When your beloved pet dies a sudden death, the feelings of grief are especially intense. It’s such a shock, that it can be difficult to accept that it actually happened.
In his book “The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying” Sogyal Rinpoche writes on p. 312, that it’s very important for survivors of sudden death to go see the body in order to realize it actually happened. And he advices that survivors, if possible, should sit quietly by the body, say what they need to, and begin to say goodbye.
This is not an easy thing to do at all, but I find it might be helpful.
In the case of the sudden death of a pet, though, sudden death often means a violent or tragic death such as the pet being hit by a car. In that case, it might be best to use a picture of the pet and begin to say your goodbyes by looking at that picture instead.
Not knowing is worse
From my own experience, just knowing, getting confirmation that the pet has died is a relief in a sense. The pain of the loss is still as huge, but the knowing brings a kind of peace. The not knowing, I find, is very hard, and almost makes it impossible to find closure or relief.
I remember that clearly from a cat I had, who was run over by a car. One morning he was missing after his nightly rounds, and even though I suspected the worst, I still kept walking the streets for days at all hours, calling and looking for him. Then one day a kind woman who had seen the missing cat-notice I had put up, called me and said she had found him dead, run over by a car.
Getting that call made me break down, but at the same time, it brought a strange sense of peace – having knowledge. I know that if I had not gotten that confirmation, I would most likely have kept on hoping and looking for him.
When facing sudden death, we’re tempted to deny that the death has occurred. For example, when my cat went missing, on that same morning I went to where he usually slept and heard his meow loud and clear – but he wasn’t there. That doesn’t usually happen, so I got a bad feeling and an inner knowing about his death.
And later, when I contacted him through the spiritual method of shamanic journeying, he didn’t say specifically whether he was dead or alive, he just said:
“Remember the love”.
And I do. I remember the love we shared and all the happy moments.