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Martha2

Registered:
Posts: 13
 #1 
It's been just over two months since my amazing cat died, and I haven't coped well at all. I'm still crying every day, I still think about him most of the time, and I feel very bleak. I guess it's fair to say I'm struggling quite a bit. It's made working hard difficult, and I feel even less social than usual.

However...it's only been a couple of months. I have to say, I feel like this is a totally healthy reaction to a devastating loss. The loss has made a major impact on my daily life.

A few people now have suggested I talk to someone. While I feel like this has benefits, and I appreciate where they are coming from, I also feel like this overlooks how much of a trauma this loss is - as if my reaction is over the top.

Just wondering if anyone else feels the same? I know there are other people here who feel an enormous sense of debilitating loss too.
cosesmom

Registered:
Posts: 580
 #2 
Oh boy!!!! I still feel the same as you. The first 6 months were really bad and all I wanted was to be with my Sweet Termy. He has been at the Bridge for 17 months and it's still hard. Just last night I cried myself to sleep because all I could do,is think of his last few weeks and wondered if I could have done more but he was really suffering from old age and his body was letting him down. I still deal with the guilt, maybe not as much as before but it's still there lurking in the corner. I have gone to counseling, seeked a spiritual reader,  pet loss support group and anti depressants. I feel better now but I fall into sadness and regress. I still cry and I haven't missed a single night (except one) of going out each night and looking for a single star that was in the sky the night I let him go. I talk to him all the time, I haven't put his dish away and I wear a pendant that contains some of his ashes every single day. So if people are telling you to get help, they just don't GET IT!!! Getting help with a grief consular that specializes in Pet Loss will help. It is one of the biggest losses we can experience in our life time. I have lost family members and that loss didn't impact me as much as losing Termy. He was my Heart Dog, my soul mate. Give yourself time and be gentle with yourself. I understand your heart ache and pain. It hurts deeply and will for a long time. The connection we have with our babies go deep and it isn't easy to move forward. We just learn to live a new normal after our loss. You are in your right to grieve and it isn't "over the top" and it is traumatizing. Feel free to to reply to me, if you want. I don't have any answers or know the right words to take away your pain but I understand.
Love and doggie hugs
Termy's mom
Loz

Registered:
Posts: 37
 #3 
Hi Martha2,
Its  6 weeks since I lost my beautiful Berry my red/white collie dog, my best friend. I too feel in a dark place and miss her every hour of every day. I feel part of me ( the best part )died along with Berry and I don't know how to move on. You are not alone in your sadness and grief and I really feel for you. People tell me time will help ease the pain of our loss but its missing her SO MUCH HURTS SO MUCH TOO.
SENDING YOU MY LOVE XX
mawlawva

Registered:
Posts: 6
 #4 

Hi Martha2,

I just posted (being reviewed) a similar post, except that I haven't lost my baby but I'm watching him go a little each day (congestive heart failure).  I've been through this before and it was never like this.  I know what you feel.  I still mourn babies I lost decades ago.  The grief becomes somewhat less painful and more of a reminder of how much love you had for your fur baby.  I cannot think of ANYONE who could not benefit from some therapy so don't be too reluctant.  They get paid to listen to you go off on how unfair it all is and don't judge you.  On the other hand, you do not sound like you are in crisis and are where you are supposed to be.  I do not have any source, but once I heard that losing a close pet requires the same process as losing a child.  We are not programmed to have to deal with that (which is why outliving your children can be so painful).  I wish I had bright words for you, but I'm in that dark place too.  The fact that I'm not alone helps. Cry every day if you need to.  Heck, i'm bawling as I write this (and I'm at work, supposed to be looking all authoritarian .... hehe).  Hang in there Martha2.  If we did not all share this experience, this site wouldn't be so successful.  Sending positive thoughts your way.

Fionasmum

Registered:
Posts: 730
 #5 
Firstly, I am so very sorry for the loss of your beautiful little cat, J.  I went back and read your early posts to get a sense of your journey so far, and I feel the love the you had - still HAVE for J in every word you wrote.

Many people, probably well meaning, are unable to support you, many of them thinking he was 'just a cat', unworthy of the depth of grief you feel in your soul. There is sometimes an arbitrary timeline in the heads of those who have never experienced pet loss, or maybe any real loss, and this is imposed on those of us who are in the grip of a deep and unrelenting grief.  Two months?  Oh my god you're STILL crying over this?  Yes.  I am.  And in my case, almost 9 years after the death of my little dog Fiona, when I first came to this wonderful site, I can still find myself tearing up, and smiling - sometimes all in the same moment.  

Yes.  J was 'just a cat'.  And you are 'just a human'.  There is no species-specific framework through which to grieve. You grieve as YOU are meant to, and you feel what you feel, and no one has the right to say it's not appropriate or somehow wrong or too long.  Your little J deserves every ounce of your grief.  He was YOURS and he was loved and he was an enormous part of your identity and your security and your spirit.  Every part of what you thought was normal has been changed, radically and forever, and to expect that you can manage this in some defined period of time is simply misguided at best and cruel at worst.  

Martha, at two months I was a total basket case - drifting in and out of each day trying to hold myself together and yet conscious of the fact that I was truly in the darkest place that grief can take you.  My friends were supportive - at first - but then started to expect that the 'old' Sandra would return and there would be light and sun and smiles.  When this didn't happen, they started backing away, unsure of how to help.  Gradually, as it does in these early days, my grief became a constant companion and I started to believe it would simply never let me go.  People say that time heals but I have honestly never believed that.  No amount of time will change the fact that your beloved J is gone.  No amount of time passing will restore the life you had.  

