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Posts: 1
It took me so long to get a new kitty after the loss of my little Yogi, we rescued him and he was very special to me, I never thought I'd find another cat like Yogi, but then Dash came into my life. I've had my baby since she was 8 weeks old, I got her when I was 11-12 after finally feeling ready. She passed away last week, I found her on Monday (4 days ago). The thing is, I looked everywhere when she didn't come home for dinner, under the house, in our garden (she loved our garden) and when my family and I couldn't see her, we had assumed maybe she was chased away from another cat and would soon come home to us, it was so unlike her to even leave our front garden. I began knocking on peoples doors on Wednesday, a day after she first went missing on the Tuesday and then again on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday morning. I never stopped looking for her or calling her name every morning, afternoon and night. I knocked on every house in the neighbourhood. My mum and I found her on Monday evening, she was in a spot under the house that is unable to be seen from any of the holes, believe me, we looked under so many times, she was just hiding. I'm not sure what happened to my baby, all I know is it looked like she fell asleep, my dad and brother said she looked peaceful, her eyes were closed and she was lying back as if she was asleep. I'm so hurt because she was my best friend, she got me through my entire high school life, she got me through being bullied, she got me through my first heart break, she got me through severe illness and helped me to keep fighting, she was there when I graduated high school under a month ago, but she isn't here now, for the next chapter, and it kills me. I just hate myself because she was right beside me, the whole time. Everyday I went looking, she was right beside me and I didn't even know, what if I could of saved her? I just can't get the voices out of my head. I don't even know what killed her, she was only 6.. That's what kills me more, I love her, I miss her touch, her cuddles, she was the most incredible cat, she slept with me every night, there wasn't a moment she didn't want cuddles. My dad, mum, aunty, brother, everyone says that she was laying to rest where she did because it was close to me, she was right under my window. I miss her so much. I blame myself because what if she could still be here if I didn't go looking elsewhere? I'm so sorry Dashy, even though you wouldn't be reading this.. I love you so much and I hope one day you come back to me. 

I don't know how to cope with this grief, I have no desire to live. I just want her back with me. It kills me because I wasn't there to hold her, I don't even know when she passed.. I just wish I could've been there to hold her. I feel like I let her down. Everyone is expecting me to do things now I've finished my last exam, a week ago today, but I can't. She was my sidekick, my partner in crime. She was there for me for the best and worst times of my life so far.. I just wish I could've been there for hers. And I just wish she could of lived longer then 6 years, she deserved it. 

Posts: 71
I’m really sorry to hear about Dash, I know how you are feeling, it’s just heart wrenching.

I know it doesn’t help you now, but all that you are feeling is totally normal and with time these intense awful feelings will lessen. I know that is hard to believe in these early days but you just need to take it minute by minute right now. I’m just over 5 weeks after losing my young cat suddenly and I felt like you, didn’t want to live, couldn’t eat or sleep or see anyone, just in so much pain. Unfortunately there’s no quick easy way through grief, but you will get there and you won’t always feel in this much pain.

I still can’t look at pictures of my boy yet, it just hurts too much and I have good and bad days, but the pain is not so raw.

It sounds like your little Dash passed away peacefully. Please try not to punish yourself for not holding her in her last moments. I never got that chance either, but I think animals sometimes prefer to be alone when they pass away.

Don’t worry about what others expect you to do either, you are grieving and there is no time limit. Just do what is right for YOU as you need to take care of yourself.

Thinking of you xx

Posts: 730
I am so truly sorry you're in this awful place.  I read and then re-read your note, hoping to see if there's anything you wrote that can help me make sense of what you're feeling in these dark, early days of grief. You wrote beautifully, expressing yourself in such a profound and moving way.

I'll start with what struck me the most - when you said 'she isn't here for the next chapter' of your life.  I must tell you that Dash will simply be there for EVERY chapter of your life because it's been Dash who has taught you so much about what life means - everything from relationships, to unconditional love, to friendship, to forgiveness and so much more.  She was the companion who was there for you, every day, beside you, and who probably knew you better than most people.  You trusted her, and this trust was reciprocated, so you were able to recover from challenges that you faced.  This strength, this learning, you got from a little cat, who showed you how to be kind to yourself, and to face whatever came your way.  There is simply no chance that Dash won't be part of who you are, and who you become, as you move forward.  And every time you face a challenge, or need that strength, it'll be Dash whose spirit you'll turn to for that support.  You get to take her with you, and to keep her, forever.

