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miggymok

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Posts: 41
 #1 
I lost my Mia almost a month ago. It was sudden - she was diagnosed with kidney disease, stopped eating and in three weeks she was gone. I adopted her only four years ago from our local shelter. She was about four years old at the time so she was only eight. The vet said that is young for kidney disease. She was a little Beagle mix and she melted my heart the first time I saw her. Mia had a lot of issues, especially anxiety and she did not trust easily. She rarely wagged her tail. In the first year I don't know how many blinds, curtains, towels, bathroom tissue, doors, etc she shredded. It took time but in the last year she was so much less anxious, more affectionate, more in tune with me. She was finally really enjoying her life. And boy was she spoiled...mountains of toys, lots of treats, a bed in every room (though she mostly used them to store her toys). I live alone and she was my world and just when things were really getting great, she was taken. I felt slightly better after a couple of weeks, but then the grief returned full force and I don't know how to deal with it. I can't sleep in the bed we shared. I can't sleep much at all. I have trouble eating, we always had dinner together. I cry constantly. I feel terrible guilt about letting her go. How do you deal with the emptiness, the loneliness? How do you fill the endless hours that used to be filled with walks and feeding and playing and snuggling? I feel sometimes like I am losing my mind. I only put away her toys and beds yesterday. It seemed so final, the last admission that she is not coming home. I have read posts on this message board, so I know others have had the same feelings. I guess I just wanted to communicate with people who really understand. 
Chatnoir

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Posts: 10
 #2 
I am so sorry. I lost my five year old cat a few weeks ago. It is SO hard. But you gave your girl love and a home. And yes, the home feels empty and so many activities we did with our pets are no more. It leaves big sad gaps.

Feel the feelings- cry, rage, whatever you need to do. Come up with a way to honor your good (i am enlarging a great photo to put on the wall) . And trust that time will soften the grief.

It’s hard. I am so sorry. (((Hugs)))
miggymok

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Posts: 41
 #3 
Thank you so much. I am very sorry for your loss. That must be terrible for you. I really appreciate your kind words and understanding. 
goofygirlinva

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Posts: 1,191
 #4 
I am so very sorry. I can relate - when my cat Blackie unexpectedly died from what I think might have been a heart attack, I was lost. I cried constantly, it was hard for me to eat my meals at home because he and I would always eat together, and it was hard to sleep because he would always snuggle up next to me as I drifted off to sleep each night.

I remember that the first few weeks were the hardest. I would have to keep a stiff upper lip, so to speak, when around others, and there were times at work when I would just go to the bathroom and sit in the stall and silently cry. And coming home was horrible - Blackie would always greet me at the door, but he was no longer there to welcome me home at the end of my work day. Each time I came home from being out somewhere, it was yet another reminder that he was gone and was not coming back, that I would never again be able to look into his eyes, hold him, feel him purr and tell him how much I loved him.

For me, I would just let the grief out. I would cry a lot and I kept the TV and/or radio on in the house almost all the time I was home because silence was so hard to deal with, as it was a reminder Blackie was gone. I kept Blackie's toys and bed where they were before he died, and I kept his food and water bowls in the same place. I also kept his food and medicine with me because to get rid of those things would bring yet another reminder that he was not coming home. 

I created a little journal where I would write down memories of our brief time together (Blackie passed away a bit under 3 years after I adopted him). In addition to writing down memories, I used that journal to write to him on special days, such as his Gotcha Day, and the holidays that held special memories of him. I've added to the journal over the years, and it is a nice way to remember the short amount of time we had as those years fade into the past.

In addition to all of those things, I created a memory chest in Blackie's honor - it is a wooden toy chest that I decorated with Blackie's pictures. I put his things in the chest and I keep it at the food of my bed. Some of the things I keep in his memory chest are a fleece blanket I made for him, his favorite bed, some of his favorite toys, the journal I created, his food and water bowls, and, believe it or not, the saline bag and IV lines I used to give him sub-q fluids for his kidney disease. I also have a can of his favorite pre-kidney disease food and a pouch of his favorite kidney disease food in the memory chest, along with his favorite scratching pad. And of course I have his collar, tags and leash in the chest. 

It's been over 15 years since Blackie passed away, but every now and then I open up the memory chest and go through his things and read the journal. Sometimes I even write a little bit in his journal. He was such a special cat, and I will always love him, no matter how long he's been gone. I am sure the same will hold true for you and Mia - you will always cherish the memories you have of her and you will always love and miss her, no matter how much time has passed...

