Holiday Grief

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Today, I would like to discuss a thought on grief.

It seems everyone realizes that grief is about the experience of loss, however, this loss isn’t always the same.

Grief doesn’t have to mean death. It could be someone grieves their loss of home, youth, marriage, or life as they once remembered (think empty nesters).

On the flip side, and what I kind of want to focus on today, is when grief does mean the loss of a life, but in this case not a human life.

As the holidays approach, I would like to remind everyone that the loss of an animal is also a great cause for grief. I think we need to be more mindful of people going through these types of losses.

I hear people (and I’ve been guilty of this myself in the past) kind of snicker when someone is grieving a pet. They may think to themselves that it’s not like they experienced a “real loss- it’s not like they’re human”. The truth is, they have.

Some people only have their pets as companions. Some people may not have been able to have children and so their pets are their children. Sometimes pets are the only family members they have. Others, the pet is their best friend. Perhaps the pet was their children’s best friend and so it’s another member of the family. Not everyone feels that way and that’s okay. What’s not okay is not acknowledging the person’s grief who did lose a furry friend.

Think about the commercials for a moment. I see just as many people getting puppies on Christmas type of commercials as I do engagement ring commercials. That’s how prevalent animals are to our lives. Cats or dogs are often a child’s first friend.

I guess my point is to encourage everyone this holiday season to remember their friend’s who’ve lost pets. They are struggling just as much as people who’ve lost people or relationships and sometimes that can be overlooked. Remind them that it’s okay to feel their grief without shame.

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