Susie_Squillions


COMPARING GRIEF FOR ANIMAL FRIENDS TO GRIEF FOR HUMANS

 

I wrote this in 2004 or 5 (I added the copyright in 2005) after being at the forum for a few months and hearing from several people that they felt more helpless after losing their animals than they did after losing a human friend or family member. 

Last winter I lost everything in my computer to a serious crash.  Well, "crash" isn't exactly what happened.  Cat hair fried my computer.  The hard drive was totally destroyed.  I now keep a can of compressed air to clean the cat hair out of my CPU every few months. ;-)

I was especially sorry to have lost my
RainbowsBridge files, and have tried to recover as many as I could through internet searches.  This was one that eluded me for a long time.  I finally did a search on the last line, "Love is love, loss is loss, and grief is grief. Period." and this came up right away.  Thankfully a friend had shared it on her blog.  Hooray for RB friends!  I hope it will help someone today. 

COMPARING GRIEF FOR ANIMAL FRIENDS TO GRIEF FOR HUMANS
~
Susan "Susie Squillions" Lynch © 2005

So many times, I have read a post in which someone says that they feel guilty because they grieve more intensely for their animal family members than they did for their human family members. There are several reasons why so many of us feel that way, and I would like to explain them here.

First, our animals love us and accept us under any circumstances. It doesn’t matter if we are happy, sad, angry; rich or poor; living in a mansion or a shack; in the best of health or not. They love and accept us under any conditions, and they never tell us to change. They are with us 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 52 weeks a year. They never give us advice, and they don’t criticize us. All they ever do is love us and hope that we love them.

Another thing that adds to the intensity of our grief is that we are 100% responsible for our animal family members. Our human family members can tell the doctors where it hurts or feels wrong, but our animals can't. It's up to us to notice when something is not right, and to get them in for treatment. When we do take them in, we (and the vets) have a lot of work to do trouble shooting the symptoms most of the time, and that isn't easy when the patient can't tell us what their symptoms are. When you add to that the fact that our animals frequently aren't themselves in the stressful environment of the vet clinic, it can take longer to diagnose the condition.

As animals, one of their greatest survival instincts is to hide any signs of illness or injury so as not to appear weak. For that reason, we often don't know anything is wrong until it's too late. We feel as if we've failed them somehow, and that feeling adds to the grief. The fact is, we did not fail them. We did the best we could with the information and resources we had at the time. Our animals know that we would have done anything to help them, and they know the love we had for them.

In addition to that, when we lose a precious family member, everyone understands why we grieve, and they don't put a time limit on it. Too often, people don't understand why we grieve for our animals beyond the early days. They tell us we should "get over it" and "move on." Did you ever hear that from a family member, friend, or co-worker when you lost your parents? Probably not. Losing our animal family members is a very intimate experience that few others (outside of this forum) understand fully.

Our furries loved us no matter what. All they ask is that we accept their love and treat them with kindness. There is no reason for anyone to feel guilty for the intensity of their grief under any circumstances. Grief is different for each of us, and it's different each time we have to face it. Those of us who have lost precious family members and then have had to face the loss of an animal family member are faced with the same depth of grief, but with fewer people who understand. We feel more alone in the loss of an animal. The fact is: Love is love, loss is loss, and grief is grief. Period.

In one of the stars, I shall be living. In one of them, I shall be laughing. And so it will be as if all the stars were laughing when you look at the sky at night. -- The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupery

All tears are healing tears.  They help to wash away our sorrow and allow the first buds of happiness to blossom in our hearts. -- Susie "Squillions"

.T.J.'S RESIDENCY: http://RainbowsBridge.com/residents/TJ006/Resident.htm
.BUDDY GUY AYRES~LYNCH'S RESIDENCY: http://www.rainbowsbridge.com/residents/Buddy128/resident.HTM
.KING BING THE GOD CAT'S RESIDENCY: http://rainbowsbridge.com/residents/BINGO009/Resident.htm
.
A fresh start after 947 posts. March 7th, 2011. I've been coming to this wonderful site since April 6, 2004.
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Grieving4Zack
Thank you for posting this. Until I had read this and another similar article, I couldn't understand why the pain I felt for the loss of my beagle was so intense and raw. When I lost my grandfather and uncle the pain was there, but not as intense and all consuming.

I hope others read this and also understand that what they are going through is ok for their situation and not to rush anything or judge their reactions.
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Bellamum
What a great article.  It's a pity that the people who just don't understand what we are going through and who play down our feelings aren't reading this.

I knew I felt this way and sometimes I felt a "bad" when I thought about my feelings of grief at losing Bella compared to when I lost my grandparents and uncles and cousins.  It was making me feel like a bad person for seeming to value an animal over a person, because I knew that some other people made judgements about my level of grief.

Reading this has given an explanation for my feelings.  I knew that the depth of grief I was experiencing after losing Bella was far greater than when I lost people family members, but I didn't quite understand why - I just knew that was how I felt.

Once again, this forum gives us reassurance that we are "normal" - thank goodness!

Karen
(Bella and Charli's very lucky mum)
"You were once by our side, but you will be forever in our hearts. Until we meet again baby girl." 
Karen
(Bella, Charli and Buddy's very lucky mum)

My gorgeous girl, Bella  26/07/2004 - 03/04/2014
"You were once by our side, but you will be forever in our hearts. Until we meet again baby girl."
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BijouxMom
Thank you for this article, I lost my fur baby last week and I just cannot get myself
Together and couldn't figure out why till I read this.
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Susie_Squillions
Thank you so much for your replies.  I'm so comforted to know that this little piece helped you in some way. 

