Tag Archives: grieving

When You Lose Someone You Love

On the day I’m writing this post, it’s been 3 years since losing my precious kitty baby, Georgie.  Naturally, he’s been on my mind a lot today.  He was quite the character- feisty, liked to tease other kitties mercilessly, highly intelligent, loving, caring & protective of his brother, Pretty Boy, especially after Pretty Boy’s diagnosis of diabetes in 2011.

 

Georgie died suddenly on April 16, 2014.  I still have no clue why.. he obviously passed in his sleep, thankfully, so it was peaceful at least.  Yet, no warning anything was wrong made losing him especially hard.

 

Shortly after his passing, I was still in shock & grieving terribly.  As usual when grieving, I talked to God about how badly it hurt.  He told me to listen to a certain song & said, “Georgie wants you to know he thinks of you when he hears this song.  It’s your & Georgie’s song now.”  The song was Steelheart’s “Angel Eyes” from 1990.  A song I’ve always loved, but thanks to Georgie love even more since his passing.

 

I know, this sounds odd.. yet, this type of thing has happened after losing several of my kitties over the years.  When Bubba died in 2001, I was sure I was going to die too, when  Lynyrd Skynryd’s “Freebird” became our song.  Magic’s & my song is  Wynonna’s “You Were Loved.”  “When Jasmine passed, it was Aerosmith’s “Angel.”  Vincent’s & my song is “Someday We’ll Be Together.”

 

You get the idea.

 

Since so many of you who read my work are also avid animal lovers, I’m hoping this post offers you comfort.  I never knew this type of thing would help me survive losing my precious furkids, but God did.  Asking Him for comfort turned into receiving the only thing that could help me, aside from having my furbaby back.

If God did it for me, He can do it for you as well.

 

Dear Reader, if you’re missing a precious loved one, be they furry or human, I would like to urge you to cry out to God.  Ask Him for comfort.  He will not disappoint!  He may give you songs like He has me, or maybe not.  It depends on what comforts you most,  I believe.  In any case, trust that He wants to help you & then wait for the blessing to come your way.  It will greatly surpass your expectations, that I promise you!

 

This is Georgie (left) & his brother, Pretty Boy in around 2005.  My two handsome, wonderful brothers.  🙂  Georgie’s & my song lyrics are below the picture if you’d like to read them.

Brothers

Angel Eyes, by Steelheart

“Angel eyes, you have angel eyes, such a smile that lights up my life
You’re a dream come true, now I’m holding you
And I’ll never, never let you go, I will never let you go!

First time I laid my eyes upon you, all my dreams were answered
First time I kissed your tender lips, my love to you I surrendered

I’ll never let you go, you’re always on my mind
You’re the only one for me, you’re all I need
And I’ll never, never let you go

Angel eyes, my heart relies on the love you give to me
You never let me down, you’re always by my side
And I’ll never, never let you go, I will never let you go!

When my heart starts to crumble and the tears start to fall
You hold me close with tender lovin’, and give me strength to carry on

I’ll never let you go, you’re always on my mind
You’re the only one for me, you’re all I need
And I’ll never, never let you go

I’ll never let you go, you’re always on my mind
You’re the only one for me, you’re all I need
And I’ll never, never let you go

And I’ll never, never let you go.”

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What Not To Say When Someone Is Grieving

A friend & I were talking recently about some of the dumb things people say to someone who is grieving.

 

  • “He’s in a better place.” (And knowing this negates my pain how exactly??)
  • “You should be glad she’s not suffering anymore.”  (I am glad, but I still miss her!)
  • “I know just how you feel.”  (No, you don’t.  You aren’t me.  We feel things differently)
  • (in cases of pet loss) “It was just a cat/dog/bird/etc.”  (To you, but to me, that was my baby!)
  • Or, simply acting like since their loved one has been buried or cremated, they should be ready to on with their lives since it’s “done”.  The funeral marks the beginning of learning to leave without your loved one.  Personally, I feel “in limbo” until the funeral or cremation is done.  Once that happens, my grief really begins.

