Shocked and feeling guilty after tragic death of my beloved boy

Ewelina

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Yesterday we found our bengal cat Marian laying close to our terasse stairs. These are very cold days and nights in Norway. His body was cold and frozen, tongue outside, eyes wide open and full of incredible pain...
It was late evening, vet recommended to keep him cold so we took him to the car to drive with him for an obduction next day. One hour later I thought that he's in coma, that he can come back to us. Asked my husband to bring him back home. Marian wasn't that stiff as earlier but still. I started petting him, massaging his hearth, touching his sweet tiny snout. His nose was so dry. His eyes looked like two pieces of glass, foggy. I think that he closed his eyes a little bit after a while, looked calmer now. I didn't want to let him go, even knowing that he's already away.
He was six years old healthy boy. Full of energy, very active and curious. We wanted to keep him at home, but he was running away. He loved being outside and discover the world around him. And he had way to much energy to stay closed at home. After two years we gave up an bought for him his own door. He could run in and out whenever he wanted during his next, and last, 4 years of life. Maybe we should be more determined and never let him out, maybe he would still be alive.
I didn't sleep tonight. Thinking all the time that he just sleeps, that he'll be waiting and screaming hungry as always next morning. Crying.
Today we delivered him for obduction. I couldn't leave him there. Have been screaming and crying. Touching his body cuddled in his favorite blankets. Still can't stop crying, didn't make it to work today, couldn't cross the door to the office because of crying. Can't breath, my throat is so tight. Everything in the house reminds me about him. My heart is broken for ever. He's supposed to be hear. It's tragic. It's too early. It's not fair.
If we wouldn't leave for vacation he could be alive. Even though his cat sitter sad he was alright. Eating normally each day. I haven't seen him last week of his life. We left quickly for vacation, there was no time for proper good bye. This thought is making me cry even more. I failed him. And he had only us. He trusted us absolutely.
When we came back on Sunday evening he wasn't at home. He was disappearing before for few days but always coming back happy and healthy. But each time I've been loosing my mind walking around and calling him. It was the same Sunday evening. My husband was walking around whole neighborhood calling for him but he didn't find him. These days it was so cold, it wasn't normal that he was away 24hours. We've been looking for him again next day and my husband found him on Monday evening laying right in front of our house, but behind bushes so not visible from the front side of the house. Why we didn't check there at once. Thought about it that he could still be alive when we came on Sunday evening is killing me. Maybe we still could help him.
First results of the obduction says that he had enlarged heart, water in lungs and blood in kidneys. Doctor suspects heart failure or some nasty infection. It could be also poisoning with antifreeze. What if we could still save him. I can't live with this thought.
He died alone, freezing in cold in incredible pain. My little boy. He helped me so many times when I've been down. Coming close to me, he knew when I need him. Other times he was showing his independence, he was boss in the house, even showing nails when he didn't get what he needed. It was making me so angry. And now I miss it so much.
We've been traveling a lot together with him. Around Europe or staying in cabins in Norway. He was always staying close to the place where we slept. Running happy around, discovering new places, and coming back to us whenever we called him. I love him so much. I want to wake up from this nightmare and hug him again.
I don't know what to do. Pain is impossible to manage. Going to visit GP tomorrow, maybe I can get some drugs to help me sleep and maybe even go to work.
What I know is that I'll never forgive myself. I'll never be the same as before. Part of my heart was owned by him and it's now dead for ever. Colors around me changed. I hate sun, it's too positive. I don't know what to do. I don't know why it hurts so much. I didn't realize how important he was for me until now, when it's too late.
I don't belive that there's anything after that but I wish I could, maybe then he could see and hear all my love, my grief, my pain. My little defenseless boy, which I failed so badly.
 

Chris Ekstedt

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I am so very sorry Ewelina. I lost a long time kitty friend in 2020 myself to tragic circumstances. She too was constantly insistent about being able to go outdoors. The first part of her life she had known that freedom and simply did not want to give it up. She had freedom to go in and out through a cat door. After 20 years living where I do the unexpected happened and a large dog had gotten out. You can imagine the rest. I know it haunts you as what happened to my girl haunts me too and I feel that guilt. Today I foster a kitty I rescued and it is a very difficult task that I get little help with except for this site. I dedicate myself to doing the very best job I can in the name of the kitty I lost. You'll see your kitty again. Send him love now...he'll feel it.
 

