During the holidays, at least with close friends, it's sort of okay to admit missing dead spouses, parents, and, of course, children. Not that anyone really wants to hear that. After all, most adults are barely holding on emotionally during this season of lights, joy, and socializing. But what's still taboo is to confide that we desperately long for our animal companions which have passed over.
By the Friday after Thanksgiving I had slid into a state of hopelessness about ever feeling whole without my dog Molly Mittens and cats Sarah and Carlotta. Since I have been in 12-step programs for years, I knew I should have reached out to another member. I should have said, without self consciousness, what I was feeling. I should have kept doing that until my spirit lifted. But I did none of that.
Pet grief has come a long way from being a source of humor. On "Mary Tyler Moore," a comic episode was about trying to cheer up a co-worker after his dog died. Now there are greeting cards for pet grief and individual and group counseling at animal rescue centers. But, there's a line that can't be crossed when emotionally push comes to shove during the holidays. That's the line between what society dictates is okay to burden others with during this magical season and what it is forced to not allow.
Every year we do get through our pet grief. But the amazing thing is that the awful feeling of loss doesn't get better. I miss my three girls in 2012 as I did the day they died.