The beauty of death….
Why am I even talking about this? What, if anything, can be beautiful when an animal dies? You must know that all three of my old cats passed away within a time span of only five months last year. As you can imagine, that was a lot to process.
Did I grieve? Yes, absolutely! Do I miss them? Yes! What makes anything about this experience beautiful and meaningful?
Let me try to explain: The one thing that I have learned in my relationship with animals is that I am completely and totally committed to maintaining connection!
For me the relationship with my pets does not end with the death of the physical body.
This being said I do not want to convince you to believe this.
It’s not about avoiding grief, sorrow or devastation. It’s about creating a sacred space for the end of life. When we receive a terminal diagnosis for our pet, many of us - at least initially - experience a state of shock, trepidation, depression and an anticipation of pain.
All of these emotions need to be acknowledged. Fully. And the process of dying can be a roller coaster for both you and your pet.
So what can you do before things get tough?
Consider having logistics in place before the active phase of dying. You might want to have phone numbers and references ready way ahead of time such as pricing of euthanasia, cremation, after hour services, in-home veterinary services and so on. You might also consider having extra pain relief, comfortable beds, heating pads and the likes on hand and a quiet space for your pet if you have a busy household.
These are just a few examples of the many variables that may occur.
So what is the beauty of death?
For me it means that I love my pet with all my heart and even more so at the time of their sunset and that I remain present with them. Most of my own pets came to me as seniors, often from a shelter environment. Usually I don’t know how they grew up, where they were born and what happened during the early years of their life. During hospice I do a life review with them and create a bucket list if there is enough time.
In the life review, I share with my pets my imagination of
To prepare gently, deliberately and peacefully for the end of our pet’s earthly journey- as gut wrenching as it is at times - can be one of the greatest gifts.
Pet's Point of View LLC
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Photo Credits: Kristin Zabawa, Malcolm Pullen, Nancy Yamin