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Posts: 2
So my Bella passed away Saturday morning. It has been 4 days since I last seen her and since her death. All I do is cry. Literally. The panic attacks are more frequent. The heaviness, the emptiness, the is only worse. I'm trying to calm down. Not forget, not negate feeling pain, not push feelings away just calm down a bit because I know this is unhealthy (my response) but I can't. it feels like these responses are only intensifying. I am literally heartbroken. I'm trying things to help too. I have asked the vet for everything under the sun of her (fur, paw prints, ashes, everything). I bought a grief book (should be here tomorrow) and a memorial book to write down sentiments, thoughts, etc (in the meantime, as a placeholder, I've been journaling on my phone). I have been collecting photos to make a collage and photo album. I reached out to a pet artist I had always wanted to reach out to and was always so busy to. I'm pulling at strings. I'm reading blogs. I'm trying everything but I feel more panicked and grief stricken. I don't know what to do and I feel so alone. My husband I don't think understands the pain. Many around me don't remotely understand and I think they think i'm crazy. My children are dealing with it in their own ways and while i'm there for them, nothing seems to help me. I find my one dog (not the other) may be sometimes looking for her. The night before her death/morning of it was 12:15am and very late for me as I was preparing for my youngest daughters birthday. My husband was rushing me to bed but Bella needed her night pills. I went in to her room and she greeted me in the best way she always did; with her high pitched chirp/trill and walking straight to me. I quickly got her meds together and put the sauce on them as I always do so she would lap them up. She ate around the pills. SOMETIMES she would do that but usually I could convince her. I was rushed. I kept trying and she wouldn't take them so I gave her some treats (usually she would come back to the pile and then lap up the pills), patted her head and headed for bed. That morning I woke up early for the party (about 6:30ish). I started pulling the decorations and preparing things. There were decorations in the garage, next to her room, I had to put out. Her morning pill wasn't due until between 7:45-8:45. As I was getting the decorations out I thought I saw she run out the garage and towards her room HOWEVER because I was always paranoid she would slip past me I sometimes convinced myself I'd see that kind of thing only to find her upstairs or next to my foot. I finished my decorations and went to her room to give her the am pill. Couldn't find her so I started calling her through the house but nothing. I looked in all her normal spots thinking she was just refusing to take her meds (she always knew when they were coming) but nothing. Then I started to panic she DID get out. I woke up my husband and the kids started looking. Nothing. I sent my husband to drive around after I frantically searched the yard and immediate surroundings. It was then that I looked harder at her room and saw her tail from under the desk (odd spot) and felt relief. I called off my children searching and as I approached Bella thought she wasn't breathing. Again, due to her meds and medical history I always had that paranoia that she may not be breathing so I felt her tummy and she was cooler than normal (again, could it be the air conditioning?) but it didn't feel like she was breathing. I stared some more and realized, she had passed. My little girl. my sweetest Bella. My everything. She was gone. I had done everything for her. But I rushed the night/morning of. If I had just stopped by sooner could I have caught whatever happened? Could I have been there? holding her? letting her know what I pray and hope she already knew which is that I loved her with everything I am? I miss her so much. I won't let anyone touch anything in her room. I want it all the same and nothing moved. Even where her pills still lay. I cannot believe this is happening. The vet said it was probably a clot due to her heart disease and tumor and cocktail of meds complicating things. That the alternative could've been worse and that death is immediate with those kinds of clots - the one she is experienced. For some reason that helped hearing but made it worse, if that makes sense, and I don't know why. She always showed me pure unconditional love. She loved me so much and so hard. She followed me everywhere when I was nearby. I should've known that something wasn't right but I was so preoccupied. But would I have noticed? She was eating her food and ran to the can as soon as I opened it, she was making the litter box, she was drinking water, she was interacting and playful. I wish I was with her or, most of all, that she was still here. I want to feel her unconditional love and give it right back to her. I wish I could just sit at the vets office where I know her body is and just hold her. My dogs are great but she was the definition of loving hard. Her purr could heal anything. We would sit together and I would always feel a sense of calm with her and her only. that was all ripped from me. My unbreakable bond has been broken by death and I wasn't there with her or not rushing and spending more time. I don't know what to do or how to make it through. I need help. Is there something I could be doing or doing differently? Any alternative options to anything? Please help. I know no one can bring her back and that is all I want but I also need to improve if even the slightest. For my family's sake too...

Posts: 639
Hello Jessica426,

You are traumatized and the disturbing experiences you are having is a result of being traumatized. The death of a pet is traumatizing.

You said: >>> I know this is unhealthy (my response).<<<

Actually, I don't think it is unhealthy. Your response is actually involuntary. Many people mistakenly believe that grief is a single emotion, but grief ca actually be a powerful, multifaceted and often uncontrollable response.  In other words, grief can affect us not only emotionally but also physically. The loss of a pet can and often does plunge us unwillingly into a maelstrom of pain that often feels overwhelming and inescapable.  

