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In our Pet Grief groups, as people begin to talk about their raw and painful loss, they very often cry. Almost as often, they will apologize: “I’m sorry. I didn’t want to do this. I don’t usually cry like this.”

Even when alone, sometimes people try to stop their tears, as if by stopping the tears, they could stop the pain.

The reverse is true.

We know now that tears that are cried from emotion have high levels of a hormone called cortisol, which is released when we are under stress. It seems that tears are the body’s way of cleaning out these stress-related toxins. Tears seem to relieve our emotional pain in a unique way.

Tears release endorphins as well—just as exercise does—this causes us to feel a bit better, a sort of release.

Tears are also a way of communicating, if only with yourself, the sadness that you feel. Our feelings need and deserve to be experienced and acknowledged.

Go ahead and let yourself grieve, mourn and cry.

If your crying gets to a point where you feel it has gone on for “too long,” or happens “too often”—and only you can be the judge of that—do look for a therapist who understands pet grief, or at the very least call a pet loss help line and talk with a volunteer there who will understand and listen.

Never be afraid of your feelings; they are what make you real.