Facing the holidays after losing a beloved pet is extremely hard. While other people may be happy and celebrating you may find it impossible to do so. That’s okay. You are entitled to feel grief over the loss of your baby. Do not let people’s opinions get you down when they say something like, “It’s the holidays. It’s time to celebrate.” They have not lost a piece of their soul and don’t understand.
Many years ago my beloved dog Lady was terminal with cancer. The month of December was her last month on this planet, and it was devastating for me. No one understood or tried to understand what I was feeling. For the last four months, I had to stay with her 24 hours a day. She could not be left alone she was so sick. It was the worst Christmas of my life. So I do understand what you are going through.
Dealing with the holidays is hard enough, and after losing a beloved pet it’s even more difficult. I am offering some tips that will help you get through the holidays with respect to your beloved baby.
1) Honor Your Beloved Pet.
Light a candle in their memory. If you have a little altar, keep their picture there along with a candle, flowers, and incense. Take a few moments and talk to them because they still hear you. Their spirit is right there. Acknowledge your feelings, don’t ignore them. It’s okay to feel emotional this time of year.
2) Be Prepared to Feel Sadness During the Holidays.
Losing a pet is a big deal. They are our family. This is a huge impact on your life. When you're used to sharing the holidays with a furry family - it’s a jolt that they are no longer a part of the holidays and special events in your life. It is okay if you don’t feel like participating in the festive activities. It’s really quite normal.
3) Remember the Wonderful Memories You Have of Holidays Gone By With Your Pet.
As difficult as it may be, make it a point to remember positive happy moments you once shared. I remember my last Christmas with my beloved dog Lady. Even though she was dying I made sure she had a good time. I always remember that and it helps.
4) Donate to Animal Shelters.
Think about donating blankets and other items that are desperately needed in the shelters. You can also donate your time at animal shelters. It’s helpful for those poor little animals to have someone talk to them and love them. Perhaps you can help save a life! Not looking to adopt too soon? I understand. So consider fostering a pet. Many animals need help getting socialized and used to human contact and affection. Fostering is a great way to help pets and yourself find joy and healing without the full commitment of adoption.
Another way of helping out is to donate your time at the local soup kitchen to feed the hungry and homeless.
5) Remember Time Is the Great Healer.
This is not to say your grief will end because really and truly it’s ongoing. However, the intensity of the grief you feel today will be lessened a year from now. Grief comes in waves but the pain does lessen with the passage of time. Please read my article on Grief for further help. There will come a time when you can fully enjoy the holidays once again.
6) Listen to Healing Music.
Play upbeat music. Try not to listen to songs that will make you depressed or cry. For me personally, I don’t like to listen to Christmas music as it brings up too many sad memories, not only of my pets but my family that I lost.
I put on "That Old-time Rock And Roll." It’s the music that soothes my soul. That’s the music that makes me feel good. Put on whatever music makes YOU feel good and even dance around. Dancing is healing as well.
7) Don’t Forget to Take Care of You!
When you are in deep grief it is easy to forget to take care of yourself. Be sure to not only acknowledge your feelings and emotions; find a good support system. Surround yourself with people who can relate to your experience and give you uplifting support. I have a support group for pet loss on Facebook that you can join. It’s very healing for pet parents. Click here to check it out.
Remember to take care of your physical self and incorporate an exercise routine multiple days during the week.
Eat healthy foods and avoid fast food and processed junk food. Sweets are abundant at this time of the year but limit them as much as possible because they do cause more depression. Admittedly this is a hard task especially at holiday times, but chooses to make yourself a priority. The quality of food you consume does impact your health and also impacts your mood and brain function.
Looking for even more helpful tips to help in your grief? Check out my articles on Pet Loss. Also if you Feel Real Healing is Needed Let Me Communicate With Your Deceased Pet. Check It Out Here.
Love and Light,
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