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This heartfelt piece was sent to me today by ISCP tutor Dale, whose beloved Theo’s sudden passing came as a terrible shock.

The loss of a best friend

So, life is going along as it should, a mixture of small irritations and moments of pleasure and excitement. We concentrate on the day job, enjoy time off, pay bills, deal with clients and generally have a normal life (whatever that is for each of us). We can focus on the insignificant irritations of someone stealing our parking space, cold callers phoning, deliveries not arriving when they should and then ‘bang!’ life as you know it changes for ever.

The loss of a family member is different for everyone. For me, it began with my dog behaving slightly differently, a little quiet and lethargic and making a mental note to phone for a vet appointment. Monday, was relatively uneventful, Tuesday a vet appointment and then heartbreak by Wednesday.

Wednesday changed everything, I lost my best friend.

Dealing with grief is a personal experience, some people can carry on despite the grief, others find it crippling and I was in the latter camp. Nothing that anyone says or does can make it better or make the pain lessen. Some people are sympathetic and know that there are no words, others make an attempt and of course there are the ones who mention getting another dog….. It’s a strange thing that people want to show empathy by telling stories of when they lost their beloved cat/dog and all that does is bring back the memory of the gut-wrenching moment in the vet surgery when the most difficult decision had to be made.

Rituals do help (a little), I made a donation to Rottweilers in Need, I bought a tree for the garden, sent the vets some flowers and shared my sad news with close friends but ultimately, it’s a process that we have to go through and the pain and loss is mine. In time, I’m sure that I can remember the really good times that we had together but at the moment everything is still too raw.

theo-from-dale-400Dealing with loss is a personal experience and we all have to go through it at some point, I know that life does go on and that, although I will always miss my best friend, I will learn to live with that.

So, how do you deal with someone who is grieving? This is a good resource, read it and be a really good friend when someone you know has suffered a huge loss.