Memories of our Loved Ones
Losing a loved One
Some people may be able to consider animals 'things' or 'tools', but those of us who invited them into our lives as companions and family members feel different.
We see the living creature, we see their soul, we see the love they give us, we see the true and unconditional friendship only an animal seems to be able to offer.
When we lose them, it's like losing a part of yourself! Like a piece is torn out of your heart! The pain and loss seems to tear us apart!
Only those of us who truly loved an animal as a friend and family member, can understand.
While we want to belief that we can love them like our human friends or family, we can't. Not because we don't love them enough, but because deep down inside we were raised with the standards and believes given to us by those around us.
Our love for our animal companions is no less than what it may be towards our human companions; it's just different!
In a way it actually may be stronger!
Maybe, because we know we can love them without holding back, without having to fear disappointment; full of trust and full of the knowledge that no human can give such true love in return!
And in the end the medicine for our grief, for our human- or pet loss, can be very similar.
Some of us decide that we can't fill the spot or 'replace' those we lost and loved.
Others will adopt or rescue another pet and try to fill the emptiness with similar love and looking for the distraction a new pet can offer.
But if one does decide to find a new 'friend', the most important thing is to remember that this new friend cannot replace the one we lost!
It is important to not adopt for the wrong reasons. Animals are very receptive to what we feel and when our frustration kicks in at the disappointment of not being able to replace a lost love, the animal will know and feel the rejection.
It's not a replacement, and can't ever be, but a new life that comes into our homes!
It's important to remember that and allow the new 'friend' to become a truly valued and loved addition to the family.
Especially if it is a rescued animal that has come from a bad situation and has never known anything but rejection of that love it tried to faithfully give to those it considered its 'pack'!
We can't replace the lost ones. Nobody can bring them back to life!
We can either pretend to protect ourselves from future loss by not ever getting another 'friend'; or we can save a life and rescue another one. One we will love for who he/she is; not for the one we lost!
And we can look back and remember...
Remember when you brought your 'friend' home for the first time? Remember your first night together? Remember the things you did?
Having shared a life a pet parent has tons of shared memories; good and bad. The 'pet' will have had memories that may have caused fear of its owner or situations; or created at trust well earned. The parent will remember moments spend together, vacations, trips, walks, talks, fun, games, messes on the carpet, chewed shoes, scratched furniture.
But after one has lost this hopefully long-time friend, the bad things just don't seem that important anymore!
One looks back and remembers the things that made this friendship so special!
An animal's love is unconditional and freely given. We tend to turn to them when we ourselves feel angry, sad, lonesome, down.
Because we know they will listen to us, truly listen. They will feel what we feel and respond with that faithfulness and love to help us heal!
Those shared moments and beautiful memories are a gift that can't be taken away. And while our grief will not go away with the one we lost, those memories can make it lessen and make us value what we had; not what we don't.
And no matter if we do decide to add another 'friend' to our home and family, the most important thing to do is to move forward; and smile at the good things we had!
Some great things were born out of the terrible loss felt over the death of a beloved 'pet'.
Some amazing people have started rescues, foundations, sanctuaries; or simply started volunteering for organizations that help rescue.
If you aren't ready to chose another 'friend' or just don't want to risk falling in love again and losing maybe another, this may the avenue to go.
Especially if you only invite one animal into your life, the choice can be tough. You have to be able to 'click' with each other and know that you are mend to be together. There has to be this connection that too many often just can't see or understand.
Volunteering is a great opportunity to find that connection; and help animals in need while you are doing that!
Others may find the comfort in numbers; they have more than one animal and when one is lost, those others will suddenly become more attached.
Sometimes a cat or dog or else that before wasn't that attached to its parent will suddenly seek its parent out; like it is trying to fill the void and make up for the loss!
It helps bring the family closer together; especially if it is somebody rescuing seniors or those with health conditions that may cause an early death.
But no matter what you decide, remember to move forward; and if you do look back, look back with a smile!