The next thing is when you write of not being there, not holding her.  There is no geography attached to love.  If that was true, then every time I went to a grocery store it would mean that the people or pets I loved were forgotten.  Love is a bond, unseen and not related to where the object of that love is.  You were as close to Dash as you always were at the moment she passed.  She felt you, as she always did, and would have never considered that you didn't love her because she couldn't see you.  She knew you were there, as you had been her whole life, and passed with that knowledge intact in her heart.  Please know that the bond isn't broken, even by death, because it's an eternal and shared connection for those who hold it. When you are an older woman, as your life unfolds, there is no way this bond won't be as strong, as formidable, as it was when Dash was at your side.  She still is, and she always will be, at your side.

Finally, the blame and guilt you write of.  They are frequent companions here, and so very many people, me included, think that somehow we changed from loving, caring pet people into killers in the blink of an eye.  That overnight we changed into someone capable of neglect or cruelty or hate.  This is the biggest lie that guilt gives us.  You SHOULD have seen some signs.  You SHOULD have been there.  You SHOULD have been able to win against death and work some magic to change this outcome.  None of this is true - or even possible.  Dash could have passed from any number of illnesses, chronic conditions, congenital problems, or something else.  Not knowing why she died is just as important to you, in this moment, as the fact that she has died.  That's why the guilt is right up there, where it doesn't belong, in the heart of someone who would have gone to the ends of the earth for this little cat.  It's easier to deflect your grief by focusing on the guilt - punish yourself for a crime you didn't commit. This guilt will die a quick death, and slink off to the gutter where it belongs - for it does NOT belong anywhere in your reality with Dash.

Finally, your hopeless and helpless feelings of grief.  And this IS such a hopeless, desperate feeling, because you cannot change or hit a rewind button, or have a chance to do anything differently.  This is a permanent, forever change in your life and it's the worst possible feeling you could have.  You just WANT - so badly - to have her back.  Please, please, just let me have her back and I promise I'll do anything.  I know that feeling, I was there, right where you are, when my little dog Fiona passed.  I believed, with all my heart, that I'd never feel anything remotely good again in life, because the sun stopped shining when she died, and it would simply never be the same life without her. I was right - and I was wrong.

Yes, your life has changed.  You'll have to work to find a 'new normal' because the life you knew, and came to expect would always be there, is gone.  But there are two constant truths in your future.  The first one is YOU - learning to navigate your life without your little best friend, without losing the connection to her that you created.  This part is almost easy, for how could you ever forget her, or unlearn what she showed you?  Right now, her death is a weight on your shoulder.  But very soon, I promise you, it'll change from a weight on your shoulder to a light in your heart that no amount of time passing will ever dim.  Dash will be held safe, warm and untouchable - you can never lose her again.  

The second truth is Dash herself.  Dash did not exist to cause you darkness, agony, unbearable grief.  To associate her with these feelings would break her heart - for she always knew you felt her love, her warmth, her light.  At some point, and again I truly wish I could tell you when, Dash will fight to reclaim her place in the sunshine, where she is remembered with smiles and laughter and longing - not with guilt and darkness and desperation.  For that's more real and more lasting.  

But it takes what it takes to let the grief be grief.  And Dash is worth every tear, every sleepless night, every ache you feel in your body.  She was an important part of you, and she mattered so very much to your identity and your reality.  I wish I had 'tips' or rules or advice on how to cope with this - I don't.  Only you have lost her, and only you know how that feels.  I lost Fiona - it's not the same and we are not the same, though we have this shared experience.  Grief can be a lonely place.  Even trying to tell you how I coped with the loss of my little Fiona would almost be meaningless, because she and I were very different than you and Dash.  

But what I can tell you is this - come here, to this board, and know that you are truly NOT alone - for all of us are here for the same exact reason you are - the loss of a beautiful, irreplaceable pet whose passing has left us broken.  Broken.  Not destroyed, not over.  Just broken - and we will heal - we do heal - and Dash knows she can count on that.  My heart goes out to you.  I am thinking of you - and your beloved, never-to-be-forgotten little Dash.  

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