Hugs to you. This must be so difficult for you, especially as the holidays near...

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

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Posts: 41
 #5 
I am so sorry for your loss of your Blackie. Three years is much too short a time. I also keep a radio or TV on all the time. I can't stand the silence. I keep listening for Mia and there is only the quiet. Coming home is one of my worst times too. I even kind of tentatively open the door as if somehow magically she will be there, but of course she isn't. I think the memory chest is a wonderful idea. I have kept some of her things like her bowls, her collar and leash and harness and some of her toys that she had mangled. The journal is a great idea too. One of the things I dread is losing some of the memories of her. It's so hard still to believe that she is gone. She was so alive, so funny and feisty and stubborn and affectionate. I am struggling with a terrible feeling that maybe it was my fault she got sick. The vet says about 1 dog in 10 gets kidney disease, but the dog I had before Mia died 5 years ago of the same thing. The vet says I did nothing to cause it, but I keep thinking I must have given her too many treats or too many tidbits from my dinner, or something else. That and the guilt about letting her go are torturing me. I think, Maybe I let her go too soon, maybe she would have rallied. I know it isn't true but I can't seem to let it go. Work is hard for me too. It is almost tiring to put on a professional face all day and keep the tears inside. I have been delaying doing any Christmas decorating because I just don't feel festive. I feel lost and alone. Thank you again for your kind words and bless you.
Julianne

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Posts: 28
 #6 
Dear miggymok,
   My beloved 6 year old cat "Kitten" died this morning of renal disease/failure. I had to let her go. She began going downhill 5 days ago and although the vet and I tried to give her another chance, she did not rally. This morning she was eating and drinking very little. She was also weak. You and I made this difficult choice because we love them sooo much and didn't want them to suffer. This was the most compassionate gift we could give them.
   My vet told me that she has never had an owner tell her that they regret having their pet euthanized. If anything, owners have said they wished they had done it sooner to spare the suffering of their animals. It was NOT our fault that our beloved pets became sick. I had an epiphany, as I was driving Kitten to her last appointment today and feeling so much love for her, that it is only love that matters in this world, and nothing else. The intense and deep love that we feel for our furbabies is eternal. Although my eyes are still wet and my heart is still aching as I write this, I know that love is the only answer in this difficult, painful, sad world we live in and we just have to pay it forward. 

Hugs,
Julianne
miggymok

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Posts: 41
 #7 
My deepest sympathy for your loss. All we can do is keep them in memory and keep the love we had alive in our hearts. My Mia had stopped eating completely and no amount of anti-nausea drugs or appetite stimulants could get her to eat. The vet tried IV fluids but it did not help. She had almost stopped drinking water too and she was getting weak. I slept on the sofa with her for her last weeks because I was afraid she would hurt herself jumping down if I helped her up on the bed. I would bring in her water bowl to try to get her to drink and I tried everything I could think of to entice her to eat. She loved to lie in the sun and on her last days I let her lie out in the yard all she wanted. On the day she died she was very annoyed with me. She didn't want to go to the vet. I think she was tired of needles and procedures, but I was desperately hoping for some kind of improvement, for just a little more time. The vet said we had tried everything. I know it was the right thing to do, she could not enjoy any of the things she loved, like walks and treats, but it was so hard. I asked the vet about bringing her home to live out her last days naturally but he said it would be painful and difficult for her and I couldn't subject her to that. I would not have missed knowing her for the world, but losing her so soon has been devastating. I hope that you will take comfort in the life you shared with your Kitten and thank you for your kind words.
Julianne

Registered:
Posts: 28
 #8 
Dear Miggymok,
Thank you for your sympathy. Your Mia and my Kitten both had renal failure. Like you, I tried the fluids, anti-nausea meds, and appetite stimulant
which did work for a couple months. If there had been any sign of improvement with her last Monday morning, I would not have euthanized her that day. But she was obviously declining again, not drinking or eating.
We are blessed with whatever time we are granted to have them in our lives. I do take some comfort knowing that she had a very good life with me during the five and a half years I had her. She was a little feral kitten, about 10 weeks old, when I first saw her. She wandered over to the feral colony I feed nightly. Long story short but I adopted her when she was a little less than a year old. She was the sweetest cat I have ever had, cuddling with me every night in bed, licking my face. During the day she hid under my bed most of the time. I think that hiding was her survival strategy as a kitten when she lived outdoors.
Letting her go was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. You probably feel the same way. But let's think of it like this. We made a sacrifice for them. We relieved them of their physical pain and suffering and instead took on the emotional pain and suffering of their loss. I hope this finds you more at peace.

