An Interview with Vicky Nonas, a Sydney Based Pet Loss Grief Counsellor
Part 3: The pet loss grieving process and grief self-care
Grief comes in all shape and forms and when it does arrive it can be scary and confronting. As Vicky has discussed in Parts 1 and 2, the role of pet loss grief counsellor is to prepare you for what grief can bring. Preparing yourself for what to expect can help to take away some of the uncertainty and anxiety bereavement brings.
Whilst everyone’s experience of grief is different Vicky gives us a great overview what we can expect. Let’s hand over to Vicky for the final part of our interview.
What can families expect from their grief after the loss of a pet?
Whilst grief is an individual experience, there are some commonalities and for most people, grief manifests in physical, emotional, behavioural and spiritual ways.
Changes in appetite; Changes in sleep; Exhaustion / Fatigue; Illnesses; Physical symptoms.
Anger; Anxiety; Depression; Disbelief; Numbness; Sadness.
Crying; Difficulties in communication; Difficulties in relationships; Difficulties with socialising;
Unable to focus.
Bargaining and/or anger at God; Loss of faith; Shaken spirituality or renewed spirituality.
Patience with other members of the family is important due to differences in grieving. Children will also grieve according to their age and maturity and this is important to take into consideration also.
Do you have a favourite self-care tip for grieving families?
I have several favourite self-care tips.
- Eat healthy foods, if only in small amounts, drink smoothies and hydrate with plenty of water.
- Get outside with the family, fresh air and sunlight can improve overall health and wellbeing. It doesn’t have to be strenuous activity, just a nice walk, or if you prefer you can hit the gym and do a workout.
- Do activities that give pleasure – get the family involved and use this as a ‘grief break’ without guilt.
- Don’t deny yourself the opportunity to feel the way you feel and express those feelings without guilt.
What services do you offer clients?
- Emotional support surrounding end-of-life decisions and ongoing support through the grieving process,
- Online, face-to-face, telephone counselling and home visits for people that are not near to me, prefer to be in the comfort of their own environment or have accessibility issues,
- Information and support about a pet parents’ readiness to take on another pet.
I also hold regular Afternoon Tea group events for pet grief and loss – dates and information for these events can be found on my Facebook Page or via my website.
There will also be a Pet Memory Walk held in 2019 to celebrate the memory of our pets – date TBA.