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Posts: 16
I recently passed the 6 month mark since my cat Pumpkin died. I was doing okay for the past few weeks, but after reaching this landmark I feel lost again. I started thinking I was seeing him at home again, like when I shower and he pokes his head between the shower curtain. I've been trying to draw as an outlet, but I think I'm holding back. A first I didn't want to draw because I was afraid at what would come out on the page, but when I sat down to do it, I was underwhelmed at the content. Last night, I looked at pictures that my fiance had taken on the day Pumpkin died. I hadn't looked at those since the day he died, while we drove home from the burial. It was hard to see it all again, but there was one picture that reminded me of one good moment from that day. I think of that moment a lot, and can remember it so clearly in my mind as it was happening to me. It's interesting to see it from someone elses point of view. Seeing it reminded me that it was real, and that I can hold onto that forever, whenever I'm having a hard time. It's still somewhat painful to think about though, because of the circumstances. I just hope that Pumpkin is happy wherever he is, and that he knows I still Love him with my whole heart, and long for him to be with me again. I hope my grief isn't holding him back from anything. I worry that because I'm having a hard time, that he is constantly worried about me, and not enjoying his afterlife. That's how he was on Earth anyway... if I was having a hard time he would be very curious, and sniff around my face and walk all over me until I reached for him to cuddle. Then he'd lay with me for as long as I wanted him to, and would purr throughout. It was so soothing. Sometimes I still feel his whiskers on my face. I'm scared for the new year, because it will be the first year I've spent without him since we got him over 18 years ago. He was a constant in my life, and now I don't know how to cope with the feeling that I have, not only my feelings of grief, but of any emotion. My family recently had our first grand-baby, and it was a joyous event of course! I ended up having a really bad night after I got home though, because I couldn't share that joy with Pumpkin. It's automatic. I don't know how to stop my expectation that he will be there. Logically, I know that he's gone and I will never see him again, but after almost 19 years of automatically looking forward to seeing him, good or bad, it's like my body just reacts without my consent. I'm glad Pumpkin meant so much to me though. I'm lucky to have had such a loving companion. It's just so painful to move forward in life without him.

Posts: 639
Based on my own experience with pet loss and from what I have read, the sadness can increase over time..before it starts to ease up.

One reason is because the initial shock has worn off and now we are feeling, experieincing and living life without them and that is a painful 
experience in and of itself.

You miss Pumpkin and you are experiecing what it is like to live without him. So yes, it would make sence that you are feeling more pain.

I am so sorry for your loss and am glad you shared. In the days, weeks, months and even years ahead your pain will ease. Your anguish right now
is part of the process of living with loss.

I am so sorry for you,


Posts: 16
Thank you Stephanie for your kind words.

I am hopeful that I will learn to better cope with the pain that sometimes hits me out of nowhere. I've learned to call these moments "grief bursts". For some reason, having a label for it helps me feel like it's more normal than it seems. 

I've had three dreams of Pumpkin since he died, and each time he becomes a little more mobile. This gives me hope that he's doing well on the other side, or that maybe I'm slowly doing better. I've never really interpreted dreams, but that's my best guess. 

I notice, you registered for this forum several years ago. Do the anniversaries get easier as each year passes? So far, I'm dreading each one, but I'd like to eventually turn them into positive times to remember Pumpkin. 


Posts: 1,191
Hi Kristin,

So much of what you wrote about your new life without Pumpkin hit home with me. I was very much the same way after my precious Blackie unexpectedly passed away. I had many grief bursts (love the label, it really fits, doesn't it?) for a long time, several months, if not more than a year. It was so difficult adjusting to life without him. Even though Blackie & I had a little under 3 years together before he passed away, he was such an important part of my life and whatever I did, I did for him. Everything about Blackie was deeply ingrained into my life.

To answer your question about whether the anniversaries get easier as each year passes? I would say that for me, the first year was difficult because everybody knew it was the first year without Blackie. But for me, the 2nd year anniversaries were the hardest because by then everybody expects you've moved on and nobody really wants to hear about life without your best friend. So really, for me, the 2nd anniversaries were hardest just because I really had to cope with them on my own. I came here and posted a lot that second year. And the third year. And the fourth year. And I still post about Blackie every now and then. But the good thing about this place is that people here never get tired of reading what you write, no matter how much you write or how long it's been since you've been separated from your best friend.

For me, it's now over 10 years since Blackie passed away and I still think about him nearly every day. My love for him is as strong as it always was, and I still miss him. I always will. No matter how much time passes. I'm sure the same will hold true for you and Pumpkin. Love will always be there, no matter what...

Hugs to you...

- Kelly
Angel Blackie's mom
Angel Squeeker's mom

Posts: 16
Thank you for your kind words and advice Kelly. I will stay patient with myself as years go by. I'm confident that I will always have love for Pumpkin, and miss him. I hope to eventually feel at peace that he is in a good place, but for now I'm just trying to figure out how to deal with my emotions without his help. That's been the toughest thing for me. He was such a comfort in hard moments, and now I'm dealing with the hardest moments on my own. I just try to imagine him there, but it's painful because my imagination is just nothing compared to actually having him by my side. I'm so grateful to have found this forum though. It helps a lot to relate to people and share what we're going through. I hope you've found peace with your Blackie. I'm glad you still have love for him. That gives me hope.

