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When Grievers Grieve Differently, Part One On Managing Unpleasant, or Unwanted Advice on Grieving

Wisdom From An Experienced Fur Kid, By Zuzu and her Ma, Pam Baren Kaplan

In my eleven years of Chocolate Labrador-ness, me n’ Ma have encountered a lot of different types of 2-leggers. After my big sister, and angel mentor, Roxy passed, she realized that loving us fur-kids isn’t understood the same way by everyone and making grief even harder to get through. This is just one of the many reasons Ma decided to change career paths and devote herself to helping pet parents.

Today, I’m here to share some of what we, me ‘n Ma learned and how to navigate those “well-meaning,” but maybe unwanted comments and advice from others.

First, keep your chill. Arguing isn’t going to change anything except get you and them more upset. Nothing bothers us kids more than 2-leggers fighting!

Take a deep breath, don’t hyperventilate, and stop to think about what you need to say! This is what we refer to as, “buying time.”

Consider this: Who is giving you advice? Are they close members of the family or friends versus a more casual relationship? In the case of more casual relationships, be polite, be brief, and try to keep the emotions to yourself. Then walk away, don’t stick around for further discussion.

When it’s a close family member or friend, most of the same applies, but we recommend that you go a few steps further. Start by listening to them, hear them out. Take a moment to collect yourself and respond. That’s buying time! Remember reacting will only make this more painful.

Ma has asked me to give you an example of what we mean…

Your partner is frustrated with your longer-than-expected grieving. They tell you, “Enough crying! Can’t you get over it?” This is very hard to hear, it may bring on more tears and even more frustration. Ma tells me that in so many cases, the partner is also grieving but they deal with loss differently, they don’t have the same wiring as you and don’t show their feelings on the outside. They keep them close to the chest. It may well be that they react and become angry because your way is triggering their emotions.

What to do?

Remember this advice, respond like us 4-leggers would, with unconditional love. This means to sit down, be together and calmly let them know where you are right now, that you are in a lot of pain. Explain that you do know they are grieving too but you go about it in different ways. Talk about ways to support each other during this time. Compassion for each other is what is needed to move forward, not pressure on someone else’s timeline. Be patient with each other. When mindfully thought through, it’s amazing how much closer this common thread of grief can actually bring people together.

Thank you for reading this. We hope to share more insight from us fur-kids. This is just one example of many and we're happy to revisit how to handle others. For more insight and getting through grief, can check out our book, Tails of Unconditional Love, Your Journey to the Other Side of Pet Loss Grief (I was instrumental in helping write this, yes I was! And, if you use my special code FUR-KID at checkout, you can get this book/journal for $5 off and free shipping in the US, plus I will personally sign my paw for you!)) Just let us know in the comments.

And, if there are other topics you’d like us to cover, suggest them below.

Until next time, our unconditional love to everyone! It’s contagious! We encourage you to spread this around!


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