Hugs,
Julianne
miggymok

Registered:
Posts: 41
 #9 
I hope you are doing better, even though it has only been a short time since you lost Kitten.

Time does not seem to be doing much for me though. I still cry constantly and can't get interested in anything. I sleep a lot. Like many other people in the group, I feel terrible guilt about euthanizing Mia. I keep re-playing her last weeks and especially her last day, wondering if there was something else that could have been done. I know in my head that it was the right thing to do but in my heart I wonder if I should have waited, even if I had the right to end her life. When I start obsessing about her last day, I try to think instead about a happy time but it is hard. The loneliness and guilt are so hard to deal with. Life is so different now without her. 
goofygirlinva

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Posts: 1,191
 #10 
Miggymok,
I completely understand that your life is so different without Mia. It's always that way when one of our beloved souls leave us and go on to heaven ahead of us. Whenever one of my cats have passed away, the energy in the house is so different. The house is quieter, but the energy is so different, partly because of how I feel but also because the light they bring into our lives is no longer here. I am pretty sure I am going to have to go through this again in the near future, this time with Thomas. Like you did with Mia, I'll have to make the final decision about Thomas. I'm really dreading this, but he is a 22+ year old cat, and I keep telling myself he has had a fabulous life surrounded by people that have loved him throughout his entire life. Still, when he finally passes away, my life and my home will be so much emptier and quieter without him.

When my Blackie unexpectedly died, I was like you. Time did not really help me move through the different stages of grief. I constantly cried for well over a year. I did not have Blackie PTS - instead, he died in the car in the middle of the night on the way to the emergency vet. Still, I kept wondering whether I could have done something different to help him live longer or make his final days more comfortable. The same held true with my beloved Squeeker - thinking back, I should have recognized the signs of his tumor a lot earlier. If I had, maybe there would have been a better chance we could have caught and treated it. As it was, I think the tumor was too far developed to do anything about and sadly, I lost him just a few months after his diagnosis.

So like you, I have some guilt about both Blackie & Squeeker's passing. And it took a really long time for me - well over a year - before I could talk about Blackie without breaking down into tears. For some reason I did not have the same reaction after Squeeker's passing, but I can say that I have been crying the last couple of days about Thomas. I just hope we are able to figure out what is really at the heart of Thomas' illness and that it is something we can treat with medicine. 

I guess I have kind of hijacked your thread and made it about me instead of you - my apologies for that. But I wanted to let you know that what you are going through is completely understandable and that I am so sorry for your heartbreak and your new reality. I wish there was some way I could help make your new life better, a bit less lonely and sad. Know that I am thinking of you as you go through this difficult time...

Hugs,
- Kelly
mom to Angel Blackie, Angel Squeeker and my beautiful Thomas
miggymok

Registered:
Posts: 41
 #11 
Hello Kelly,

I am so glad that you wrote. Please don't apologize - I think this group is here to help each other, so it isn't just about me. I wish I could help everyone, because we are all in pain.

I did the same thing after Mia died, thinking I should have seen the signs of kidney disease because my dog before her had it, thinking that if I had caught it early they might have been able to help her. But we are not vets and we do the best we can. We love them and take care of them and cherish them. It's very hard not to think of the 'what ifs' but nothing can change what has happened and it only inflicts more pain on us at a time when we are already drowning.

I am so sorry you are facing the same thing with Thomas. It is a very very hard road. With my older dog, when I knew he was at the end, I spent hours sitting with him stroking him and telling him how much I loved him before we went to the vet. But with Mia I was still expecting them to give me other options, other treatments, so when the vet said we were at the end I was devastated. I never expected to come home without her that day and I am having a terrible time trying to accept it. I pray that they will be able to help your Thomas and that he can be with you a while longer.

Thanks again and many hugs.

