During any period of mourning, feelings of isolation and loss are to be expected; though grief affects everyone in different ways, a sense of change and sadness is universal. Death is, of course, a natural progression, defining all that it means to be alive and, at some point, every animal will shuffle off this mortal coil. Many take comfort from the understanding that we are not the only species that experience grief in some form.
As sentient creatures, we have a tendency to view our experiences as exclusively ‘human’, yet this is not always the case. Though there is no sure way to ease the emotional turmoil that follows the death of a friend or loved one, we may be able to learn a thing or two from our non-human neighbours.
Here at Stockman & Loram, we’ve picked out a few lessons on grief from the animal kingdom.
Give Yourself Time
For those grieving, it often feels as if the pain will last forever but it is important to understand that, given time, it will ease. Many species of animals, such as Elephants, have been observed staying close to the bodies of their deceased relatives for days. As is the case with humans, death holds great significance for these creatures too, and it can be difficult to move on.
It is worth reminding yourself that grief is a journey, compiled of stages. There is no right or wrong way to mourn and no set time frame, so don’t put pressure on yourself to speed up the process.
Acceptance Is Crucial
Individuals who have experienced loss will be aware that it can feel somewhat surreal; the days, weeks and months that follow are likely to trigger a variety of emotional states and in many cases, denial. Many intelligent animals such as primates and dolphins have been documented holding their deceased relatives for long periods of time following a death, unable to grasp the reality of the situation.
Accepting that a loved one has passed away can be incredibly hard for some, and denial is a rational coping mechanism. That said, coming to terms with a loss is a necessary part of the healing process.
Collective Mourning Is Part Of The Process
Though we often view funerals as human events, many animals are known to hold similar ceremonies. Species such as elephants, chimpanzees and giraffes gather together following the death of a relative or packmate, showing support for one another while coming to terms with their own experience of loss.
For us humans, gathering for funerals, wakes and celebrations of life is a necessary part of the grieving process, offering closure and a chance to emotionally support relatives and friends. Of course, there is no correct way to do this, just being surrounded by others experiencing a similar loss is often a great help in itself.
Stockman & Loram
Here at Stockman & Loram, we take immense pride in creating and organising personal and meaningful funeral services throughout south Devon. From celebrations of life to woodland burials, we endeavour to meet your needs with compassion and care.
Please, contact us today to discuss your needs. We’re always happy to help.