But I am here to tell you, to PROMISE you, that what does change is you.  Rather than being frozen and stuck, obsessed with his death, you find yourself thinking about how he lived and not how he left.  Rather than the stark awfulness of his loss sitting like a ton weight on your shoulders, the light of his personality takes root in your heart, lifting your 
spirit from the inside.  Rather than spending all your waking hours thinking about him, you find that ten minutes have gone by where you've actually been focused on a recipe, a TV show, a good book, a conversation with a friend.  Anything.  Then the grief comes rushing back in and you feel like you'll never be anywhere other than where you are - in the darkness of loss. It's like a demented roller coaster that you didn't even pay to ride.  

What I think - from my own experience - is that J does not wish to be associated with pain and loss by the person he loved the most in life.  J represented wonder, innocence, unconditional love, cheekiness (probably - like many little cats!), and the expectation that he was absolutely worth all the attention and fuss you gave to him.  The two of you formed this unique bond that met each other's needs and set the tone for your daily life.  To now think that this incredible time you shared will forever be reduced to pain and sadness is not something J could ever tolerate.  So, together with J always in your mind, you work to create a 'new normal', and new future that sees J assume his rightful place inside your heart, where he is safe, and where he can never be taken from you again.  It won't be the same life you had when J was at your feet, but that does not mean it won't be a life worth living, sharing, and loving.  Remember, you lived a good life of normal 'ups and downs' for many years before you even knew J.  You'll do it again, only this time you'll have him inside you. 

This does not happen overnight.  Or next week.  Or next month.  There is no switch you can turn on or off.  Some days, you think things are lifting, and then other days it's like you lost him an hour ago. But it does happen and I know that the path you are on is normal, expected, unique to you and J, and totally worth being supported and validated.

Martha, my heart goes out to you because I know, I remember, just how horrible and isolating this grief is when you cannot turn to your friends for fear of being rejected or having your grief trivialized.  Not one of us on this board will ever offer anything but love and care and friendship as you work to make sense of a world that has changed so profoundly.  Feel my hand in yours, and know that you are not alone, you are 'normal' (whatever that means), and you have every right to take the time and space you need to grieve your beloved J.     
Martha2

Registered:
Posts: 13
 #6 
Thank you everyone, for taking so much time to share your kind words with me. I can't express how much it means.

I'm so sorry to have taken so long to have responded. The reality is, everything is so difficult now. Even getting up in the morning is hard. Sometimes my body physically aches with the weight of the sadness. I feel physically weaker.

Sometimes it feels like there's just one tiny thread stopping me from losing it completely, I feel like I'm going mad.

The three month mark passed recently. It was a milestone I was dreading, because it felt so substantial somehow - a quarter of a year.

You see, people say time makes it better. But time sometimes feels like it makes it worse, as it takes us further away from the ones we lost. The memory becomes a bit weaker, the idea that they were ever here at all becomes more abstract. 

  
goofygirlinva

Registered:
Posts: 1,191
 #7 
Hi Martha,

I just wanted to let you know that you are not alone with how you are feeling. I can say that when my beloved Blackie passed away, it took me several months to be able to talk and think about him without tearing up. Like you, everything was so difficult, even getting up in the morning. I lost weight because I did not feel like eating (very unusual for me, LOL!). This went on for a very long time and I believe it was after the 1-year mark that I finally started to feel some sense of peace. And when I moved out of the townhouse that Blackie and I shared, it was very difficult because it felt like I was leaving an important part of our lives together behind.

I am thankful for the pictures I took of Blackie. I didn't take nearly enough and I did not have any videos of him. But I still have those pictures and I cherish them to this day, over 10 years later. Yes, the memories have become a bit weaker and it seems like it was several lifetimes ago that we were together. But I do have those pictures, I have the journal I wrote in after his death where I tried to capture some of the memories I had of him. And I still have many of his things - his collar, kitty bed, fleece blanket, food and water bowls, toys, etc. - so every now and then I go through the memory chest I made for Blackie and touch his things and try to remember all I can about him. And I also do my best to mark his Gotcha Day and his Bridge Day anniversaries each year.

Anyhow, I am rambling, sorry about this. I guess my point is that everybody is different with how they react to and cope with death. Some are able to move on a few weeks, months afterwards, others need more time. Some people grieve very intensely, others manifest their grief in different, less obvious and outward ways. There is no one way that is right, there is no length to your grief journey that is "right" - it ebbs and flows and changes over time.

I hope you are soon able to look back on the life you shared with your kitty and find peace and smile from deep within your heart...

Hugs to you,

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

emjl81

Registered:
Posts: 7
 #8 
I feel that way myself too and wondered if this is normal because i have lost pets in the past and didn't take it has hard as my beloved Kitty a week ago today. I have been hearing her meow. Last night and the night before that my whole family heard it so I know I'm not going crazy!! Last night I got sad because I feel like she is looking for me and can't get to me. i know it may be too soon to replace your cat with a new one but maybe that could help since its been 2 months. Only you know that answer though I am nowhere near ready for that but maybe try volunteering at a local shelter with shelter cats? you could pet them and feed them and maybe one will take a liking to you? I know the Petsmart near me looks for volunteers to do just this and clean litter boxes and cuddle kitties. Just a thought. Hope you feel better I feel the same way too. 
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