Mamanyt1953

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Rest you gentle, Marian, dream you deep. Your pawprints are on someone's heart forever.

Let me ask you something that I already know the answer to. If you had known that he would become sick, would you have left him? NO, never. You would have cancelled your plans and stayed with him, watching every breath. This is the sad fact, we cannot know what we do not know. Let your guilt go. Know that Marian lived, breathed and had his being wrapped in your love, and that now, in That Place Where All Things Are Known, he blesses you for that love. And his love for you, translated and purified into Love, he sends back to you, to walk with you down through all of your days. Because Love abides. Always, forever, Love abides. His only sorrow now is your own guilt and grief. For his sake, let go of guilt, and allow your sorrow to slowly heal.
 

silent meowlook

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Very bad things happen to very good cats for absolutely no reason at all. When some of these things happen it is out of our control. No amount of good wishes, positive thinking, or money can change it.

To not be in control is terrifying. So, we get mad at ourselves, our veterinarians, God, but mostly ourselves. Anger and placing blame is more comfortable for most people than grief. We always want to blame someone or something when there is really nobody to blame. Bad things just happen and are out of our control. It is horrible any way you look at it. I am sorry.

Honestly, it sounds like it could have been hypertrophic cardiomyopathy that is an unseen killer in cats. Young healthy looking cats. Cat is fine in the house doing cat stuff. Family goes out and returns to their beloved cat deceased. It isn’t fair at all. Usually it is very quick.

Try not to torture yourself with tragic details that may not have happened. You don’t know that he suffered. He may not have.

Please allow yourself time to grieve, as this is such a difficult time. If you can, take time off from work if you are able. If there are any shelters or rescues you can volunteer at, it might help you, and some cats as well. That’s what I do when I grieve. I figure if it is going to be agony just to exist, I may as well help some animals in need.

I am so sorry.
 

di and bob

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When you have an important part of your life torn away, of course, you will suffer, you will be angry, you will feel so incredibly alone, and like said above, that everything is out of your control. And it is. Things that should bring you pleasure, will not for a while. You can't allow yourself to be happy when your little one is gone. You will dwell on that last day, on all the should haves, could haves, and will beat yourself up for a long time. I know this because I, and many others, have stood exactly where you are standing now. We are on this site to let you know it IS survivable, and though you will be sad and angry, and lost for a time, you will draw strength from that sweet boy's love and somehow survive.
Time is the only thing that truly helps. One day at a time. Your mind and soul are taken completely over by the grief and the loss at the moment. In time your mind will clear somewhat and eventually find a place of acceptance. Your soul will yearn to truly live again, as it is meant to live. To love and be happy once more. Although I understand that seems impossible to comprehend right now.
Love is difficult to describe. It isn't something tangible, something we can touch and hold on to, it is spiritual, an emotion, something that develops and ties two hearts and two souls together. Forever, for eternity. It is different for everyone. It is YOUR love, YOUR loss, so unique, so personal, it is only shared by two. Though someone can be loved by different people, each love is as unique as a snowflake. That is why it is so incredible soul-shattering when someone we love dies. We have a very part of ourselves torn from us. It leaves a huge hole not only in our lives but in our very selves. It takes a long time to heal that hole and it always leaves a scar. And since people aren't sharing that love, that connection, they can be incredibly dismissing and don't empathize at all. Because it is a cat. Don't let that get to you, stay away from those people and pity them. Because they don't know the bond that can develop when you receive the love from those wonderful creatures. Our little ones can be even closer to our hearts than any human will ever be.
We can only tell you what worked for us. You will eventually find a way to cope, to make a new life order for yourself. One day those horribly painful memories will bring you comfort, those years that he shared your life are many, don't let his death mar those precious times. There will come a time when you realize you should go forward into life once more. To live it as you would have wanted your sweet boy to have lived if you were the first to go. Not in unending pain and grief, but accepting more little loves to reside right besides his in your heart. Helping it to grow even stronger, even more beautiful. because that is the legacy he left you. How to love, how to accept another love into your heart. what it is to love. He did well......
My thoughts and prayers are with you all. We are here any time you need to pour out your anguish. For now, try to do something that makes you feel a little better about yourself. Give a small donation to your local shelter. Or get them some litter and cat food. And do it all in Marian's name.
My heart breaks for your pain. Keep your chin up, your little boy will always be as close as your thoughts and prayers because what you share is a part of you and can NEVER be taken. Take care.........RIP dear Marian. You will always be remembered, you will always have a secure place in a loving heart. May the good Lord bless and keep you, until you meet again.....
 
