Page 106 - South Mississippi Living - August, 2021
P. 106

COPING WITH PET LOSS story by Luke Height
 D eath is an inevitable force that captures all of us at one time or another. When a beloved
spouse, family member, friend, or pet dies, we
feel our hearts ache. Tears stream down our faces, and we cling to the loved ones around us, often feeling grateful for the life we have. Extreme feelings of loss can also manifest into physical ailments, such as an upset stomach.
In the case of losing a pet, the strength of our response to a loss can take us by surprise, but should it? Our pets become some of our closest friends and allies. They sleep with us at night, go on walks in the morning, and are often considered another member of the family.
Stephen Jenkinson, a speaker and expert in grief management says, “Grief is usually mistaken for something on a similar plane as despair, depression and hopelessness. Nobody is looking forward to it, nobody is trying to get good at it, nobody goes to grief school.” In other words, we don’t like the idea of grief, loss or sadness. We want to avoid it at all costs.
Somewhere inside, we try to hide the truth from ourselves that everything eventually comes to an end. We do this to keep ourselves safe from grief. Yet, it still comes in many forms.
Famously, the Marvel superhero Vision said to his wife, “What is grief if not love persevering?” We grieve because we have lost someone we love. In the case of our furry companions, it can make us feel distraught, broken, and sad. But this is only because they have brought so much love and joy into our lives.
Jenkinson says, “Love is a way of grieving that which has not yet slipped from view.” So when you’re feeling grief and sadness, remember it’s only love that makes you feel this way. One day, grief will pass and love will take its place with heart-warming memories of the great times experienced with your furry friend.
1. Give yourself time.
2. Talk to friends and family.
3. Take care of yourself with exercise, healthy foods
and adequate sleep.
4. Do the activities/hobbies that bring you joy.
5. Join a support group to talk with others who have
experienced similar loss.
 106 | August 2021 | SOUTH MISSISSIPPI Living

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