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My First Christmas Without You

The Christmas holidays can be a really overwhelming time of the year.

The hustle to the shops to buy presents and decorations, the buffet of food, and the Expectation to Act Merry and Bright!!

But what if you are not feeling cheerful?

As Many of you know, I lost my heart dog, Opie, on the 23rd December 2019, and I can tell you, the last thing I wanted to do was go to Christmas parties, and hang out with ‘happy’ people.

Now, I wouldn’t call myself a Grinch, but I felt it was unfair how my world had pretty much stopped, and everyone else’s continued on.

So what can you do around Christmas, when you have lost a big part of your life?

* Acknowledge that this year is going to look and feel different. Plan ahead, and let people know you may not be feeling up to socialising. It’s OK to say No to events that you don’t have the energy to go to. It’s ok to leave early. And please don’t feel that you have to ‘fake’ being happy for anyone.

* Don’t put added pressure on yourself or have feelings of guilt for not sending Christmas cards or buying presents, or if you just can’t bring yourself to put the tree up. If you are anything like me, you would buy gifts for your pet, and enjoy watching them unwrap (and destroy!) them. It can be a painful reminder when these objects surround us.

* It’s OK to cry. Christmas can bring up so many emotions; Wonderful memories of previous years, and also sad feelings of what we are never going to experience again. Be kind to your heart. Write down what you are feeling and why.

- Honouring your Pet’s memory -

* Light a candle. Think about a favourite moment you shared and thank them for being a part of your life.

* Make a donation to a charity in memory of your pet.

* Buy a gift for yourself! It could be something that reminds you of your baby, a bouquet of flowers, or a small ornament.

* Place a picture of your pet on the tree (if you did put it up) or in the table decorations

* Hug a soft toy. Stroke it’s fur, cry into its fluffy arms. You would be surprised how therapeutic releasing those tears can be.

Losing a pet is one of the most devastating, painful experiences.

My thoughts are with each and every one of you.

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