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Surviving the Holidays After the Loss of a Pet, AKA, The Worst Firsts

Holidays and grief.

It does not matter if you are grieving the loss of a beloved pet or person, these occasions can be brutal and may trigger your own personal emotional tidal wave… especially in the first year following the passing of your love, you may even find yourself dreading the holiday season.

I call these first twelve lunar cycles, "The Worst Firsts.”

These worst firsts are all the reminders that your love is not physically here. They are triggers that bring on a tidal wave of emotions. Songs on the radio, a commercial with a pet that looks just like... and old habits such as, finding yourself in the pet food aisle at the grocery store and remembering this is no longer an item on your list.

So, let's focus on getting through this time of year, Halloween all the way through New Years'. Every year without fail, there is a slew of parties and gatherings that emerge reminding you that your love is not here to share in the festivities. These times are important because this is when you made so many fantastic memories. You come to the hard realization that no more new memories will be made with your love. It’s ruff and downright depressing! It isn't the same anymore.

In my professional experience, to move toward the other side of pet loss grief, we need to accept this reality. You may not like it, but truth be told, I have to give it to you straight, the world is going to continue on with or without you. The pain of loss thrives in stagnancy. Your love would not want to see you stuck in that dark place.

How Do We Navigate The Ruff Waters of The Worst Firsts?

This is going to take planning, practice, and courage. Each time you go head-on with that Emotional Tidal Wave you get stronger and more confident! You realize that something is different, and you are beginning to find your balance!

So What Is The Plan? Let’s Huddle!

You have options. You always do.

You could…hibernate, go off radar during the holidays, and have your own lonely, depression-packed self-pity party. But what does that get you? A deep dive downward is not the direction best for getting to the other side. And primarily, it doesn’t feel good at all! have the option of doing something mindfully positive to celebrate the memory of your loved one. Make a new memory in their honor. You don’t need to show your respect with sorrow and devastation! Just the opposite, show your respect and unconditional love by celebrating their life. It may be ruff at first, even bittersweet, but how good could this feel for you, your family, and your friends? Think about the possibility of not dreading the holidays.

A Few Ideas to Get You Thinking

1. Dedicate the day to your love.

2. Create a new tradition that you can repeat year after year!

3. If you have children, include them! Ask for their advice, "How should we honor Fluffy?"

4. Include the entire family and friends who knew your pet.

  • Pull out the photos and let everyone tell their tails from their perspective. You may learn something wonderful you never knew before! You will want to document these tails for looking back year after year, a legacy of love!

  • From the kids to the parents or next-door neighbor, each person retains their version of the love story! Let it flow!

5. Allow the season or time of year to guide your choices!

  • Maybe it's a "memorial walk" to your loves favorite places and stop for a moment and say a few words, even a moment of silence is beautiful!

  • During the winter holidays make a donation to a shelter, and purchase toys or bedding to help keep those kitties and puppies cozy and warm.

  • One of my favorite Spring tributes is to create a Memory Garden and plant perennials such as Forget Me Nots! These flowers come up each spring/summer. What a beautiful way to acknowledge a yearly remembrance!

6. Being a professional pet loss grief counselor and life coach, I have the knowledge, experience, and training that many do not possess. I have clients worldwide that I work with via mobile or Zoom or Facebook Messenger. I have helped many grieving pet parents find their way to the other side of pet loss grief. Contact me by phone, contact form on this page, via email, or via Facebook Messenger. I can help you get to the other side of grief.

7. Purchase a copy of my Amazon Best Selling book, Tails of Unconditional Love, Your Journey to the Other Side of Pet Loss Grief right here. It is a book specifically written for and about grieving the loss of your pet. Use this special code at checkout for $5 off. LOVE2022

8. If you aren't already a member of the Paws to Celebrate Pack, please consider becoming a part of the family:

I am sure there are so many more memorial activities you can come up with. No limits, allow creativity to guide you!

This is an act of unconditional love. We do this to celebrate the life of our loved ones, and to lift our spirits. This is the mindful practice that helps us get through to the other side of grief.

I'd love to hear from you! Let me know what you do to honor and celebrate your loved one.

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