My First Christmas Without You. What Can Help When You Are Grieving an Animal Family Member.Dec 15, 2023
I’m writing this for all of you who have lost a beloved animal recently. I know that many of you have and my heart goes out to you as you prepare to navigate your first Christmas without your loved one physically by your side. Know that I’m thinking of you at this time.
I understand what this is like. I have experienced bereavement myself this year and I have said goodbye to so many loved ones over the past 11 years. I know only too well how it can feel overwhelming to need to prepare for a time of celebration when your heart is full of grief and you would rather have time to process all that has happened.
I thought it might be helpful to share with you some of the things I have found supportive in my own grieving process and what additional things I do at this time of year that help me through the celebrations. We all grieve differently and this is very much based on what has worked for me and what I have found to be helpful to those who have lost an animal.
- Take some time for yourself. This is so important when going through the grieving process. You may find that doing an activity is most helpful, or that sitting by yourself is what is needed in the moment. I go with whatever pulls at my inner knowing and this is most frequently a walk in nature or a quiet time sitting looking at the sea. The important thing is that it is some time just for you, to be able to feel if you want to feel, and think if you want to think, without needing to be there for anyone else.
- Find a way to celebrate your loved one. Missing your animal at Christmas can feel like a hole in your heart. I remember that the first Christmas after losing my horse Amy, I struggled to have photos of her around me. What I did find helpful was choosing a decoration that was just for her. I could look at that and think that I’d done something nice for her. It was so simple, in fact it was conkers and acorns from her field, put together with some pine cones and pine sprigs, but it helped all the same and I found myself remembering nice things about riding her and being out in nature with her.
- Create a memory space. This may include a photo of your loved one or an image that brings you peace. It may include a candle you can light or fairy lights. Mine is fairly simple this year. I have a photo of a rainbow, representing the rainbow bridge, a candle to light, two plants and a ring of mangano calcite tumbled crystals around the base of the candle. Mangano calcite is a stone that I find very helpful when I’m grieving. I light the candle (safely away from animals and children!) and I sit and watch the flame and look at the picture. It is a kind of meditation and I find it very soothing that I have this space dedicated for remembering loved ones.
- Find someone you trust to talk to. This is so important, because grief brings up so many emotions and it can be hard to know how to untangle them sometimes. I have found that talking about loss brings through incredible gifts such as peace, resolution of guilt, deeper understanding of who I am and what my relationship with my animal represented. This brings me strength as I move forwards through the grieving process.
- Healing and animal communication. I’m really fortunate in that I can connect with my beloved animals in spirit. It helps enormously, to know that they are ok and that they can still connect with me. I seek out healing for myself and my own grief, as well as animal communication with the special animals that have passed.
I hope that my methods may help you too. If you would like some compassionate and caring support in navigating your own loss, please do feel that you can reach out to me. I offer specialist animal communication sessions for communicating with Animals in Spirit, as well as Healing sessions to support people who are grieving. You are welcome to book in for a free discovery call, where you can talk to me in total confidence.
I wish you a peaceful Christmas and New Year, with those you love held closely in your hearts.
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