If you follow me on Twitter/Instagram, then you might have seen me talking about this last week, but my lil Russian dwarf hamster Jeff passed away on Thursday. He'd not been very well, so it wasn't the biggest shock in the world but I was still pretty distraught. I thought I'd get over it quite quickly, and we've got some new little fluffy hammies now, which I thought would make the pain of losing Jeff go away. But it hasn't, obviously. I'm not sure why I thought it ever would.
Even as I sit down to write this, I feel a bit silly: are you really going to write a whole post on grieving for a hamster Steph?! Well yes, yes I am. I don't want anyone else to feel the way that I've felt over the past few days: invalidated. I've had people laugh and had more than a few 'it's only a hamster' comments, but pets are a part of your family. If you had a cat or dog that passed away at two would you grieve? Of course. It's the same for me and my little hammies.
Grief is a thing, it happens. And it's happened far differently than I thought it would this week. I thought I was okay with Jeff passing, especially as I have little Frank and Sid to look after now (their names are just too cute IMO). But, I looked over the fact that me and Jeff had a special bond, and I don't have that with the new babies. Working in my office feels weird without him wandering up to his door to be taken out for a cuddle. I even found myself full on ugly crying at 1am last night because I just missed him so much.
The thing is, Jeff wasn't just another pet to me. He was the first pet that me and my boyfriend bought together. We got him when I was really struggling with my mental health. Getting out of bed in the morning and just being alive seemed a little too much. We got Jeff to help get me out of that rut. I had to be up every day to check on Jeff and his brother to make sure they had cuddles, food and water. Jeff gave me a purpose when I had lost my way a bit. Now that he's gone I'm just so grateful that I had such a loving creature who looked after me just as much as I looked after him.
All in all, I really just wanted to say that small pets can occupy a big place in your heart, and it's totally okay to grieve over losing them. Don't let anybody tell you how you should or shouldn't feel.