Embracing Grief After the Loss of a Beloved Pet.

I can tell you that I am not yet ready to face the fact that someone (yes, she was a person to me) I love so much is not longer here. It’s been 51 days since I had to say good-bye. I write this with tears in my eyes. Just looking at her in that photo sends me into so much grief. Stoney was such a huge part of my life. We went through a terrible divorce together, me losing 100 lbs and  finding myself, falling in love again, heartbreak…again, raising a teenager, hormones of a teenager, depression, anxiety, happiness, joy, falling in love again and watching her fall for our man. She loved him and he loved her. It was a beautiful bond. I know he misses her almost as much as me.

How I’m dealing with it. Some days, I don’t. Some days the tears just keep coming. And some days they don’t, but the sadness is always there. I never thought I’d miss how she would follow me around the house, herd me out the door for our walks, her little trot, and her huge smile, but I do. I miss them all.

I deal with this sorrow the best way I can. In the beginning, medication was needed. I’m not ashamed to admit it. I needed help. The long sleepless hours of just crying, or crying myself to sleep only to wake up a couple hours later and cry some more because she wasn’t any longer at the end of our bed, I needed help. Lack of sleep takes a toll on the body. Here’s a great article about it. So, take the lack of sleep and horrible eating patterns I was doing, because #funfact : I eat when I’m depressed, and you’ve got yourself a perfect storm for disrupting your natural body rhythm which in turn leads to a lot of inflammation. Inflammation in the body is never a good thing. But, I digress, here’s what I’ve done for coping:

  • drink water (lemon and pink salt to aid in digestion and give you electrolytes in morning, and another 60oz throughout the day)
  • cry. You know you want to. Don’t hold back those tears. Crying lets out the emotions and completes the stress cycle, in turn, releasing you from storing it for a later date (which in women, can show up as weight gain)
  • exercise. Even if it’s just a sad walk where you still do a lot of crying. I hate to admit it, but exercise helps. Another good read of all the whys.
  • meditate. I haven’t done too much of this and I know I should do more. Meditation does help calm the stressors and help you focus. It always ends up with me crying.
  • journaling. This is probably one of the best (for me anyways). Just writing this post has been cathartic. I’ve cried, I’ve laughed and I’ve processed a little more of the loss of my sweet girl.
  • eat good. I know that some of us won’t want to eat at all, but for those of us that grab the first thing they see and shove it in their faces, this ones for you. That bag of chips, pint of Ben and Jerry’s, box of cookies, processed meal, fried foods, etc, aren’t doing you any favors. For your mental health or your gut. This is the one I struggle with the most and sometimes fail. It’s ok. Don’t beat yourself up. Have your next meal be nutrient dense and lots of greens. You will notice a difference in how you feel and even how you talk to yourself.

These are things that I’ve done and I hope it helps if you ever find yourself in this situation. I do not wish it upon anyone. I’ve lost my best friend. I struggle, every day. I only made it 9 days before I had to rescue another dog. I needed to love something that would love me back just as hard. She’s laying here in my office to the right of me while I write this post. Her name is Sugar, because she’s so sweet. She is not my Stoney Girl, but she loves me hard and knows when I need her the most. For that, I am grateful. She also allows me to grieve and makes me laugh. She’s a puppy still, only a little over a year old. So much training still. And that’s ok.

Sugar will never take the place of Stoney. But I’ve made a lifetime commitment to her to love and protect her and I know I’ll get all that sweet love in return. However you grieve, give yourself grace and don’t let anybody tell you to “just get over it”. Give yourself time. Love yourself through the process. Treat yourself well and remember to keep living for you. This is the only life we’ve got, make the most of it.

In health,

Heather Z the NTP