The death of your pet can, for many people, be equivalent to losing a family member. The resulting emotional turmoil is often not recognised in a western society that largely shuns grief, especially when it comes to the loss of an animal.
It is important to accept that for you the grief of losing your pet is very real and is something that you need to work your way through, as with any loss. There are many articles available on the 5 stages of grief: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance.
Memorialisation forms an important part of the acceptance stage of the grieving process. This is true even if the pet has been cremated and its ashes scattered. Memorialisation gives a focus and reference point for the happy memories of your pet that are so important to moving through the grieving process. Time can be spent at a memorial reflecting on your relationship with the pet and re-enforcing the positive memories you have of your pet. This act of re-enforcing positive memories is a well accepted coping strategy when it comes to death and loss.
The memorial also provides a place that communicates in a real way the importance that your pet had to you and the strength of your relationship to your pet. This can assist, without the need for verbalisation, in communicating the loss you feel to your loved ones. In doing this they are more easily able to recognise and accept the feeling of grief you have as being real and significant in your life and so provide to you the love and support that you require.
Memorialisation adds a sense of permanence to a pet’s life by ensuring that memories are perpetuated. A pet forms an important part of your life and history and a memorial lasts through time to future generations, helping them to understand your life and what was important to you in your journey.
In summary, in what seems to be an ever hardening world it is vital for you to recognise the emotional role that your pet can play in your life and therefore the sense of loss and grief that are natural when it passes. You may also like to consider if for you a memorial to your pet may provide you with a focus point and testimonial to your pet that may assist in your journey through grief to acceptance.