Grieving

di and bob

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That is a wonderful idea, as time goes by, specific things can slip away. I reread the letter that Bob wrote by Chrissy, in it she tells me what a wonderful life she had, and how wonderful it was being loved by me, and all the special little things I did just for her.....I'm crying now thinking of it. I also treasure a letter I received from an animal minister, it was so sweet and full of hope that love and 'us' would never end, she was so comforting. Do whatever it takes to make you feel a little better. Distract yourself from going to those dark places, from getting so overwhelmed and lonely. It takes a lot of effort to live again, but it all starts with one little step and then another. With a little help along the way.....
 

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Just sharing what's been on my mind..........Its been 1 year 3 months since I lost Mason and I still hate being in this house sometimes without him here. I still continue to blame myself even though I have tried to forgive myself. I don't really cry anymore but think if I could cry, I would feel better. I still visit his grave daily but don't spend a lot of time there unless I'm working around the flowers. I have two other cats in the house and one of them is more loving than Mason ever was but my feelings still are not as deep for her as they were for Mason. I pamper them though. Mason was my empty nest cat when the kids moved out. I guess I treated him like he was a child. He didn't have to do anything for me, he was just there. I have new routines with the other two cats but I still miss the routines I had with him. A part of me died when he died. I still am trying to find my new normal. This is the longest I have ever grieved for a pet. I don't think about him all the time but when I do, that pain hits me in my heart. He was a stubborn moody cat but that didn't matter to me, neither did all the scratches he gave me. I think I last posted here a year ago. So much positive has happened in my life but still the grief is there.
 

southernbama

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Just sharing what's been on my mind..........Its been 1 year 3 months since I lost Mason and I still hate being in this house sometimes without him here. I still continue to blame myself even though I have tried to forgive myself. I don't really cry anymore but think if I could cry, I would feel better. I still visit his grave daily but don't spend a lot of time there unless I'm working around the flowers. I have two other cats in the house and one of them is more loving than Mason ever was but my feelings still are not as deep for her as they were for Mason. I pamper them though. Mason was my empty nest cat when the kids moved out. I guess I treated him like he was a child. He didn't have to do anything for me, he was just there. I have new routines with the other two cats but I still miss the routines I had with him. A part of me died when he died. I still am trying to find my new normal. This is the longest I have ever grieved for a pet. I don't think about him all the time but when I do, that pain hits me in my heart. He was a stubborn moody cat but that didn't matter to me, neither did all the scratches he gave me. I think I last posted here a year ago. So much positive has happened in my life but still the grief is there.
 

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jefferd18

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Just sharing what's been on my mind..........Its been 1 year 3 months since I lost Mason and I still hate being in this house sometimes without him here. I still continue to blame myself even though I have tried to forgive myself. I don't really cry anymore but think if I could cry, I would feel better. I still visit his grave daily but don't spend a lot of time there unless I'm working around the flowers. I have two other cats in the house and one of them is more loving than Mason ever was but my feelings still are not as deep for her as they were for Mason. I pamper them though. Mason was my empty nest cat when the kids moved out. I guess I treated him like he was a child. He didn't have to do anything for me, he was just there. I have new routines with the other two cats but I still miss the routines I had with him. A part of me died when he died. I still am trying to find my new normal. This is the longest I have ever grieved for a pet. I don't think about him all the time but when I do, that pain hits me in my heart. He was a stubborn moody cat but that didn't matter to me, neither did all the scratches he gave me. I think I last posted here a year ago. So much positive has happened in my life but still the grief is there.


Thank you for sharing. I just lost my beloved Jeff three months ago and I am still reeling from the pain.

Mason sounded truly unique and that makes it even harder when they have to leave us . Even though the two of you didn't interact a lot, just the fact that he was there gave you comfort. And I know you did the same for him.
 

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When I lost Augie, my very first cat that I adopted while still in college when he was just 4 weeks old to renal failure, I felt like my life had lost all joy, all color and the only thing that got me out of bed every day was my daughter who was still just a baby. He was 18, when he died. But he was my first baby and I grieved hard and long. It took me about a year before I stopped grieving so hard. My husband would find me sobbing on the bed some days. The grief must run its course.

He was just the first baby that I've had to help over the rainbow bridge and he certainly won't be the last. But I've since then have learned a few things that help the transition for both cat and owner. I ask the vet to give the cat a tranquilizer and pain meds so the cat is comfortable. And the vet gives us time to say goodbye before administering the euthanasia drugs. I also get my animals cremated so that they can stay with me.
 
