When the Holidays Trigger Your Grief

When the Holidays Trigger Your Grief

Holiday season is almost upon us, with Thanksgiving just around the corner and Christmas soon to follow. During the holidays, everyone wishes that you be merry and bright, but the season can also bring with it the reminder of the loss of your pet, triggering all of the grief you felt when you first lost your best friend.

Losing Your Pet During the Holidays

Your grief is most likely to be triggered if your pet passed during a previous holiday season. We lost Chloe in the middle of December and because she was sick for a while, we weren’t feeling very festive that year to begin with. We stayed away from holiday parties and kept our own festivities very low key. It was, of course, not the same without her after she passed. If you find yourself feeling low and overwhelmed by the memories, it’s okay to say no to that cocktail party or the big New Year’s Eve bash. Yes, the holidays are about friends and family, but they will definitely want you to take care of you. And even if you didn’t lose your pet during the holiday season, it can still trigger thoughts and memories that make us melancholy. That’s okay too. Allow yourself to grieve, and then consider a way you can honor your pet at this time of year.

Honoring Your Pet During the Holidays

Like many pet parents, I hang Christmas stockings on our fireplace mantel for our pets. When Chloe was still alive, that meant three stockings for all three pets, and her stocking was always in the middle (she was always the boss!). When she passed, the stockings were already up, and though it made me sad to know that she wouldn’t be around to check what was in the stocking, it was also a comfort to me to see it still there. So now, to honor her life, I always hang three stockings, and the middle one is always for her. It’s a nice way to remember that she was a part of our family and always will be. You can honor your pet in any way that has meaning to you: light a candle for him or her, leave out some treats along with the cookies for Santa, or hang a special ornament on the tree.

It’s Okay to Grieve and It’s Okay to Be Merry

Your pet knows you loved her or him with all of your heart and that you still do. You’re absolutely allowed to say, “Bah Humbug!” to the holidays if they make you sad. But you’re also allowed to acknowledge the grief, let it pass, and be merry this holiday season. Celebrating life is one of the best ways you can honor anyone who has passed away.

Love & Peace This Holiday Season.