deep.  Not because we don’t want it to be but because we have been hurt and we are still learning how to “ride the bicycle” of unconditional love.  We are all getting better at it and thank the heavens above for our fur family to help remind us that we are the love we see reflected in their eyes.   

I have three wonderful companions that fill my home with incredible joy and love – Violet and Miss Miley are my canine companions and sweet Sugar is my feline companion.  I am realistic enough to know that there will come a day when we will all part ways in this physical world. 

My prayer is that I will be able to hold each one of them in my arms and as they make their transition back to pure conscious energy, the last words they here will be “thank you, thank you, thank you, I love you so very much.”  

And then it will be my turn to fling my keys and phone down on the table next to the chair that I will sorrowfully plop myself into.  I will have loved.  And I will have lost.  But I won’t want to change a thing.

It’s okay to grieve.  It’s okay to let our hearts break . . . as long as they break open and not closed.  There is no shame in loving as deeply as we do and then feeling the loss that comes when the physical form changes.

Despite what some might say or think, they are not just animals without a soul.  They are beloved members of our family whose unconditional love has the power to touch our lives in the most beautiful and memorable ways.

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