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Until you have experienced that unexplainable bond with a pet, you cannot truly understand how much it hurts until they are gone. One minute they are there, little paws tip-tapping around the kitchen, trying to steal your slippers and sneaking upstairs to climb on your bed (that was my dog anyway) and the next minute its complete silence. The drive home from the vets without her was possibly the hardest 40 minutes of my life yet, she was my best friend, she had been for 12 years. Everyone experiences grief differently and people often presume that losing a pet is more like loosing an article of clothing than a family member — they are wrong
Death leaves a heartache no one can heal; love leaves a memory no one can steal. — Irish Blessing
During this difficult time, we have to take care of our wellbeing no matter how easy it is to just curl up in a duvet burrito and never leave the sofa. The best way I have found to manage my grief is to connect with those around me that understand my pain and can relate on a personal level but also those who can give you an escape for a few hours and take your mind elsewhere. However, you do not always feel socialising, and that is okay too. Throughout the past week or so I have found it difficult to connect with people in public as seeing other people with dogs that look like my late cocker spaniel is really difficult, but I have found that going out by myself has made this easier. Usually, my dog would be the one to promote me to visit new places or new walks but now I challenge myself to do this every day. This means that I am promoting healthy wellbeing by physically exercising which is known to improve mental wellbeing. By being active and walking or cycling or running you are creating a positive relationship between exercise and the lessening of grief.
Completing activities over the Easter break has allowed me to enjoy my own company and deal with my grief in time. Not worrying how others may react or judge me. If you can learn to enjoy your own company, you can accomplish anything as there is nothing braver than having self-confidence. Learning and discovering new places have been like a remedy as it has helped me to find enjoyment in new places and see that the world is still continuing to move on. Seeing daffodils and tulips growing is a sign of new life and visiting National Trust parks has pushed me to interact with new people as well as learn about historical buildings and periods of time. Taking just a minute out of your day to take notice of something new really helps to improve your daily life. I bought a small plant the day she died, and I have been watering it each day, watching new leaves develop and small buds are beginning to form today. It may seem trivial to some, but to me it means that life does still go on.
I will never forget Macey, as you will never forget your beloved pet.
They were family and will always be family.
Written by Wellbeing Champion Lilly Catwright-Tams
We know these are small steps and there is a lot of support available. This help might not help you, not be enough on its own and is not an alternative to seeking support. If you need further support please visit the student support website