The Grief and Growth of Loss


Losing  a pet is nearly  always  a  painful  thing. They  were  a member  of  our  family  who is  no longer  with  us.  This  death of a pet leaves a void, an emptiness  that  will  leave us forever  changed. I’ve  heard  those  who say they  will never  have  another  pet. That it is too  much pain  to go  through  again. Or that  they could  never  replace  their  beloved  with  another. Of course  they  can’t. That’s  not  the  point.

I don’t  understand  these  people. That’s  ok, they probably  don’t  need  for  me  to  understand  them. I  try  to  reframe the  loss of death  in a different  perspective. The  void that death leaves  is a gift  in a way. We were  blessed  to  have  a  presence  in  our  life  that  was so great  and  so valued that  it was capable  of  leaving  such  a   void. Over  time  the pain lessens. It becomes  less sharp and  eventually  becomes  more of an emptiness. But this emptiness  one day  begins to fill with  wonderful  memories. These  memories  will  be with us forever.

I  feel  that  it is  a  tribute  to  our lost one to some day  have  another  pet. Of course  they  do  not  replace  the  one  who  has  gone  before. They are a new being  that offers  their own  gifts. I feel  that  it would  be  selfish  of me to never have  another. Love  should  be  shared  with  the  living  who can  benefit. The love that  I  shared with  previous  pets, like  my beloved  Duncan pictured above, was such a wonderful  thing that  I  want  to  have  something  similar  with  another. Even  when Duncan  was still  alive I called him the greatest  love  of my life. Our bond was so meaningful  and  strong  that  I  recognized  it even  then.

I’ve  heard  people  say “I can’t  get over the loss  of (insert  name).” I’m  not  sure  that  I  want  to  get  over  such  a  loss. Pain does indeed  lessen but pain also  shows the  importance  of  what  was  lost. If I  didn’t  have  a great  love, I wouldn’t  suffer  a great  loss. Needing  to  recover  from this  pain and  fill  a void  makes the  loved one become  a  part of you  forever. And  with  each  memory  that  is melded  into  my heart, it mends. With each addition  my heart  grows. Until  one day I hope  my heart  will  be big enough  to  be filled  with  nothing  but love . This  is  the  legacy  and  tribute  that I want  to  leave  to the  ones  who have  gone  before.