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Advice for dealing with grief

Posted: Thu Mar 19, 2020 6:21 pm
by Lynne48
My lovely cat, Sam, had to be put to sleep. I am beyond heartbroken and will miss him so much. He was my best friend. I will never get over losing him. I do not want another cat, although they would have a good home. Sam was irreplaceable. I cannot even go out as I have to self isolate and cannot go out to work. I am crying constantly. Can anyone help me with my grief? Some people have no sympathy and think it's only a cat. Thanks for any advice, Lynne

Re: Overwhelming grief

Posted: Fri Mar 20, 2020 8:33 am
by Kris35
Hi Lynne. My ,21 year old cat passed last Halloween. I'd been grieving for her for three years before thinking I wouldn't be able to cope but actually I felt relief when she did go. Within three weeks I had two rescue cats. They will never ever replace my Oodyboo bit they have helped me no end because I need an animal that needs me.

I know we are all different, and I don't want to come out with platitudes but just this one: to feel true love means we have to suffer heartbreak.

If you're self isolating and not just practicing social distance, you are obviously going to feel even worse.

There are no easy answers bit I know how you feel because before Oody passed just the thought of her going would have me struggling to breathe sometimes.

I want to mention a friend of mine who was suicidal when she lost her dog a few years ago. She didn't think she would survive but she got another dog and that helped her.

I'm not saying go and get another animal, I'm just saying don't rule it out.

I can tell you your baby was so lucky to have you but right now very little is going to fill that gnawing emptiness.

I am truly sorry for your loss
I always wish I'd met these animals. Feel free to tell us a bit about your beloved Sam, I bet he was a character. Xx

Re: Overwhelming grief

Posted: Fri Mar 20, 2020 8:43 am
by Kris35
Also the Blue Cross has an animal companion grief helpline which I rang a couple of times when Oodyboo went. It helped me to talk to them.

Re: Overwhelming grief

Posted: Fri Mar 20, 2020 11:23 am
by fjm
Do call the Blue Cross bereavement line ... d-pet-loss - and talk to someone who understands. I wish I had words to bring you comfort, but all of those who have been through grief know that only time can really help. Being isolated makes it worse - all the usual routines that would help you through the day are disrupted, you are suffering from anxiety about the virus as well as grief, and have nothing to do all day except to stare at the empty spaces and feel your loss over and over.

There are a few things that I have found helped me a little in the past:
Don't indulge in "If onlys..." - you gave him a lovely life, and I am sure did everything in your power to prolong it, and when that was no longer possible were brave enough to help him slip painlessly away. You have nothing to reproach yourself for.

Do be kind to yourself. Grief hurts. If you can go outside in the garden, do so, get as much daylight and sunshine and fresh air as you can, even if it is just through a window. Take things gently, and take care to eat and to drink enough.

When you feel able, write it all down. Write your memories, a poem, scraps of memory, or draw pictures of them, or make them into music - not works of art, just for you and Sam. If the last few days were upsetting, it may help to put the events down in sequence so you can stop them going round and round in your head. Perhaps there are some memories you feel able to share with us - we would love to know Sam better.

Don't feel it is disloyal to Sam's memory to allow the pain to ebb, and even to contemplate perhaps one day finding another animal companion. Just as our hearts expand to love every child just as much as the first, so love can grow to embrace more cats and dogs. Each is extra special in their own way, and each teaches us something new. Perhaps the best memorial to a much loved friend is wanting to share everything they taught us with another.

Most of all, you are not alone. I would suggest starting a new thread, so more people find their way to it, though.

Thinking of you...

Re: Overwhelming grief

Posted: Fri Mar 20, 2020 12:34 pm
by Mollycat
Agreed do start a new thread, your Sam deserves that. Perhaps Admin can sort that out?

Losing my Misha sent me into my first full-scale depression. My partner at the time said, and still maintains 16 years on, that a piece of me died that day - died with her. As if the intense gut-wrenching grief wasn't enough, we then pile on embarrassment on ourselves fearing judgement from others because "it's only a cat" as if our furry companions were anything less than our reason for waking up in the morning. We find something to feel guilty about even where there is nothing, when we did our very best at all times and loved them and cared for them and gave them the most wonderful life, and they were so happy with us and loved us to their last breath. That is the nature of grief.

People who don't understand are missing something incredibly beautiful in their lives, the ability to love another creature so fully and deeply as we can and do. Our lives are ruled by pets, our daily routine revolves around them, we make sure they are taken care of whether we're out for the evening or on holiday, we include them in our budgets and consider them in our rest and relaxation time. And suddenly it's all gone, and for a time it can feel like life is meaningless. I remember vividly waking up some mornings wondering why I had bothered, as there was no Misha to feed, to trip over and to purr on my shoulder while I used the toilet. It's ok to feel this way for a while, it takes time to adjust. Every time we walk in the door, everywhere we look, every sound, reminds us of our loss. Be kind to yourself, be gentle and patient.

For me it was 3 years before I was able to give my heart to another, and he walked in when the time was right and demanded that I love him, even though we had already given another cat a home. She was my partner's cat, she was lovely, I was ok to give her a home but not ready to love again so deeply, and that's ok too. You can't rush grief, and even if it feels like it will last forever, it won't - once it is done healing you, it will take a back seat. It will still pipe up sometimes, but gradually it will quieten down enough to let you think and feel and one day love again.

Re: Advice for dealing with grief

Posted: Fri Mar 20, 2020 2:55 pm
by Ellie-G
Hi Lynne,

I'm so sorry for your loss. I've moved your post and the replies to a new topic for you so more people can see it and offer advice. I've popped a link below regarding some advice when dealing with a pet bereavement, I hope it helps you even just a little.

Best wishes,

Ellie ... nt-support

Re: Advice for dealing with grief

Posted: Fri Mar 27, 2020 9:48 pm
by Lynne48
Thank you for your replies. Sam was with me for 18 years and I still can't accept he's not here anymore. I will tell you about Sam's characteristic shortly. Kind regards, Lynne