We all want to honor the pets we've lost and miss. And there are so many ways to honor them, as I've learned over the years. Pets can be memorialized through words, photos (or slide shows or videos), websites, music, artwork of all types, and outdoor memorials from gravestones to memorial gardens.
All these memorials honor them and help us heal.
But one of the most important ways we can honor our pets -- the one which I believe brings the most healing -- is by helping others.
Other people, and other animals.
These are living memorials, and never-ending memorials, because the care and love given will often be extended to others by those who have been helped, whether it's a rescued animal bringing blessings of love and companionship to a new forever family, or a person saved from the depths of despair reaching out with kindness and sympathy to others who are grieving.
Like ripples spreading out from a pebble tossed into a pond, the effect of donating time or money to a shelter, or offering other people support in a pet loss grief support group, can extend far beyond that first helpful effect.
It's important to remind our members of that. Those kind actions and words can go on helping, long afterward.
I believe this is especially true with online support groups, where people can find comfort from what others wrote even if years have passed since those messages were posted, whether the person who posted the message was sharing similar feelings of loss or offering words of reassurance and hope. Those words are always fresh, the first time they're read by someone new. They can have the same impact they had on the day they were posted.
When we help others, whether animals or humans, we're paying it forward, after having had our own lives brightened immeasurably by our pets' unconditional love for us.
And sharing the love we were blessed to receive brings true healing. Trying to help someone else when you're hurting yourself, grieving deeply, may seem difficult at first, almost impossible. But you'll find if you reach out that you'll become stronger by helping others no matter how weak and helpless your loss might have you feeling now. You'll lift yourself up, as you lift others up.
The effects of that kindness will be much wider-reaching than you'll ever know, and much more appreciated.
Especially by your loved ones on the other side, who I believe will see just how much good you've done, and how far those ripples of care and compassion are reaching, as you honor them by helping others.
Cindy Morgan (SinbadsMom)