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Ewelina

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Thank you so much for these beautiful words. These warm thoughts and understanding, it helps a lot. Nobody can understand it better then people who went through the same.
You're wonderful. Taking your time to support and help a person that you never met. Opening your hearth for me. Thank you...
Of course I would never leave him if I would know that he'll get sick or poisoned. You're right, we couldn't know. Thank you Mamanyt1953 Mamanyt1953 . From one side I'm fighting with thoughts that he was dancing with dead few times before. He was a fighter. Defending his territory. Few times he was basically close to death. If not quick help in the clinic he could pass. With this experience we should never leave for vacation without him. I don't know how could we not see it... how could we be so stupid. Yes I love him so much, and the only what he had was this love. The only what he had was us. He trusted us. He was missing us when we've been away and never met us again, instead of that he died right before we came. It's heartbreaking. It's cruel. I'm fighting with my thoughts and feelings. But you're right, you're so right. My mind knows it when I read your words, that we couldn't know, my heart doesn't listen.

I've been crying so much when reading these beautiful answers. But these were good tears, clearing my soul from this awful guilt. Which comes back, again and again, but then I read your warm words again and manage to get a rid of it for a while. Thank you so much!

I've been reading it for my husband today. He wasn't that close with Marian, but in this moment he was crying together with me.

S silent meowlook thank you. I really hope that it was heart failure. That he passed quickly. That we wouldn't be able to help him anyway because it was just his time. That's what I wish to belive. And I'll try to...
We'll go to a shelter on Saturday and give away his food and his bed. We just bought plenty of his favourite boxes. He was a picky eater... I'd like to ask if I can help them. But from the other side I'm not sure if I can handle to be close to any cat now. To look into cat's eyes and not fall apart. It might be just too hard.

Chris Ekstedt Chris Ekstedt I'm so sorry for your loss. It had to be traumatic also. Hope that taking care of the tiny one is easing the pain. Thank you for sharing it and sharing your warm thoughts. Don't know how long time ago it happen to your girl. It's so sad that this guilt is still there. I also feel in my heart that it's very difficult to let it go. Even when I understand that we shouldn't feel it. It's still so hard.

I'm crying like a child when I read your words di and bob di and bob . It's so true. Touching me so deeply. Thank you so so much.
Pain comes in waves now. When it comes it's unmanageable. When it goes away, it feels wrong.
There are periods during the day now when I manage to stop crying. In these moments I feel much lighter, empty, a bit sad... and then few minutes later it feels incredibly bad that I didn't feel enough pain after that what happen.
It feels like I'm not allowed to stop crying because that what happen to him is so awful, unfair, painful, unreasonable. When I stop crying it feels like I don't miss him enough, like I don't love him enough.
But honestly I never felt it before. I didn't know that this incredible pain even exists. Didn't know that anything can hurt so much, and so long.

Marian was pure love. He made me a better person, it's true, and I never felt or understood it so clearly as now.

Today I went to work. Have been going to toilet to cry few times, but most of the time I managed to sit in front of my pc trying to work. Couldn't focus at all, forgetting what I'm doing and feeling like I'm not suffering enough. But at least I could breath normally and my eyes didn't burn because of crying.

I miss him so much. I still can't believe that it's true. Today I told my husband that maybe it was another cat which just looks like Marian, and Marian will come back soon. Like always. Like nothing happen. I even believed it did a short moment.

Evening is the worst. That's when we've been together. Like... all the time. I'm hugging his blanket and close my eyes, thinking that it's him...

I'll have to say goodbye to him.
Maybe we'll cremate him, spread his ashes, maybe keep a little of him at home in a tiny urn. But it's so unreal, abstractive. Feels like it's some absolutely different story. Like it has nothing to do with Marian. Because losing him is so unreal. Because it didn't happen.
How should I say goodbye? How to show him the most love? How to understand that it's the very last goodbye? How to live further?

I didn't expect so much help. You're so wonderful people. I'm very greatful. Your words are basically helping me to hold on. To breath. To clear out my mind and soul for a while. Will read it again and again, whenever pain feels unbearable. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
 

di and bob

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Anything at all we can do, just ask. We are with you in spirit. This awful journey you walk alone, but we are near. Just take all the time you need, grief takes as long as it takes. One day at a time......
 
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