Journeys to Peace

Providing end-of-life care and bereavement care with distinction

"Pets are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole."

This quote keeps echoing through my mind this week. It made the rounds on the internet and refreshed my memory of it. It’s really true: having a pet is just one part of everyone’s busy lives with jobs, family responsibilities, social obligations, personal ambitions and a whole range of other things filling our minds and our schedules daily. Pets are not our whole life… but aren’t they truly the icing on the cake? Is there anything more relaxing than to nap alongside a pet? Is there anything more stress-relieving than the goofy antics of our pets? Is there anything more valuable than the shared love, shared understanding and shared support offered between a pet and its family?

I think part of why it is so hard to recover from losing a pet is exactly that: the one who would’ve been a great comfort, who would’ve stood by as you sobbed, who would’ve broken into a dark mood and cheered you up with their quirky behavior… that’s who is missing. It’s harder to heal and to move ahead when the one who spent hours a day by your side, silently making you stronger and the best version of yourself, is the very one who is gone.

For certain, you can become whole again. It takes some honest emotional effort, but over time the grief lessens and leaves you with the permanent joy in your heart from having known and loved each special pet that shares your life with you. Pets may make our lives whole, as the saying goes, but it’s not just them being physically with us, it’s us remembering the best parts of that experience and carrying it with us forever.