Posts: 4
I am reading your posts and it scares me, I only lost my 2 years old cat Hank few days ago, someone ran him over on our street and for hours we didn't know. I am overwhelmed by the most awful guilt that I should have known and be there for him that I let him down when he needed me most! its consuming me! and you guys are talking about years? I went to see him to say goodbye I stroked him and hugged him and kissed him and cried uncontrollably I told him how sorry I was for letting him down and not being there for him I asked for his forgiveness because I know that I will never ever be able to forgive myself. it scares me that I think I have years of grief to come and I am not sure I would be able to cope with it? Hank was full of life and was probably the most affectionate cat I have ever seen, he loved everyone and did not deserved to die.

I feel your pain and your loss and can virtually understand your grief. I miss Hank to a level I never knew existed and its so hard to live with, sometimes I just want that grief to take me away to a dark corner away from everyone so I can curl up in a bowl and cry and cry and cry, it feels that no one truly understands - but I know that will only make everything worst.

Sending you loads of love and hugs, I don't have any answers now but maybe with time I will be able to help others, right now I am in hell. 

Posts: 16
Hi Daria,

I'm so sorry for your loss. Sounds like Hank meant a lot to you! I found that the guilt I had about my Pumpkin dying didn't stay with me as long as my grief has. Everyone has their own experience, but know that guilt is just one part of grief, so you might be able to work through that before the rest of your grief. The first days after Pumpkin died were so confusing for me. There's so much to sort through, and it felt like I was losing my mind. That passed for me as time went on. I get mixed up in my emotions over my grief at times though, and that tends to last me about a day. I find I feel better after a day like that though. Those days are less frequent now too, but anniversaries and holidays bring up those feelings. For example, I had a panic attack on this past new years eve, because I was afraid to live in a year that Pumpkin wasn't alive to witness. It was painful, but I leaned on friends and family, and here I am in a new year now. Missing Pumpkin hasn't changed. Neither has loving him, but I'm able to allow myself those painful moments to make the rest of my day-to-day easier. 

I want to tell you it's not your fault that Hank was run over and that you couldn't get to him sooner. It may not feel that way, but I hope in time you will be able to place more blame on the person that hit him, because they are the one that should have tried to find the owner once the incident occurred. Had they contacted you, then you might have gotten to Hank sooner. There was no way for you to know what happened. It's normal to feel guilt, anger, and sorrow, among other things. It sure doesn't feel normal, but it's also necessary unfortunately. Let yourself feel your pain. It helps me to think that my pain shows that the loss meant something, and that the pain I felt was proof of how close my bond was with Pumpkin. I am glad that you were able to cuddle and talk to Hank and ask for forgiveness though. Not everyone gets the chance, so in time you might see those moments as a small gift that came from a horrible situation. 

Thank you for sharing your story, Daria. I hope you find some comfort in knowing how much Hank loved you. 

Posts: 4
Dear Kristin,

Thank you so much for your kind words and honest advise I was overwhelmed reading it. I look around the house and see Hank, trying to remember the good times, this morning my 4 year old son asked where he was the first time, I just choked up and I could not speak, I did try to explain to him that Hank had an accident and he was gone now, but I am unsure if he is processing it to a real level, I almost hope he is not. Hank loved the kids and was obsessed with them, they could do anything to him, he would just sit there and loved the attention, recently they covered him in puzzle pieces and he was simply asleep. The darkness comes to me when I look out the window and see the road, the cars, the part of the road on which he died and it feels like someone just squeezes my heart and me chest and I cant breathe. I have two kids a partner a full time job and lots of stuff to do but at the moment I am just floating about not really there performing tasks that are almost robotic, without thinking. I am scared because sometimes letting go of grief when you have moments of clarity and some happiness is mistakenly interpreted as betrayal, that trying to feel better is equated with trying to forget, its almost like I am forcing myself into this deep dark hole as a punishment for not being there for him. I believe the guilt would need to be resolved first, because it consumes all other feelings, I just don't know how to deal with it. Again thank you for your message, sending you loads and loads of love and strength xxx

Posts: 7
Hi Pumpkin's Mom,

Thank you for sharing about Pumpkin - I am so thankful for these message boards and the ability to talk about our grief with other people who completely understand.  I think when we love someone so deeply and thoroughly that they will forever be in our hearts and on our minds.  Pumpkin was a cat that was loved completely - that is something that is so important.  Whether we have a pet for six months or for 18 years we love that pet so very much and not having them there to share our experiences with us is so hard.  The solace we can try to find is knowing how much love Pumpkin and you had for each other.  The greatest gift on this earth is love and while I'm grieving the loss of my 12 year old cat Tux, I find I have to focus on the love we had for each other and that helps me get through the really hard days.

Tux was the guy I went to when I was happy and when I was sad - he was my comfort blanket, so I totally understand how Pumpkin was the same to you - the first guy you'd go to and share your life with.

I am trying too to work through anxiety attacks - today marks one week since losing Tux and this morning I had an anxiety attack.  I am hoping with time the anxiety will lessen and I will be able to focus on all of the love we have (I am a firm believer that each of our beautiful animals are in heaven - and our love continues on forever).

Pumpkin is watching over you - he is in a place free of pain and sorrow - and the love you have for him is with him always, just as his love for you is with you always.  Once we forge that connection with an animal, that connection will always be there.  
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