A co-worker recently made the heart-wrenching decision to euthanize her beloved pet. She posted on Facebook the pet had been her companion for many years, seen her through some tough times, and would be missed but never forgotten. Every time I read a story about the loss of a pet my heart breaks for the surviving pet-parent. Grieving a pet is hard work, and unfortunately, people in our orbits don’t always acknowledge the loss of a pet as a legitimate loss. I feel sorry for those people. Living in these uncertain times the companionship of pets fills lonely and anxious moments while we collectively figure out how to navigate our way through the ravages of a pandemic.
I reached out to my co-worker after the passing of her furry companion. I offered my condolences, and as I often do, told her to take time to grieve. She thanked me and said she didn’t have time to grieve, she needed to leave that for another day, and, after all, death is part of the circle of life. Indeed it is, but we are emotional beings, created by the word and breath of a loving God. Grieving is important.
Those who grieve without permission or acknowledgment from others are referred to as disenfranchised. Even the word is hurtful adding a dimension of pain to the grieving process. No one has the right to determine if our grief is legitimate. God wants us to grieve our tragedies. Each tragedy is important, contributing to our growth, to who we are becoming. Until we draw our last breath we are always becoming a different version of ourselves, for better or worse.
When we set aside grieving for pets or humans we are setting aside their importance in our lives. Grieving honors those who have contributed to our lives. Yeshua (Jesus) grieved the loss of His friend Lazarus, even though He knew Lazarus would rise from the slumber of death and shed his death clothes. Grieving is important.
Animals grieve losses, too. Animals are sentient beings, they experience love, joy, sorrow, and every other human emotion except for hate. I don’t believe animals are capable of hatred, even in the face of hateful and abusive behavior from humans. We witnessed the grief one of our Yorkies experienced following the loss of her littermate and constant companion. Together, we grieved Harley’s loss. Grieving is important.
2020 has been a year of losses, the loss of loved ones, friends, jobs, homes, all because of a new virus. There is much grieving work to be done, don’t put it aside. Grieving is important…..