 

Comments like these may not sound so bad, but they can be hurtful when you’re in the early stages of grief.

 

The simple fact is people don’t know what to say in this situation.  Nothing sounds “right”, so many people say something unintentionally hurtful rather than saying nothing.

 

If you know someone who has recently lost someone they love, please think before you speak.  What may comfort you may not comfort the other person.  Everyone grieves differently.  Plus, there are various stages of grief, & what may comfort someone at one stage may not at another stage.  For example, knowing I’ll see my loved one again one day does NOT comfort me immediately after losing that person or pet.  I call it the selfish phase of grief, where I  just want them back with me because I miss them so much.  Some time later, knowing we’ll be reunited one day is a great comfort.

 

It seems to me there are only a few safe things to say to someone who is grieving.

 

  • “I’m so sorry for your loss.”
  • “Is there anything I can do for you?”
  • “If you want to talk, I’m here for you anytime.”

 

Please consider your words wisely when someone you know has lost a loved one.  You have the ability to help them or hurt them, so please, choose to help them.

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Filed under Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health

Grief

As I wrote about earlier today, our little family became a bit smaller recently with the sudden loss of our cat, Pretty Boy.  Losing a furbaby is absolutely the worst part of having pets.  It feels like my heart has been ripped out, to tell the truth.  Not only because of my personal loss, but watching my husband & the other furbabies grieve is so incredibly painful too.

 

Thankfully, I’m surrounded by friends who love animals as much as I do, or at the very least, understand how much I love them even if they are not avid animal lovers themselves.  They have been sending their condolences & praying for my little family, which is simply awesome.  I’m incredibly grateful for them!

 

Unfortunately, not every single person in my life is this kind.  My narcissistic parents come to mind.  As of the time of me writing this post, they don’t know about Pretty Boy, & I hope to keep it that way for a while.  The reason is they end up hurting me each time I lose a furbaby.  My mother has said things like the one who passed is better off dead than with me as his or her mom, “at least you don’t have any sick ones anymore”, repeated a story about losing her cat when she was 14 years old, or simply ignored my loss.  My father sort of tries to be comforting, but he has no idea how to.  He has no empathy.

 

When you’re grieving, whether it’s losing a human or furbaby, you are especially vulnerable to the cruelty of narcissists.  They know this, & that is why they attack at this awful time.

 

I want to remind you Dear Reader, & myself as well, that it is very important to protect yourself during such fragile times.  There is nothing wrong with keeping a distance from narcissists when you are grieving.  In fact, it is a wise thing to do to protect your mental health.

 

You owe them no explanation as to why you need time to yourself, either.  Just state that you need some time to yourself, & if they insist on calling, texting, visiting, etc., ignore them.  Don’t answer the phone or the door.  That is your right!  If later when you speak to them, they try to shame you for not answering their calls, etc., simply remind them you told them that you needed time to yourself & ignore the guilt trips!  Easier said than done, I know, but it can be done.  I’ve done it myself.  By calmly stating that fact & ignoring the guilt, the narcissist may get annoyed, but sees that the tactic isn’t working, so usually he or she abandons it.

 

Also, narcissists don’t understand what it’s like to grieve.  To grieve means you loved someone, which is something narcissists don’t do.  This may mean they try to invalidate your feelings or shame you for grieving.  Do not allow their poison to get inside you!!  Just because they are unable to love someone enough to grieve a loss doesn’t mean you are wrong for grieving.

 

When you are in the throes of grief, it is especially important to take good care of your mental health.  Do your best to rest often, do nurturing things that help you to feel better, eat healthy & avoid toxic people (especially narcissists).  You need to do these things so you can go through the painful grief process, & eventually learn to live without that special person or pet.

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Grief Anniversaries

Tomorrow marks the thirteenth anniversary of my paternal Granddad’s passing.  Like every single year on May 31, I know I’ll be depressed & missing him more than usual.

