Dear Reverend K,
My dog, Lambert, died two weeks today ago from cancer. I did everything I could to save her and I thought I’d feel better by now!
But I don’t. I cry all the time and feel lonely and scared without her. I never felt this way before and don’t know what to do. What makes it worse is that my family and “friends” just keep saying things like “just get another dog,” or “she’s better off where she is.” I don’t want another dog. I want my Lambert back, and I want to stop crying. Can you help me, please! Thank you so very much, Cheryl M., Jamaica Plain, MA
Thank you for your letter. I’m very sure you miss Lambert deeply. Could you send us a picture of her and a few words about how special she is? We’d love to put her picture in the magazine and on our Pet Page (animaltalksinc.com/petpage) so the world can see her. That would make us happy. And maybe help you feel a bit better? I’m sure your friends and family are trying to help. No one likes to see someone they love in pain and unhappy. They probably just don’t know what to say, and your hurt and tears may be confusing them, so they say things like “let it go,” or “just get another dog.” But they love you and for now I think it's best to spend time with people, friends who do understand your loss and confusion. Family often are not the best people to turn to for support in times like these. Right now you don’t want to “let go” of Lambert and all the memories of her, and the ways you loved each other. And you shouldn’t! Don’t even try, ok? Don’t rush your grieving process, Cheryl. Don’t try to push your sadness away. You’re sad because you loved Lambert and your tears are telling you that. Right? You need more time to work on healing your hurt. And you deserve it. For as long as you need. Here are some things I hope might help soften the pain: • Try to be only with friends that support you and know how much you love Lambert. • Try to remember and share all the good times you and Lambert had together. Not just the end. • Remember when you first brought her home? What was that like? • Perhaps your first Christmas together and the goofy things she did? • Did she ever eat too much cake and get sick? • Yes, you’ll cry and laugh at the same time, but remembering her whole life with you, you’ll have
taken a big step to feeling better. Right now the best thing is to let yourself feel what you’re feeling and cry as much as you want.
One very helpful thing to do is to tell the story of you and Lambert as often as you want to caring friends. Or write down all the things you remember. That can ease the pain and give your mind and heart a chance to catch up with what happened. Stories also can help to get your feelings out of you and can give you a “grief break” which you need from time to time. Maybe something in our ebook, A Journey Through Pet Loss and Grief (www.animaltalksinc.com/ebooks) might help comfort you. Take a look.
Please stay in touch and let us know how you’re doing, OK, Cheryl? Blessings and Hope, Rev K
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