I developed severe panic attacks after the death of my dog Tum. And severe chest pain from the tension. Crying was non-stop with all the deaths of my girls. I thought I had experienced a nervous breakdown...and maybe I had. But nonetheless, I was hysterical.

In my case, I asked for and was prescribed medication (a sedative to use 'as needed') to calm me down. I was unable to cope with the symptoms otherwise. They were very intense and I was terrified for myself.

I needed support badly and got it through pet loss hotlines.  They are free and you can call as often as you need to and call as many as you want. This is the actual list I used: however there are others on the internet if you want more numbers. The University of TN has a professional social worker who will talk to you for free, for four sessions, one hour each. I used her services. The number there is on the list I gave you, but here it is: (865)755-8839

In due time this horific experience is going to ease up. In the meantime as you stated, you are having a hard time coping. 

Right now to you your bond with Bella has been stolen from you through death. But take heart. There is something called "continuing bonds" where you can maintain a relationship with her. What it means is you don't have to come to a point where you say 'she is gone and this is the end. it is all over now".  Rather, you slowly redefine your relationship with Bella, allowing for a continued bond that will endure throughout your life. You can still love her and have a new relationship with her. 

I am really sorry this is happening to you. I know you are in severe pain that defies human description.

Please keep talking. You can post here anytime. Every day if you want. You are not alone in this. I am really, really sorry for your loss.

I think you did a great job with Bella all her life and in the end even though things did not go as you ever thought they would. We are not perfect but you were as close to a perfect mother as one could be. It is obvious.

God bless you,


Posts: 12
Jessica, I hope you are feeling better. You didn't hear her cry in pain, pacing, or saw any signs of dying. She was in her familiar surroundings, she knew you were there. She died in her room, where she felt safe.
My Baby died in a cold oxygen cage alone. I think she would've rather endured any pain and just die at home. She must've been wondering why did Mom leave me here. It was the worst thing I could've done to her.
What has helped me in the last week has been prayer. I had stopped praying a few years ago. Just went through the motions, but I wasn't feeling it. When Sayuri died, I thought my world was over. Felt like such a failure. Asked God to please allow me to have some peace, to allow me to forgive myself, and I would scream Sayuri's name and ask her to forgive me and told her I loved her. Every morning while driving I she'd tears and tell her I miss her and what a warrior she was. How brave she was. She had a terrible start in life. She was semiferal, rescue group was going to put her down and I said I would take her. She spent 11 years with us. She was 12 when she died.
Stay strong. She will let you know she's at peace

Posts: 2
Thank you, both. You both had very helpful or resonating things to say. The crying has subsiding however, unfortunately, the panic attacks/depression has increased. The absence is there. I brought her home and I think it hurts more but I wouldn’t have it any other way, if that makes sense. I have reached out to sources for help but unfortunately it is still hard to obtain. I did get rid of her litter box out of concern for everyone still in the household and I’m not going to lie, it broke a piece of me. The emptiness hurts. I can still feel her cuddling on me or see her popping up but she also isn’t there. Bottom line is that this has all hit me now in a different way and I feel like I’m being pulled deeper into it. I feel like at the crossroads of mending or breaking I’m headed towards break. It’s hurting in a new way but deeper. Maybe it’s reality setting in?! Idk.

Posts: 639
The panic and anxiety is increasing because as the days have been unfolding, you are looking at what happened and fearing if "more is to come" and your reaction is fear, panic. Perfectly understandable. You will eventuallly reach a point where you will see that you are OK despite this trauma but until then, expect the panic and anxiety to stay with you. It leaves, but leaves slowly. Fear and anxiety is not an unusual response, given what has happened.

You feel like you are being pulled deeper into it because is becoming more real to you. As the days unfold, you are seeing what has really happened and it is hitting you like a ton of bricks. Hence, you are being pulled under as you are face the facts and feel the feelings. Yes, it does seem like being at a crossroads and the path that lays ahead is one of brokeness. Not one of mending.

This is all part of the healing process.

It is disturbing and painful but these reactions you are having must surface, be felt and experienced or else you will stay stuck and never heal.

So this horrible stuff in a way is a good sign.

Don't give up. This will not last forever. It may last longer than you want and longer than you expected. Much longer in fact. But ultimately, you will 
start to see the signs of healing and you will know for yourself that you have not sustained an incurable injury.  This is a hurt that can be healed.

Give it lots and lots of time and go through the different things that are happening to you knowing that this is all part of the process.

You will be OK. And for now, you are safe.

Posts: 3
Hello Jessica

First step is to reach out. I lost Taylor yesterday. Same situation. Guilt thoughts from what I have read are common. I let her outside she pawed the door when I opened the door she was on the ground. She had epilipsey. I have found that journeling and wiriting poems helps with the grief. The intense feelings will go away. I have lost a few dogs in my life but Taylor was my life companian so this grief is a bit different. Im will go to a grief group for pets. I would encourage you to watch Ted talks on grief. Amazing stuff. I hope you find this helpfful and does not marginalize your deep loss. : )
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