Coping with grief

I wrote at the weekend about the challenge of saying goodbye. Then it was about having to hand back two little gerbils that I had been looking after. Tonight I am in the same place again only this time I have had to say goodbye to my little gerbil Stewie.

After four years together, which means he was a great age for a gerbil, I arrived home to find he had passed away in his sleep. About three months ago I thought we were going to lose him but he perked up and despite his great age was happy right through to this morning when I said goodbye and went to work.

A large number of us share our lives with animals and have some form of pet that we enjoy spending time with. It doesn’t matter whether that is a dog or cat, parrot, horse or gerbil they all have a special place in our lives and our hearts. My gerbils have all been rescued and I know that we can give them a happy life so that they always feel wanted.

Our pets become an important part of our families and they give us love and make us smile. They ask for very little back from us other than to receive care, attention and some love. Animals teach us so much about life and what is important. They value the simple things in life, and that is something that we would all benefit from doing.

They give us years of love, laughs and some headaches but in the end we feel the heartache and pain of the loss. Even when we know we have a lot to be grateful for and we know we did all we could to help them, it is still a time of tears, grief and reviewing what we did in those final days or hours. The grieving process is the same whether it is an animal or person; we go through the same phases.

Despite the pain I am feeling and the big loss that we have suffered, I know that we would not have changed a thing. I would not have been without Stewie and his brother Brian who we sadly lost a year ago this week. I know this pain will reduce in the coming days and weeks, and I will be able to look back on the photographs with smiles and not tears. But tonight I am sad and grieving.

Make the most of the time you have with the people and animals that share your life and shower them with love and hugs right now while you have them close.


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