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Margret

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I know for certain that one of the reasons the death of Sweet Thing stayed with me so long was that I had put a lot of my own self image into her. I think it's very dangerous to define ourselves in terms of others. If I primarily think of myself as, for instance, a daughter, what do I do when my parents die? Who am I then? If I'm primarily a wife, how do I handle it if I become a widow? And if I'm primarily Sweet Thing's "mother," who am I when Sweet Thing dies? When we say that it feels as if a part of ourselves has died along with our heart kitties we're describing a very real phenomenon. Suddenly we aren't who we thought we were; we have to redefine ourselves, at the same time as we're grieving a loved one, and that isn't easy. It is, however, necessary.

We will always love cats, and there will always be more cats to love, but none of them will be this cat, the one we've lost. And we'll never be able to fully love them again until we find ourselves again, and that takes time. Just keep reminding yourself that you were a whole person before you adopted this cat, and you can be a whole person again. Also, meditation helps, if you know how to do it, and paying attention to your dreams. And you must still do your grief work; it's essential.

Margret
 

di and bob

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It takes a long time to heal a broken heart, and there will always be a scar. There is no time limit on grieving, I know I was an emotional mess for three years before I realized this was NOT the way my beloved baby would want me to spend the rest of my life. I remembered how concerned she got when I was upset, and I knew I was disturbing her peace now by not moving on with my life and sending her thoughts of love and joy in being alive, sending her only tears and sadness.
What would you have wanted for him if you were the first to go? Not the way you are. Of course it is heartbreaking, it is one of the hardest things you will go through, and it will not be the last because we are all not guaranteed a tomorrow, we begin to die the moment we are born.....
Grief always means having guilt at some point. But remember, you can not have guilt in anything if there was no intent. You had absolutely no intent of harm coming to your little one, you just loved him and that was enough, it always will be.
He will always be as close as your thoughts and prayers. Your new normal may be absent of his physical presence, but the love that binds your souls together will always be there, it will NEVER change. "Death cannot take that which never dies" and you know in your heart that is true because your love for him is more powerful then death. Of course you grieve, you always will. But time will help you find that new normal, and your precious memories will help you get through. Don't dwell on your loss, celebrate having him in your life and know you experienced something that noone ever will, his love.......
 

Mia6

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Margret Margret Thank you for recommending this thread. I will read all the posts at a later time. I'm sorry you received such poor advice from your friend. Sounds like she was practicing psychiatry with out a licence.

When I lost my Lena in 2001, I contacted a Pet Loss Grief counselor. She didn't do it any longer but gave me some advice. She told me to write down all the wonderful things I could remember about her. Oh my, the list was so long. I still have it. Doing that did help me a lot.

I have done that for all my babies and will start one for he Vincie girl. :angel::rbheart::bliss:
 

Mia6

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Margret Margret Thank you for recommending this thread. I will read all the posts at a later time. I'm sorry you received such poor advice from your friend. Sounds like she was practicing psychiatry with out a licence.

When I lost my Lena in 2001, I contacted a Pet Loss Grief counselor. She didn't do it any longer but gave me some advice. She told me to write down all the wonderful things I could remember about her. Oh my, the list was so long. I still have it. Doing that did help me a lot.

I have done that for all my babies and will start one for he Vincie girl. :angel::rbheart::bliss:
 

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In 1991 my heart kitty, Sweet Thing :rbheart:, got sick and we took her to the vet, who diagnosed kidney failure. I thought that meant “There’s nothing we can do. It’s time for euthanasia,” but the vet said “Let’s try a subcutaneous IV,” so we did. And it worked, sort of, for a while. But then she lost her appetite, and the vet gave her Valium, which has the side effect of giving cats “the munchies,” much as marijuana does in humans. The difference is that for cats it only works one or two times; then the cat develops a tolerance for it.

Time for more subcutaneous liquids. :sigh: Remember, this was 1991 to ‘92; there was no mention made of training me to do it myself at home. This was an inpatient procedure only. Sweet Thing was spending longer and longer periods in a hospital cage, frightened, among strangers, away from the people who loved her, and miserable. And I let it happen, because I thought “If there’s nothing he can really do the vet will tell me that it’s time.” Unfortunately, vets don’t do that, not unless you specifically ask them to. I know that now; I didn’t then. That was my first big mistake.

