Pet Loss, Grief, and the holidays

Pet Loss, Grief & the Holidays
By: Kathryn Jennings, CPFE, CPLP


Holidays are usually a time for coming together with friends and family and

celebrating but when a beloved pet isn't present due to loss, the holidays can be a time of intense grief. 


Whether it be a recent loss or one from long ago, grief can be present during the holidays turning what usually is a time of merriment into the roller coaster of emotions that come with grief. 


It's important to take into account that those in grief may have mixed emotions at this time. While a pet caregiver may be remembering the life of their beloved pet with fondness during the holidays, he or she may also be experiencing the pain of grief at the same time. It's natural to feel intense sorrow and experience the joy of the season in tandem. Feeling conflicted at this time is to be expected. 


The holidays can without a doubt intensify loneliness or sadness or cause one to have "grief bursts" when it appeared as though their grief was over.  Just remember to encourage pet caregivers who are grieving to reach out for support from those who not just sympathize but truly empathize with pet loss and grief.  Finding those who understand

provides pet caregivers permission to grieve and the opportunity to mourn their loss while continuing on their path from grief to healing. 


Also, memorializing one's pet at this time can help aid in mourning.  Hanging a Christmas stocking or personalized ornament for one's beloved pet can help remember the life and the relationship shared on earth and that we continue to share in more of a spiritual form with a precious pet.


Grief is the hardest work we as human we'll ever do. It becomes easier when another lends a hand.  When pet caregivers feel understood, when their pain is acknowledged, they feel less devastated and more supported.


Our thoughts are with all those who are grieving this holiday season.  

You are not alone.