Forever Remembered Pet Cremation and Memorial Services

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Why am I still so sad?

"Sugar passed away 2 months ago, and I am still so heartbroken. Why am I still so sad?" My heart went out to Sugar's owner as I listened to her reflect on the many memories they shared. "The cats miss her too," she said in between tears. "The cats kept looking for her and would meow like they were upset."

Finding the right words to say to those who are grieving is often difficult. The old cliches that promise  "things will get better in time" are untrue and lacking in emotional validation. The reality is that things really don't get better in time, and often seem magnified as the memories shared with a beloved pet or loved one are overshadowed by that haunting dark day when they took their last breath.

Is grief ever easy? Does it ever get to the point to where it doesn't hurt so much? The answers to these questions lie with each survivor and their own personal grief experience. Some days are easier than others. Some days you may just want to be alone and secure your own personal grieving space.

It is perfectly normal to feel lingering episodes of sadness as the place where love was so easily filled is now hollow and void.

It is okay to be sad.

Monday, July 21, 2014

The Box

Here at Forever Remembered,  I try to make each experience unique and individual for each family. There are many urns that can be chosen, however I decorate each box to try and suit the personality of the pet. 

We have a collection of simple pine boxes that were made here in the USA and can be painted with various themes. This particular box was painted with trees and leaves and then finished with a nice light brown stain. I wasn't too impressed with my artwork, for I am not a professional artist by any means, but I do put my heart into each piece.

It was late in the afternoon when Roxy died. I brought him back to the crematory with the family following me, similar to a mini funeral procession. He was 18 years old, the oldest dog that I have received so far. He was a permanent fixture in this family and his death was very upsetting for everyone.

The family came in and as soon as the mother saw the box with the trees, she knew that was the one for Roxy. "The trees and leaves on this box remind me of the pretty leaves that I used to bring my father when I was a little girl," she said. 

I cremated Roxy that evening and delivered the cremains in the decorated pine box the same night. It was nice to be able to bring some comfort to this grieving family for they knew that not only was he cremated privately and with dignity, but the box had a personal touch that would be a constant reminder of his passing.

Sometimes old memories bring comfort for new sadness. 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

I was there till the end

Pet owners who are experiencing overwhelming grief because of the loss of a pet, are often surprised at how emotional they become. "I know he was just a dog, but he was a member of our family." I often reassure them that these feelings are completely natural because their pet faithfully waited with anticipation for them to come home, was always ready for playtime and was that reliable friend when life brought unexpected hardships.

"I was there until the end," he said, as he kneeled down beside the Yellow Labrador Retriever who had been his faithful companion for 13 years.  "She waited by the door for me everyday for 8 hours until I came home. Being with her as she took her last breath was the least that I could do for her."

She died in his arms that night.

It was a long drive home as I contemplated the events of the evening. Sometimes helplessness is overwhelming for me, in that I wish I could make the loss easier for families. The only consolation that I can give them is to just take each day one at a time, and to focus on the memories and the joy that was shared, and that I will take care of their pet with the dignity and respect they deserve.

Maybe one day I won't have to hold back the tears with each death call. I don't see that as being any time soon.

Friday, July 18, 2014

They know

When a dog dies, not only are the owners filled with grief, but the other pets in the home also feel the loss. Once when I went to pick up a Golden Retriever, her buddy, who was also a Golden Retriever, acted as though he knew why I was there. When I stooped down to pet the beautiful old gal, he started crying and voicing his sadness as if he were trying to tell me, "Why? Why doesn't she get up? Why doesn't she play with our favorite chew toy? Why isn't she breathing?" I couldn't help but choke back a tear as I went to gently scoop her up and place her in the willow casket. He just watched. His eyes were  obviously heavy with sadness as his dear old friend of 12 years was being carried out the door.

When I placed her in the black van and closed the door, he sat near the van as if he was standing guard. I looked at him and promised that I would take good care of her and that I was sorry that he had lost his dear friend. He just looked at me and whined.

Not only do pet owners grieve, but animals grieve too. I am sure of it.