Losing Your Best Friend And The Grieving Process© by Dr. Rose Ann Schwab, PhD

 

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Losing Your Best Friend And The Grieving Process© by Dr. Rose Ann Schwab, PhD

Midnight 1991- 2009

 

On February 9, 2009 I lost my best friend and companion. Midnight was my 18 year almost 19 year old (in March) schipperke. In the middle of 2008 she came down with cancer and in December of 2008 she took a turn for the worst. As I look back I remember her as a special and miracle pup. Her mother Ebony was an older AKC schipperke dog that had been breed by her owner then abused in her pregnancy. We took her mother Ebony in and gave her a good loving home. The litter came. All but one pup, midnight was born dead. Midnight was a miracle puppy. She was so small we were not sure she would live, but she fought against all odds to live. Ebony her mother, survived, but would never be able to have pups. She had been breed by the owner against the vets medical advice, that she would not be able to carry or have pups. Ebony was always a very happy looking dog after that and would constantly care for her one miracle child that was born. I had ebony a few more years then she passed on. I loved her like I loved my children. Midnight was a wonderful dog and a blessing. She would always lie next to you, loving you and comfort you in the bad times, and help you get through them. In the good times she was also a joy to have around. When I would take her for a car ride, or walk she would always get excited and do a circle dance. She was always trying to play with other dogs especially large dogs and would jump up in the air into their face to get their attention to play.

 I had a German Shepherd named King and they got along so well, including her mother Ebony until their passing. The 3 dogs were the three musketeers and did everything together. Ebony had to be put down because of a breathing problem about 6 years after we got her, King the German Shepherd had to be put down after 8 years due to cancer in the brain, which left me with Midnight. Midnight survived and had a long life almost 19 years that would have been in March. I deeply loved all my pets through the years because each one has been truly unique and special. Midnight however will always be remembered for her long life and that she was truly a miracle filled with so much love that helped me through the passing of the other special loved companions, but filled my empty life for many years with her unconditional love, her strength and determination to live.

Midnight is now in a better place. Though her spirit is still here to help in my comfort, and her passing, she is still letting me know she still loves me. Midnight is survived by Max a four year German Shepherd who became her best friend and playmate.

I know many of you are animal and pet lovers can relate whether it is a dog, cat, bird, horse or any other God made creators that has become a part of your life and love just like a family member or child. Even though each of us goes through a grieving process, we must embrace the grief whether it is a family member, individual or animal. Know that they truly loved you. If there is any chance if you have pets  to have two so they have a friend and playmate during their life it is much easier on the pet and yourself during the grieving process.

When you go through this loss you may feel empty and numb as if you are in shock. You may notice physical symptoms such as lack of appetite, crying all the time, crying when you talk about them, or even crying bouts throughout the day, trembling, difficulty breathing, nausea, muscle weakness, dry mouth, or trouble sleeping. You may even become angry or have feelings of guilt. When we feel anger it is because we don’t understand why, or anger at God, or the person or animal for even dying. When we feel guilt it is usually when we feel we “could have” “should have” or even “I wish I would have.”

People grieving may also have strange dreams or nightmares, be absentminded, withdraw socially or lack the desire to return to work.  While these feelings and behaviors are normal during your loss they will pass.

Grief will last as long as it take you to accept and learn to live with your loss. For some, grief may last a few months, for others a couple of years and still others may have a longer time. There is no set rule of when an individual should stop grieving. We should never take it upon ourselves to tell or force someone when we feel or we think the grieving process should be done. Each person must heal in their own time. Some may need professional help to move on.  Each person who experiences a death or loss must go through these following stages to heal and move forward. This is when the grieving process is complete.

·        Acknowledge and Accept the loss

·        Work through and feel the physical and emotional pain of the loss or grief

·        Become Adjusted to living in a world without the person, animal or item

·        Move on with your life

 

Remember their physical bodies have died, but their spirit lives on. You can feel them all around you, and they will always remain in your heart. Always embrace the memory of the love and good times you have shared with them. Having pictures around will help bring these good memories and comfort back around you. The pain and loss will lessen in time, but the good memories will always be there. Their spirit will and is always there for you if you open up, embrace and allow their love in.

 

 
   

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