Day three’s topic is the loss of a pet, covered by Chrissie of our Hurstpierpoint branch…
At Freeman Brothers Funeral Directors, we deal with those experiencing bereavement due to the death of a person daily, and many people forget that losing a pet is just as difficult for some people. Experiencing the loss of a family pet is no joke, you grieve just as you would for the death of a human being. Denial, anger, bargaining, depression and finally acceptance are still the same five stages of grief that you have to move through, period.
But this is where the similarities end.
The UK is a nation of animal lovers, yet we still feel the need to keep our emotions ‘in check’ for fear of being ridiculed or thought of as ‘over the top’. There is no outlet for our crazy, understandable emotions; no funeral, no sympathy cards, no counselling, in fact absolutely no acknowledgement from the outside world that your beloved pet ever existed… only the gut-wrenching, emptiness that you feel as you walk around the home that you once shared with your pet.
Remember; grief is personal to you, there is no wrong or right way.
Brown eyes, long eyelashes, fine, long hair, fiery, with a zest for life; please meet Milly, my beautiful wee Yorkie, who sadly passed away last October, a day before her 10th birthday.
We first met when she was just eight weeks old and she scooted up to me and promptly rolled over, expecting a tummy rub – from there on, we were inseparable – she was my shadow. She accompanied me to work, slept by my bed and pretty much ruled the roost.
Milly was an escape artist, she would find the smallest gap and squeeze herself through. Everyone knew Milly. Her escapades were legendary, from running riot on Lindfield Common, jumping into a field soak-away pond, to finding her own way from Ditchling to Lewes.
Her loyalty and love went beyond what you could ever expect from another human. Despite her size, her protectiveness over me was mind blowing; she put herself in harm’s way, without a thought to her own safety – an animal’s instincts and senses are more acute than humans’. Not only do I owe her a lifetime of happy memories, I am indebted to her for saving my life.
After just 2 weeks from being diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, she went from being a healthy, lively dog with an abundance of energy, to not having the ability to walk or eat. The night before she died, she raised her head and licked my face a thousand times, her way her telling me it was ok, she was ready to go.
I was heartbroken.
How can you just be expected to ‘move on’ when you’ve spent the best part of your life with an animal that has not just given you their unconditional love, but has been there to witness the highs and lows of your life? Most of your memories can be attributed to a place and time when you still had your pet around, a comfort blanket, a companion, a reason for getting out of bed, now there is nothing. Death is final.
The bond you shared with your pet is incredibly special and your time spent together should be celebrated. Take time to mourn your loss. Acknowledge that they weren’t simply a ‘pet’ but were part of your family. Share your anguish with your human family and friends, who knows, maybe your openness may give them the strength to reach out when they are facing a difficult time.
Time does heal, be kind to yourself.
Freeman Brothers is celebrating Dying Matters Awareness Week by hosting a series of ‘Big Deal, Small Talk’ events. These are free to attend and open to all who are interested. With events in a variety of locations and at different times, there should be one to suit everyone – you can find details of the events here.
Tel: 01403 254590
If you have an urgent query, please call 01403 254590. This number is answered by one our staff 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This is the quickest way to reach us.
Tel: 01403 785133
25 & 27 Brighton Road
Tel: 01293 540000
126 High Street
Tel: 01273 831497