What is The Grief Recovery Method?
The Loss of an Animal Companion
Published May 6th, 2020
My first significant loss experience was at the age of 6 when my parents got divorced, which also meant grief for moving from my family home and routine, no longer seeing my father every day and desperately missing my best friend, constant companion and loyal confidante Butchy our beloved dog. For so many of us our pets are our closest allies and friends and we often have far happier relationships with them than some of the people in our lives, the love we share is just easier somehow. To clarify the definition of grief is the normal and natural reaction to loss or significant change of any kind and it is experienced at 100% by each of us and should never be compared to another person's loss as each is unique.
To be clear Butchy was not a cute fluffy Jack Russell Terrier, he was known for terrifying visitors, however, one word from my brother or I even at a young age would deter him from making contact with anyone's trouser leg thankfully. He seemed to enjoy our cherished time together as much as we did and my happiest memories during those early years were of the time we shared hiding in the garden or him sitting on my knee relaxing in front of the television. I was around 11 years old when Butchy was put to sleep after biting someone. I was shocked and devastated, it was my first experience of the death of a loved one, to me it made no difference whatsoever that he was an animal and not human, and I simply did not know what to do with myself. I was not told about his death but instead was left to find out on my own. Actually I sensed it as I entered the house and when I walked into the sitting room his special chair was no longer covered in fur. Needless to say, I burst into tears but knew that this would not be received well and so before I went to ask what had happened I pushed my feelings down as much as I was able.
When my worst fear was confirmed and I was told not to cry or else, my heart felt physically broken but there was no one to listen to how I felt or comfort me in any way. It was a Saturday and I was due to go for a riding lesson and help muck out the horses afterwards so I would be busy. So some of the myths of grief we are taught early on in life were reinforced. I already had these clear and incorrect messages; be strong (or else), grieve alone (there was no other choice) and keep busy.
For years I pushed the pain of losing Butchy down and in fact so much so that I honestly thought I was fine. When I experienced the Grief Recovery Method for myself I was surprised by how strongly my feelings surfaced after so many years. Grief is of course cumulative and by this time I had been through the death of many other animal companions and close family members over the years. The Grief Recovery Method is an evidence based programme and it has changed my life as I experienced recovery, which simply means finding new meaning for life without the fear of being hurt again.
I am now an Advanced Grief Recovery Specialist, which means I am able to assist clients with the process both online and in person. Each loss is unique and experienced at 100% by the individual and there is never any judgement around the type of loss, there are more than 40 different types of loss we can go through including the death of an animal companion or them going missing, being stolen or having to be re-homed.
If you would like to know more about how the Grief Recovery Method and how it can help you after the loss of a much loved animal, please do get in touch with me. email@example.com