Eventually, my husband told me that I had to let Sweet Thing go, that she was suffering too much. I talked to a different vet who was a personal friend, and she told me what was actually going on; that any treatment we gave to Sweet Thing at this point was just slowing down the end, that Sweet Thing was terminal, and it would only get worse, something which Sweet Thing’s vet had never told me. So I went to the vet’s office and said that we needed to euthanize Sweet Thing, and that I wanted to hold her while it happened.

I had never before witnessed euthanasia, so this is when I made my second big mistake. I expected there to be a brief period after Sweets fell asleep and before she left forever, during which I could say “Goodbye,” for my comfort, not for Sweet Thing’s; I didn’t want Sweet Thing to know what was happening. But that’s not how euthanasia works. I had always thought that “put to sleep” was a euphemism, one that I absolutely hated. This is when I found out that it’s actually an extremely accurate description. The drug is injected and the cat closes her eyes and sighs out her last breath and she’s gone, immediately. You find yourself holding a body that still looks like your loved one, but there’s no one inside. I drove home, in shock, to a house that suddenly felt totally empty, as if it could never be a home again, because the heart of it was gone. I was grieving, and I felt guilty for waiting too long, and I felt guilty for doing it at all. I felt as if I had betrayed a child, because I knew that Sweet Thing had come to me for help, because Sweet Thing thought I could fix anything, and the only way I could find to help her was to end her life, and I just knew that that wasn’t what she’d had in mind.

(Note: guilt is perfectly normal after the loss of a loved one, even contradictory guilt - “I did it too soon, no, I waited too long.” The fact is that in the face of death we are all helpless, and helplessness is a terrible feeling, so terrible that our subconscious minds would rather feel guilty than helpless. You see, guilt implies that there was something we could have done that would have prevented this horrible thing that happened, and if we can just figure out what that thing was and avoid it in the future this will never happen again. It’s just too bad that life doesn’t work that way. Eventually, if we are to survive intact we absolutely must acknowledge that, while we may have regrets, we did the best we could with the resources at our disposal at the time, and then we have to forgive ourselves for not being God. And if we can manage to laugh at ourselves for ever having expected God-like abilities of ourselves so much the better.)​

And I grieved, desperately, for months. So deeply, and for so long, that my husband got worried about me and began to say the things that many people say to those of us who have lost a pet, things like:
  • “She was just a cat.” (At least he knew better than to call Sweet Thing “it.” Many people don’t.)
  • “It’s already been six months. Don’t you think it’s time you let go of her?”
  • “I’m getting worried about you. This isn’t healthy.”
None of this had the desired result, because he was wrong, and I knew he was wrong. I was grieving because I was in pain, and no act of will could end that pain. I wasn’t done with the important job of grieving. Instinctively I knew this was true, but I didn’t have the arguments I needed to convince my husband, and it began causing trouble in our marriage. Instead of holding me and letting me cry on his shoulder, giving me what comfort he could, my husband was telling me that my feelings were wrong and dangerous. So now, on top of losing my heart kitty, I felt beleaguered.

All of this only made my husband more worried about me, desperate to do something to end my grieving, so he talked to a friend of ours who is a Wiccan Priestess and whom he knew I respected, and persuaded her to “counsel” me about my grief. And this is where I made my third mistake: I listened to her. Now, one of the things that the Priestess believes is that it’s wrong to foist your own religious beliefs on someone else, but because she also didn’t understand what was really going on, because she basically agreed that my grief was somehow toxic to me, she violated that principle. She told me that because of my grief Sweet Thing was still tethered to this life; that she couldn’t move on to her next life because I was holding her back. (Just what I needed - more guilt.)

My personal belief (which I’m not pushing on anyone here) is that death is death; that there is nothing beyond it, but I thought, “Suppose I’m wrong. Suppose the Priestess is right, and I’m keeping my beloved Sweet Thing from moving on to her next life. That would be horrible!” so I tried to say “Goodbye” to Sweets, to say “I’m sorry that my grief is hurting you; go in peace.” The only result of this was that my pain turned inward and I went into a deep clinical depression, which lasted for years. I didn’t complete the grieving process which would have allowed my heart to heal cleanly.

