Dear Friend

© 1998, Juliet Brown

Dear Friend,

You have just experienced a most terrible loss. The relationship you had with your beloved pet was unique and special. You shared intimate times, both happy and sad, and now there is a gap in your life where once the presence of your precious friend warmed your heart and brightened your days. How many of us have faced such a loss which, at the time, seems insurmountable? Your grief, intense and perfectly valid, may be misunderstood – even ridiculed – by those around you. But there are people who understand the pain, the disorientation and devastation, of losing a treasured animal companion. You are not alone.

Allow yourself to feel whatever you are feeling – no matter how painful, or irrational it may seem to you. This is the best way to work through your grief. As you allow yourself to remember the good and bad times, the agony will slowly begin to recede and the memory of the joys you shared with your treasured pet will begin to shine through. Right now, that may feel like a long, long time away. The intensity of your pain and sorrow is testimony to the love you had for your pet – he or she will always hold a special place in your heart.

You may pass through an incredible range of emotions – guilt, anger, denial, depression being among them. This is completely normal. Perhaps the most important thing to remember is to be good to yourself. You have just suffered a devastating loss and it will take time to try to come to terms with it – to work through the emotions until the pleasure of having shared your pet’s life overcomes the agony of the separation. Be kind and patient with yourself; avoid those who don’t understand. In time, when you are feeling stronger, you may want to explain to them why your grieving was natural, to honour your animal friend. But for now, nurture yourself. You may want to work through your grief sitting alone or with a close friend, in places that were special to you and your pet. You may also want to do some things in memory of him or her.

Most of all, do whatever feels right for you. Those close to you will probably take their lead from you – try not to hide your devastation. If you loved your pet so much in life, it is natural to grieve for him or her in death. Grief, though so painful, is the way through a dark tunnel to healing. Allow it to do its work.

Friend, you are a beautiful person because you have taken the time to love and understand another creature. Now, allow yourself to mourn that precious life and to remember all the joys that you shared in your unique relationship. Please don’t rule out having another pet – he or she won’t replace your beloved friend, but will be a testimony to the treasure who has gone from you. Another animal will say to your friend who has gone ‘Sharing my life with you taught me about the delight I receive when I share my life with another creature. You have taught me something of the nature of love’.

Take care, my friend.

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