After the Rainbow Bridge...
There is now a space in the human’s heart where we lived.
It may be the huge space that was once our bed, the now clean floor that used to be cluttered with toys and half shredded goodness knows what, the sofa that now seems too large to sit on or the meals they eat that no longer have to be guarded or eaten in such a way as to make sure there is enough to share.
The human now yearns for one more spilt cup of coffee, shredded newspaper they had not read yet or another moan at walking in the rain.
They say life goes on…. but in reality is does not. It is frozen in time with the human’s mind reliving the last moments they saw their companion, their rock, their friend.
Whether it was expected, sudden or a long slow process to the final moments, the feelings are still there, the vast cold emptiness inside and the huge knot in their stomach.
Humans without animals do not understand but those that have suffered loss of an animal do understand.
They sit and quietly mourn at the fear of being told they are being silly as it was JUST an animal.
We know we were more than JUST an animal. We were their companion, their muse, their best friend and most importantly we were family.
We need to also think about other animals mourning about our passing over the Rainbow Bridge. All animals know and understand loss and mourn too.
Mourning animals can stop eating, cry and in some cases act out in frustrated bereavement.
It is a difficult time with a lot of difficult decisions. Does the human get another animal? Mourn and go on without another animal?
One thing they must not do, is to try to replace the animal that crossed the Rainbow bridge. They can replace the gap in their life, but never replace what they had with that animal.
How long should a human wait to get another animal? That depends on the human. Some can carry on and decide to wait before getting another animal. Some cannot function, move forward or even eat with the space in their lives and get another animal as soon as possible.
Whatever the human decides, there are no right or wrong answers as it is all down to how the human feels.
One thing to consider if a human gets another animal after we have crossed the rainbow bridge is that a few days after getting the new animal they may feel they have made a huge mistake and even for a split second almost reject the new animal.
Even the mourning animals may attack or try to reject the new animal.
The human and mourning animals needs to know these are false feelings and it is part of the mourning process.
They may push the new animal away but the new animal can feel their loss and will try to comfort the human.
The new animal never met previous animal but they know they were there.
The humans and mourning animals need to bring the new animal closer and start building a bond like they had with us.
Whatever the circumstance tell the humans and mourning animals that have suffered a loss or are preparing for a loss of an animal – speak out.
They are not being silly. They have lost a member of their family and need a shoulder to cry and a sympathetic ear to listen.
If you have suffered the loss of an animal and need to talk to someone, you could speak to your local vet who may have advice or know of councillors or groups you can get advice and support from.