Do not underestimate how deeply the loss of our animal loved ones can affect us. Our loved one is a part of our identity. We are everything to him. We are a part of each other — even when we are apart, we are connected.
Our loved one is interwoven with the details of our daily life. She is the witness and partner in our life story. She anchors us amid the confusion and complexity of life.
Our loved one offers us extreme acceptance and loyalty. He sees parts of us that others may not see. We feel safe with him, and allow him to see deeply into our soul.
When we lose our loved one, it can uproot our life from the core of our self to the tiny details of everyday life. We can feel lost, empty, and painfully alone. We might fall into despair about the fragile nature of life, the cruel unfairness of aging and death, and the slipping away of time. Everyday life can seem wrong, off, imbalanced. Our routine has been changed. Our companion is missing at each step of our day.
There is no right or wrong way to feel. It is normal to feel fine and even relieved one moment, and collapsed with sadness and disorientation the next.
There is no time frame for how long we are focused on the loss — it may be days and it may be months. Comparisons with other types of loss, or with how other people deal with losing an animal, are not helpful.
Our grief is what it is, and other people’s grief is what it is.