Grief is like a stack of pancakes. When you’re young you experience your first moment of grief. That experience is the first pancake on your plate. The first time this happens it's powerful, it's memorable. You know it's there, you think about it, you may ask yourself or others questions about this new emotion. Eventually you’ll tuck it away maybe without fully experiencing or understanding it.
As you get older you experience more grief: the end of your first love, a broken relationship, loss of a family member or beloved family pet, your own encounter with illness etc. These are further pancakes that get added to the plate on top of the first one. Now the stack is growing. It may be difficult to deal with the grief so you ignore it, you leave it on the plate, you hope to deal with it another time or maybe you never plan on dealing with it at all.
As you continue to grow, and the losses become more personal they become heavier and larger than the previous pancakes. At this point, you may be even less inclined to deal with them. They’re just too heavy, too painful, or you’re too busy to take the time to process and deal with it. If you do not work through each of those difficult moments, the grief, the pain, the loss, “your pancake stack” only continues to grow and will eventually tumble.
If you are able to take each of those moments, feel it, experience it, find comfort in understanding your grief, allow yourself the proper time to grieve, and allow loved ones around you to provide support through these moments, the stack of pancakes will become more manageable. Those pancakes, those moments of grief, will still be present, they will still stack one on top of the other, however, the stack will be tolerable, it will not feel insurmountable, it will not tumble and fall and neither will you. It is important that you deal with each moment of grief, each pancake starting from the first one.
Here I have provided some resources which can help you deal with the loss of a beloved pet. Don’t let this loss be another pancake on top of your stack. Allow yourself the time to explore these resources and the opportunity to experience all of the emotions this loss has brought with it.
APLB ( association for pet loss and bereavement):
Tufts University Pet Loss Support Hotline:
Ohio Pet Loss Support Group:
Columbus Pet Loss Counseling:
Pet loss books for adults:
Pet loss books for children:
The concept of pancake grief was adopted from Gabrielle Elise Jimenez at thehospiceheart.net