Some stages of grief are predictable and fairly universal.
But our styles and methods of grieving are as unique as we ourselves. Expecting someone else to grieve the same way that you do is a recipe for additional pain.
Many of us rail at the gods and try to bargain for signs or something, anything, that will bring our lost loved one closer/back to us/whatever.
Many (most?) of us wonder what we could have or should have done differently that might have changed the outcome. A moot point, since the outcome has already been, but we still do it. I don’t know whether it’s a guilt complex, shouldering of blame, or just a need to better understand what happened and can we prevent another similar event.
Since my loss of my Pyr, Faith, last week, at least a half dozen people I know have also lost dogs or cats. I can tell them I sympathize with their pain, I can remind them there was little, if anything, they could have done differently or better or faster. I can validate their loss, their grief, let them know that what they are feeling is normal and doesn’t follow a schedule or a highlighted map.
Some of us feel the strong presence of those animals we have lost. Knowing how tightly woven they are into our hearts and souls, we carry them with us and take comfort in not just the memories, but the strong bonds that will never be broken. But those who are new to this kind of grief may struggle with that concept.
Their grief is theirs and they need to find the path that is right for them. Sometimes all that another person can do is tell them “I am here for you if you need me, and I am so sorry that you have to walk this path.”
Particularly when the grief is raw, no one can do what the grieving person wants more than anything in the world – give them back the physical presence of their beloved companion.