Joy

I've read the stages of grief, but I don't seem to be moving past the first stage. I am trying to keep it to myself so I won't worry my family, but it is so hard to come home to an empty house, to sleep without her warmth against me, to turn around to look for her and she is not there. At least since I live alone I don't have to pretend when I'm at home.
KittyPnJ

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Posts: 5
 #12 
I'm so sorry about your baby. I found that having something physical to hold onto was very helpful. There are a couple of companies that make custom stuffed animals of your pet. I had one made of the last two kitties of mine that passed away, and I will be having one made of the kitty I just lost last week. The website it called Cuddle Clones. They are a bit spendy, but you can have a stuffed animal that is life size to hug and pet- this really helped me a lot in the earlier stages of my grief.
miggymok

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Posts: 41
 #13 
Thank you KittyPnJ for the suggestion! That sounds like a great idea.
miggymok

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Posts: 41
 #14 
I went for a walk this morning. Everywhere I went I could see Mia, sniffing, excited, wanting to explore. Stains on the carpet from when she was near the end have started to fade. Her blanket no longer holds her scent. It's like she's slowly being erased and every little loss is a new stab of pain. I am worn out with grief but it doesn't seem to have any easing in sight.
KittyPnJ

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Posts: 5
 #15 
Was there a favorite park or place you and Mia liked to go to?
Chrissiejingles

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Posts: 4
 #16 
I too feel I am not coping. I lost my Orange Winged Amazon parrot, Mr Jingles, 4 weeks ago. I had Jingles from when he was 4 months old...he was 17 when he died. He was with me through troubled times and then good times. Talking, laughing,playing games, imitating me,making me laugh and all the time just loving me.....as I did him. His death I can't deal with I go over it again and again...I can't get away from it. ...............
I had rescued a dog. Jingles lived my dogs. I had 3 but Molly died (Jingles and her were best friends) She was 16 and blind. Jingles would throw her nuts. The new dog was from Ireland. She was a stray, pregnant and thin. She took no notice of Jingles. Then one day, a horrible Thursday, my partner decided to have the day off. He let Jingles out. He then went to play golf and forgot to shut Jingles in. He phoned me to say that he was dead,killed by the rescue dog, only feathers left.
My heart feel like it has been ripped open...my thoughts are only of him and worse I picture him getting caught. I wonder if he died quickly or in terrifying pain. He would have been wondering where I was! I miss him so much. Guilt and sadness. I feel I'm getting worse. Thank you.

Chatnoir

Registered:
Posts: 10
 #17 
Muggy,  your pet will NEVER be erased from your heart or your memories.  Truly.  It may not feel like you are getting better, but you are.  It just takes time and the little bit of recovery each day starts to add up.

I put up my Christmas tree— and you know how cats love (to destroy) Christmas trees. It was hard, but I took solace that I could think of her while looking at the tree.

My loss sent me back in to therapy (seriously- I get how hard this is!) and one thing he reminded me to do is to send love and good things to your Mia. It helps to think she is out there receiving your love.  

Sending you love and light.... you WILL get through this.  Promise.
miggymok

Registered:
Posts: 41
 #18 
Thank you all so much.

Yes, KittyPnJ we took long walks up by the lake. She always wanted to chase the geese and ducks. She loved all the scents up there. She loved to stand with her face in the wind, just sniffing.

Chrissiejingles, I'm so sorry. What a horrible way to lost a beloved friend. Hang in there. That's all we can do.

Chatnoir, thanks for your kind words. I am glad you are getting better, although slowly. I also feel moments where I do feel better, when I can think of the good times with Mia instead of her loss, but then the grief comes crashing back. I feel like I have been exiled from my real life to a miserable one that I hate. I have also thought about therapy, but I worry about finding someone who understands our bonds with our companions and not one of these people who dismiss them. 

Again, I thank you all very much and wish us all peace.


pansy

Registered:
Posts: 599
 #19 
Our local Humane Society has pet loss grief counselors they can refer people to.  Our specialty pet hospital also has referrals for this and to people who specialize in grief counseling for pet loss.  If anyone is interested they can check with their local humane society or local specialty pet hospital.
goofygirlinva

Registered:
Posts: 1,191
 #20 
If you are on the fence about whether to seek counseling, another place to look for pet loss grief counselors is with your local vet school (if there is one near where you live). I attended a couple of these about a year after Blackie passed away and it helped a lot. It was held at the vet school associated with my local university. There were people there who had lost their pets over a year before (like me) and were still in need of support. I only went 3 times, but each time I felt it getting a bit easier to talk about Blackie and it was wonderful to be among those who understood that your heart will always have a hole in it, no matter how much time has passed...

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