Should you have a Pet Memorial Service?
Why should you consider having a pet memorial service, or pet funeral, when a pet passes away? We’re not necessarily talking about anything formal. It can be as simple as a backyard ceremony when burying a pet or a private moment when your pet’s ashes are returned home. But should you have a memorial for your pet?
Losing a pet is a milestone life event no different from losing a human family member. It hurts. It’s difficult to reconcile. Powerful guilt can consume you. Sometimes adopting the proven ritual of honoring a life, just as we do for human beings, can be very helpful.
To many people, a beloved pet is considered to be a family member. When an important pet dies, there is a hard-to-explain vacancy left in the pet parent’s life. Pets follow us around. Some are with us more hours in the day than some people. So it stands to reason that you should feel a larger-than-life hole in your heart when they leave.
The Power of Ritual
Milestone events, including death, deserve to be celebrated in some way. Symbolic traditions rich in history, like a funeral or memorial service, allow us to grieve. They represent a moment in time to acknowledge an important death that will forever change our lives. This moment in time gives us permission to accept what has happened and begin the healing process.
Funerals fulfill a primal need that help you, family, friends and even whole societies by publicly acknowledging that a person or animal companion was important. That they lived. The ritual of memorials allow for contemplation and to begin acceptance; a chance to reconcile an old reality with a new one. It’s a time that allows the bereaved to be seen by those close; to know they are still there. They give time for those close to acknowledge that support is needed in the coming days, weeks, months or years. Especially when it is an beloved pet who is lost.
It is enough reason to hold some kind of ceremony because you are getting ready to go forward in a new life without your beloved pet. Your pet, who was as important to you as any other family member, deserves a dignified goodbye. No matter how casual or elaborate, it matters.
A Pet Memorial Service is healing
Your pet is someone you are going to miss in your life. There will be people who don’t understand why you are broken up about losing your dog, or cat, or bird, or tiny pet. But don’t listen to them. Gain support from those who understand.
When a pet parents deny themselves the chance for a goodbye ritual, they are doing more harm than good. Because you gave yourself permission to grieve during the first stage of grief, you’ll feel better just knowing you did.