Coping with pet loss is tough. One of the most important exercises that I share with my clients who are experiencing deep pain and heartache after their beloved companion has died is writing a love letter to express how much they love them.
A love letter provides a very special way of healing your grief when coping with pet loss. It is a different way to tell your companion how much you love them. It is a way to express your memories, experiences, and gratitude for the things that you shared with your special pal.
Coping with Pet Loss and Are Not sure How to Begin Your Love Letter?
Are you not really clear how to go about this love letter? I encourage you to spend some time every day jotting down special memories or things that you want to tell your companion—even if it is only five to ten minutes a day that you spend writing down your special memories. Doing so will lead to your writing a personal love letter to your pet.
This letter will be an accumulation of love and thanks from you to your beloved companion. It is your proclamation of appreciation, healing, apology (if needed), and inclusion of anything else that you may want to express to your pet.
You may be asking, “Why write things down? Why write a love letter? How is that going to help me when coping with pet loss?” These are common questions and oftentimes writing is not one of the most favorite activities for my clients—until they write the first letter and discover how healing it can be.
Questions to Help Frame Your Love Letter
Each week, I give my clients ten to twelve questions that encourage and support them in choosing a unique way to celebrate the life of their pet for coping with pet loss and healing. These questions will support you by helping you to determine the feelings of compassion and love that you have for your pet.
Before you answer these questions, have a designated place where you will write your answers. It may be a special journal, your computer, or just a piece of paper. Whatever you choose, be sure to keep all of your answers in one place so that when you are ready to write your love letter, you have everything in front of you.
- Describe your experience when you first brought your pet home. What happened? How did you feel?
- Make a list of everything that you and your companion did together. What was the weather like? Where were you? How old were you and your dog? What exactly were you doing? Are there some things that you forgot and remembered again?
- What was the biggest gift that your companion gave you?
- Do you have any feelings of guilt or being sorry for something you did or didn’t do for your companion? How would you apologize to them beyond just saying, “I am sorry . . . ?”
There is no need to answer these questions all at once unless you are really motivated to do so.
After you answer all the questions above and maybe some of your own, let your journal sit for a couple of days. You may find you forgot something and want to add it.
Time to Write
After you think you have everything down that you want to tell your companion, it is now time to take out a fresh piece of paper or open a new word document and write your love letter.
Keep in Mind when Coping with Pet Loss
Your relationship with your companion is unique. Cherish that, write them a love letter, go to a special spot when you read it aloud, and feel good about how you are coping with pet loss.