By Jody Kerzman
Brenda Bergan makes home visits for grief support to families served by Eastgate/Parkway Funeral Service, and she leads support groups for people who are grieving the loss of a loved one. She has made the Eastgate/Parkway motto her own: “Helping Families Heal.” Most of the time, that means helping families cope with the loss of a person, but she says she has done visits for those grieving the loss of a pet. Brenda has some tips for people mourning the loss of a pet:
- Talk about it. Brenda says talking about your pet and about your grief is an important step to healing.
- Be patient and kind. Brenda says it’s okay to be sad. Be patient with yourself and know that, in time, those feelings will become more tolerable and the sharpness of the loss will be replaced with the beautiful memories.
- Remember the good times. Brenda encourages people to recall the entire movie of your life with your beloved pet, not just the snapshot of the ending.
- It’s okay to get another dog or cat. Your pet will never be replaced but Brenda says some of us just need to have an animal in our lives, and adopting a new pet is a great way to honor the pet you lost.
- Be honest. Brenda says the death of a pet is often a child’s first experience with grief. “Any child old enough to love is old enough to grieve,” she says. “Be honest with your children and let them know it’s okay to be sad.”
If you’re mourning the loss of a beloved pet, Brenda says she’s always available to talk. She can be reached at 701-223-7322 or 701-426-1021.