Eventually it dawned on me that I had made a truly terrible mistake by accepting this “counseling,” but I still needed a way to explain to my husband and my friend why they were wrong, so I did the thing that I wish I’d thought of in the first place; I went to the library and searched for a book about grieving. The very first book that I found (and I’m sorry that I no longer remember either the title or the author so I’m unable to give credit where it’s due) had a whole chapter about grieving for pets, and it gave three rules or principles for grieving a pet (or anyone else). Here they are:
  1. It hurts as much as it hurts. There is no right or wrong about how much the loss of a pet "should" hurt. The fact is that our pets are family members; they aren’t “just” anything; and anyone who says “It was just a cat” is demonstrating a gross lack of understanding. And the loss of a family member should be painful.
  2. It takes as long as it takes. There is no set period of time within which grieving should end, not for the loss of a parent, or a child, or a spouse, or a friend, or a pet. Some people do their grieving quickly; others of us take longer, and it’s important to take whatever time you need to complete your grieving. And remember, this is still a family member we’re talking about. People who say “It’s already been six months; don’t you think it’s time you got over the death of your cat?” would never think of saying “It’s already been six months; don’t you think it’s time you got over the death of your mother?” No, I’m not saying that your cat was as important to you as your mother. I am saying that grief doesn’t always make that kind of fine distinction, and if you expect it to do so you’re going to be seriously confused and hurt.
  3. The only way to the other side of grief is straight through the middle. There are no shortcuts, no bypasses. Any attempt to cut the process short, or avoid it altogether, merely ensures that you will never complete it.
Our pets make a place for themselves in our hearts, and when they pass it leaves a hole behind. In many ways, the loss of a pet is an amputation; a part of ourselves has been removed, and we will never get that part back. But we have options about how to deal with the loss. If we acknowledge the wound and take proper care of it then it can heal cleanly, and eventually it gets better. There will always be a cat-shaped hole in our hearts, but the time comes when we can remember the cat who made that hole with more affection than pain, when his or her life is once again more important to us than her or his death. But if we try to pretend that we haven’t been wounded, if we cover it up and avoid grieving, we keep the wound from healing properly. It isn’t grief that’s toxic (though it’s certainly painful) but the attempted denial of grief. That puts a huge strain on both our minds and our bodies and leaves us vulnerable both to clinical depression, like I suffered from, and to all of the physical ills that can be caused or exacerbated by stress.

This post isn’t really about Sweet Thing, because it isn’t about her life; this post is about grieving, and I’m putting it here so that others can learn from my errors and avoid some of the added pain that I went through. I hope it helps.
:alright: :vibes: :hugs:

Margret
I do believe Jack is at the bridge and I will see him again. Thank you for writing this. I am still in deep grief only a week. The guilt is huge. I actually try to imagine I'm holding him loving him. It helps. Thank u again.
 

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That is a wonderful idea, as time goes by, specific things can slip away. I reread the letter that Bob wrote by Chrissy, in it she tells me what a wonderful life she had, and how wonderful it was being loved by me, and all the special little things I did just for her.....I'm crying now thinking of it. I also treasure a letter I received from an animal minister, it was so sweet and full of hope that love and 'us' would never end, she was so comforting. Do whatever it takes to make you feel a little better. Distract yourself from going to those dark places, from getting so overwhelmed and lonely. It takes a lot of effort to live again, but it all starts with one little step and then another. With a little help along the way.....
It's been almost 4 weeks since I had to help Jack cross over with pancreatis. I knew he couldn't survive with more vets poking around blood work. He was so sick not eating. Now I still question. Maybe,,? I can't get over letting my baby go. I'm 69 and this is so hard.
 

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I do believe Jack is at the bridge and I will see him again. Thank you for writing this. I am still in deep grief only a week. The guilt is huge. I actually try to imagine I'm holding him loving him. It helps. Thank u again.
Thank you for your post, I lost my precious Gem almost a month ago, I feel like I've been in shock even though she was sick- I feel like I was in denial that she would ever go. There is alot of guilt in not realizing or recognizing earlier that what was happening was so serious, even though the result would have been the same. It is like an amputation- the bond was and still is so strong. I'm glad you said there is no time frame on grief because I feel like I can't be honest sometimes about how I feel so lost- even though my spouse is wonderful and understands, and loved Gem too. I'm trying my hardest to focus on the love we had, the fun, the silly times, but grief takes over because I miss her and those things so much.
 

di and bob

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The overwhelming sense of loss is just that...overwhelming at times. it is a part of grieving and is because you at a point of realizing how final, how lonely all this is. Because only you loved that little one like you. It is as if a part of yourself was ripped away, and in a way it was. The empty hole it leaves behind is gaping and seemingly endless right now. That hole will be filled eventually, but like a patch, will always be evident. There are no shortcuts to filling that hole, like any process of healing it takes a lot of time, a lot of careful nursing, often with the help of those who have been there and can offer help and instruction. But mainly it takes time, one minute, one hour, one day at a time........
 
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