What to expect from grief
The early days after Mo’s death really were almost unbearable. When I woke up in the mornings, I just wanted to cry, and mostly did. There were times when part of me felt that I wished I had died with her. It felt as though part of my very soul had gone with her and a light had gone out.
Sometimes I just wanted to run away from it, or sleep so that I couldn’t feel it. I went through periods of putting all of Mojo’s things out of sight as I found it so upsetting, to then getting everything back out again so that there were reminders of her everywhere because I felt guilty. It was confusing and upsetting.
My first thought in the mornings had always been Mo, for nearly 18 years, because she would need feeding and mucking out. The first thing that I used to do, was to go to the landing window, pull up the blind, call good morning to her and wait for her to neigh loudly back at me. Then I would rush downstairs to give her breakfast, followed by hay, mucking out, groom, change of rugs, fresh water and turnout. For her not to be there was hard enough in itself but to have no routine and work outside to do simply made it much worse. There was an emptiness.....
The passing of time....
Time can begin to ease the intensity of the pain but so many things can just trigger the sadness in an instant and without warning. Grief is so confusing. Some days you feel that you are making your way forward, only to be confronted without warning, by overwhelming feelings which make you feel as though you are back where you started. They say that grief comes in waves and that is very true, it is indeed like being in the sea. Some days it is rough, then a calm and then a tsunami, you never know what each day will be like until it is upon you. There are so many emotions to deal with; anger, guilt, longing, loss, shame, devastation, relief, regret, loneliness, frustration, sadness and confusion. The list is endless. To me, the worst of them all and the most consuming, have been longing and guilt.....
Since I have been able to start to remember all of the fun and love we shared and all of the silly and quirky things she did, life has been a little easier. I bathe in the memories of her strange little character and how much joy she has brought into my life. Just recalling the time she sunk her teeth into Tasha’s arm when we came back from our one and only holiday because she was angry that we had left her, still makes me laugh. How Tash cried, and she had been so excited to go into Mo’s stable to give her a hug. We had actually only been away for 3 days! Mojo was having none of it! I also love to think of her constant pushing and shoving me out of the way for treats when I came out of the feed shed. It brings a huge smile to my face, food orientated is an understatement for Mojo!
A section to help people understand how grief can feel
I’ve come to understand that grief doesn’t really ever leave us, it just becomes easier to carry. I thought it might be helpful to put together some things that have helped me and that may help others who have lost their beloved
horses and ponies.
A list of what to expect, taken from helpwithgrief.org. Many thanks for sharing this Maria (HiH)
1. Expect grief to be a process that will last longer than you think.
2. Expect intense and changing emotions.
3. Expect to feel physical effects of grief, including fatigue.
4. Expect that you won't feel like yourself for a long time.
5. Expect to feel lonely.
6.. Expect that other people will soon go back to "normal" life, but that it will take you some time to find your "new normal."
7. Expect to feel afraid that more terrible things will happen in your life.
8. Expect to feel as if nothing is important anymore.
9. Expect that you will feel happiness again.
10. Expect anger.
11. Expect more tears than you thought possible.
12. Expect that most people will stop talking about your loved one around you.
13. Expect that some people will seem nervous around you, and that some may even avoid you.
14. Expect that on some days it will be a big accomplishment if you take a shower.
15. Expect that everyday conversations will seem meaningless to you, and in fact, may make you angry.
16. Expect the grief to soften with time.
17. Expect your partner or spouse to grieve differently than you do.
18. Expect to feel raw, wounded, and heartbroken.
19. Expect that you will have little energy and less patience on some days.
20. Expect guilt.
21. Expect good days and bad days, and early in the grief you may have good hours and bad hours.
22. Expect to feel that there could not possibly be better days ahead (but there are).
23. Expect that people will not know what to say, and that some will say really stupid things.
24. Expect that you will never be quite the same as you were before, and recognize that it is okay to build from where you are now.
25. Expect to feel crazy at times (but you aren't)..
26. Expect to always love and remember your loved one.
27. Expect people to think you should be "over" your grief when you are right in the middle of it.
28. Expect to need support to get through this.
29. Expect that you will find things that make you smile again.
30. Expect not to know what to expect.
Why pet loss needs to be taken seriously. An excellent write up on the impact of pet loss and why it needs to be taken seriously.
An excellent collection of helpful resources for support on pet loss can be found below.