The emotions involved in losing a pet can be so incredibly intense that people often find themselves fluctuating from normal daily life to deep states of depression. Our pets are part of our routine and we anticipate everything from their greetings when we come home to sleeping with us. A loss can catapult our senses into a state of the unknown and when we experience the extremes of grief we feel as if we are alone and lost. It’s important to understand that these emotional aspects are often felt by many members of the family. One of the best ways to help to get through the process is by joining a pet loss support group.
Grief healing can often be a journey and each one is very personal. Coping with the process can be overwhelming and lonely and pet loss support groups are an excellent way to have therapy with those that understand what you are going through. This is especially important if you have friends or family members that don’t seem to be empathetic to your pain.
The support groups are typically made up of a moderator that helps to guide the group and other people that are feeling the same heartbreak that you are feeling. While everyone’s story is different, you will understand that you all share quite a bit in common. The goal of the group is to offer in-person, online and even telephone support for those that are going through the throws of grief. Support groups help you and anyone within your family to understand and tap into the coping mechanisms that you need.
Many pet parents that have lost their beloved family member may not have ever attended a support group in the past. The emotional turmoil can interrupt our lives, wreak havoc and make us feel as if we are caught up in a never ending tornado of grief. Support groups are there to help in the sharing as well as assist in empowering everyone to feel more grounded. Your first meeting is often the most difficult, as your pain is like an open wound, but be aware that with each succeeding meeting, you will begin to feel a bit better. You will want to make a concerted effort to keep attending and as you do, you will also bond with those that are in the group. Each of you has a story to tell and talking about your pet is part of the grieving process.
As you share within the group you will find that you and others will grasp onto both the happy and sad memories. There will be moments of laughter as you tell the funny stories and then minutes of tears. Within time, you will come to realize that the happy memories begin to replace those of sadness.
Some of the members of your group will contribute with ideas and methods that are helping them get through the loss of their pets. This environment is exceptionally good for you, especially if you are feeling helpless and alone. When we go through an emotional loss we often feel powerless and members of your support group can offer ways to help you and your family cope.