I'm wishing all of you continued healing as you work through the process of recovering.  xoxo
In one of the stars, I shall be living. In one of them, I shall be laughing. And so it will be as if all the stars were laughing when you look at the sky at night. -- The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupery

All tears are healing tears.  They help to wash away our sorrow and allow the first buds of happiness to blossom in our hearts. -- Susie "Squillions"

.T.J.'S RESIDENCY: http://RainbowsBridge.com/residents/TJ006/Resident.htm
.BUDDY GUY AYRES~LYNCH'S RESIDENCY: http://www.rainbowsbridge.com/residents/Buddy128/resident.HTM
.KING BING THE GOD CAT'S RESIDENCY: http://rainbowsbridge.com/residents/BINGO009/Resident.htm
.
A fresh start after 947 posts. March 7th, 2011. I've been coming to this wonderful site since April 6, 2004.
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Dpb
This was well said. I never knew it could hurt so much. The pain is like no other. I lost my Rocko 3 weeks ago, and the pain is worse than ever.
Dpb
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Susie_Squillions
I'm so sorry to hear about our loss, Dpb, but I am comforted to know you have found your way to this wonderful forum.  it has truly been a Godsend to so many people with broken hearts.  Please come back and tell us all about the wonderful memories you hold close to your heart now.  It helps to tell others about our bridge kids and all the things that made them so special to us.
In one of the stars, I shall be living. In one of them, I shall be laughing. And so it will be as if all the stars were laughing when you look at the sky at night. -- The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupery

All tears are healing tears.  They help to wash away our sorrow and allow the first buds of happiness to blossom in our hearts. -- Susie "Squillions"

.T.J.'S RESIDENCY: http://RainbowsBridge.com/residents/TJ006/Resident.htm
.BUDDY GUY AYRES~LYNCH'S RESIDENCY: http://www.rainbowsbridge.com/residents/Buddy128/resident.HTM
.KING BING THE GOD CAT'S RESIDENCY: http://rainbowsbridge.com/residents/BINGO009/Resident.htm
.
A fresh start after 947 posts. March 7th, 2011. I've been coming to this wonderful site since April 6, 2004.
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Rudytoot
Susie,
You are so right about this.  A day doesn't go by that I don't think about being with Rudy in Heaven.  I think about laying in the grass with him where the light from God is so bright.   I can smell the flowers blooming and the birds are singing.   I miss him so very much.
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Tankie12
Susie_Squillions wrote:


COMPARING GRIEF FOR ANIMAL FRIENDS TO GRIEF FOR HUMANS

 

I wrote this in 2004 or 5 (I added the copyright in 2005) after being at the forum for a few months and hearing from several people that they felt more helpless after losing their animals than they did after losing a human friend or family member. 

Last winter I lost everything in my computer to a serious crash.  Well, "crash" isn't exactly what happened.  Cat hair fried my computer.  The hard drive was totally destroyed.  I now keep a can of compressed air to clean the cat hair out of my CPU every few months. ;-)

I was especially sorry to have lost my
RainbowsBridge files, and have tried to recover as many as I could through internet searches.  This was one that eluded me for a long time.  I finally did a search on the last line, "Love is love, loss is loss, and grief is grief. Period." and this came up right away.  Thankfully a friend had shared it on her blog.  Hooray for RB friends!  I hope it will help someone today. 

COMPARING GRIEF FOR ANIMAL FRIENDS TO GRIEF FOR HUMANS
~
Susan "Susie Squillions" Lynch © 2005

So many times, I have read a post in which someone says that they feel guilty because they grieve more intensely for their animal family members than they did for their human family members. There are several reasons why so many of us feel that way, and I would like to explain them here.

First, our animals love us and accept us under any circumstances. It doesn’t matter if we are happy, sad, angry; rich or poor; living in a mansion or a shack; in the best of health or not. They love and accept us under any conditions, and they never tell us to change. They are with us 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 52 weeks a year. They never give us advice, and they don’t criticize us. All they ever do is love us and hope that we love them.

Another thing that adds to the intensity of our grief is that we are 100% responsible for our animal family members. Our human family members can tell the doctors where it hurts or feels wrong, but our animals can't. It's up to us to notice when something is not right, and to get them in for treatment. When we do take them in, we (and the vets) have a lot of work to do trouble shooting the symptoms most of the time, and that isn't easy when the patient can't tell us what their symptoms are. When you add to that the fact that our animals frequently aren't themselves in the stressful environment of the vet clinic, it can take longer to diagnose the condition.

As animals, one of their greatest survival instincts is to hide any signs of illness or injury so as not to appear weak. For that reason, we often don't know anything is wrong until it's too late. We feel as if we've failed them somehow, and that feeling adds to the grief. The fact is, we did not fail them. We did the best we could with the information and resources we had at the time. Our animals know that we would have done anything to help them, and they know the love we had for them.

In addition to that, when we lose a precious family member, everyone understands why we grieve, and they don't put a time limit on it. Too often, people don't understand why we grieve for our animals beyond the early days. They tell us we should "get over it" and "move on." Did you ever hear that from a family member, friend, or co-worker when you lost your parents? Probably not. Losing our animal family members is a very intimate experience that few others (outside of this forum) understand fully.

Our furries loved us no matter what. All they ask is that we accept their love and treat them with kindness. There is no reason for anyone to feel guilty for the intensity of their grief under any circumstances. Grief is different for each of us, and it's different each time we have to face it. Those of us who have lost precious family members and then have had to face the loss of an animal family member are faced with the same depth of grief, but with fewer people who understand. We feel more alone in the loss of an animal. The fact is: Love is love, loss is loss, and grief is grief. Period.



I wanted to *awaken* your thread- thank you for this🐾,,,,,
Lynn, Tankie’s mom, forever
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