A Letter to Those Coping with the Loss of a Pet

By Melissa

Dear stranger,

I know what it’s like.

Nothing is the same and every corner of your home is full of emptiness.

You miss the feeling of them curled up beside you and the comforting warmth of their body next to yours.

You miss hearing them perk up as soon as you walk through the front door.

You miss the days when they would follow you around the house, patiently waiting to be loved.

The grief is crippling. Everything will remind you of them, to the point where you might avoid being at home.

You’ll think you hear them meowing. You’ll think you hear the pads of their feet softly walking across the floors at night. You might even wake up from a dream, thinking that they are right there beside you.

They aren’t. They won’t return. I’m sorry.

As young adults, we continue to grow older and older — but we sometimes ignore that everything around us is getting older too. Our parents, our friends, our professors — our pets.

Losing a pet is like losing part of your childhood. Your young playful innocence is gone as your world changes.

And, no one seems to talk about it. Our society doesn’t acknowledge the difficulty of losing the friend that was always by your side.

Your pet taught you to love something other than yourself. Your pet taught you to be responsible. And now your pet is teaching you how to overcome and deal with grief.

It’s fine to scream. It’s fine to cry and hit a tree with a baseball bat.

But, you must recognize that acceptance of loss is the hardest to overcome.

In this life, you are going to lose things, pets, friends, and family. Losing a pet is difficult, but it prepares you for the hardships to come.

I recently lost my beloved cat… I know what it’s like. It will be okay. What I’ve come to realize is that the tears I’ve shed and my moments of pure anger are preparing me for worse. I’m coming out of this stronger than I was before.

Remember that even though you’ve shared so much of your life with them, it’s time to move forward. Time will go by and the pain will fade. All your pet wants for you is happiness, so try to find that despite their absence.

Sincerely,

A grieving student

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