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How To Help My Brother Get Through TheDeath Of His Pet

Published: August 16, 2009
Dear TeenHealthFX,
Last night my younger brothers pet lizard, Sly, passed away while he was sleeping. Sly was my brothers best friend and several of our lizards have died of the same thing. My brother is so heartbroken as Sly was his first pet. My question is how can I help my brother get through this? Signed younger brother grieving, unable to help.
Signed: How To Help My Brother Get Through TheDeath Of His Pet

Dear How To Help My Brother Get Through TheDeath Of His Pet,

 

Pets can become a very important part of a person’s life – so losing a pet can feel very sad for some. It is normal for people to go through a certain amount of grieving when a pet dies, and it is very thoughtful of you to want to be there for your brother as he deals with this loss.

As for what you can do, consider some of the following:

  • Know that it is okay for a person to feel sad and grieve over a significant loss. These feelings are normal and natural. If you want to support your brother through this, don’t focus on ridding him of these feelings, but more on being there for him as he goes through them.
  • Let your brother know that you feel for him with what he is going through. Tell him that you get how important Sly was to him, and that he must be feeling sad without him. And let him know that you are there for him if he needs anything.
  • Sometimes is can be helpful for a person to have some way to mark the end of a life when a pet or loved one dies. You might want to ask your brother if he would like to have a memorial service for Sly or if he would like to construct something in the yard as a kind of memorial to him.
  • If you have a picture of Sly or a picture of your brother with Sly, you might consider framing the picture in some way so your brother can have it in his room as a way to remember Sly. You can buy a frame or use some creativity to make one yourself out of cardboard or construction paper. This kind of gesture might be very meaningful to your brother. 
  • If you feel that your brother’s sadness, grieving, or preoccupation with Sly’s death is currently in excess or becomes excessive, talk to your parents about your concerns, as they may need to intervene if he needs special help in dealing with his emotions around this.

If you want to learn more about the process of grief and dealing with it, you can speak to your parents or a counselor at school. You can also go to Grief Speaks and look at the webpage on What To Say.  

Signed: TeenHealthFX

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