 

Grief anniversaries are rough days, but I think they can be a good thing in a way as well.  They remind you of someone you dearly loved yet lost.  They gently push you to remember some good times, & the things you loved about that person.  As sad as May 31 always is for me, I also look forward to the day in a way because it gives me an excuse to remember the good times, like sitting around what is now my dining room table with Granddad, listening to him telling me stories of our family.  Or, going to our favorite little Italian place for lunch & chatting over a yummy meal.  I also remember how after his death, butterflies started appearing in my life, comforting me.  I also laugh how my talking teddy bear that he liked has started talking without me pushing the button since he passed, & I’m pretty sure he has something to do with my talking bear.  His way of saying hi.

 

Sometimes, too, the day reminds me of the viewing the day before & the funeral.  Those memories are extremely hard & all these years later, still make me cry.  But, sometimes tears can be a good thing.  They can be cleansing & healing.  They also are proof of having loved the departed one a great deal.  Loving someone is truly one of God’s most precious gifts.

 

I’ve also noticed grief anniversaries can be spontaneous.  The scent of your loved one’s cologne or perfume, the sound of his or her favorite music or even a sport he or she loved can be enough to bring you to tears for missing that person sometimes.  Even now, there are times I think, “I should call or email Granddad about this” or “I wish I could talk to him about this” & experience a renewed grief with the reminder I can’t talk to him anymore until I see him in Heaven one day.

 

I really believe these days are important to acknowledge.  They keep your loved one in your heart & mind, close to you, so he or she is never really gone.  That is why every May 31 & August 15 (his birthday) I remember my granddad.  I also remember days I’ve lost others I’ve loved- my grandmother, great-grandmother, & my furbabies.  They’re always close to me, always in my heart.

 

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Filed under Animals, Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health

Animals Grieve Too

On this day in 2014, my husband & I lost one of our special cats, Georgie.  We adopted him & his brother, Pretty Boy, when they were only about 4 weeks old.  They were adorable tiny, fluffy black powder puffs, born to a stray living in a local lady’s yard.  She said she was going to have animal control take all of the cats later in the week.  Rather than let them take their chances at the shelter, we decided to adopt the brothers.  After all, we had lost 2 cats in a short time prior, & another one was dying from cancer- we knew she had very little time left.  Kittens always help to cheer us up (they’re so fun & silly!), these two were in need, black cats are the least likely to be adopted & also my personal favorites.  It seemed like everything was saying we needed to adopt these two precious little boys.

 

That was in 2002, & in the 12 years we had both boys, we had a lot of laughs, mostly because of Georgie.  He was mischievous & ornery, where his brother is much more serious.  In spite of their very different personalities, they were inseparable.  Georgie was always Pretty Boy’s protector- if another cat went to mess with Pretty Boy, Georgie intervened, even if the other cat only wanted to play.  When Pretty Boy was diagnosed with diabetes in 2011, Georgie was always there to comfort his brother, especially when he came home smelling like the world’s most horrible place, the vet’s office.

 

Then on April 16, 2014, I realized around 10:00 that I hadn’t seen Georgie since the previous night.  I texted my husband who said he hadn’t either.  I thought maybe Georgie sneaked outside (as he had a couple of times before), or was hiding somewhere napping. I searched the house & couldn’t find him.  He didn’t come when I called, which was very unusual.  In a panic, I asked my husband to come home & help me find him.  He found Georgie in our bedroom closet.  Apparently he passed away in his sleep, why we don’t know.

 

 

Pretty Boy was devastated, & as you may know, stress & emotions can play havoc with one’s blood glucose levels.  For a month, Pretty Boy’s already sensitive levels could jump 600 points or sink 600 points in a 12 hour period.  Thankfully, his glucose levels started to level out after about a month.  Pretty Boy has not been the same since losing his brother.  He became even more serious, but at least he has developed closer friendships with the other cats.

 

Losing a furbaby is excruciating for people, but we aren’t the only ones who suffer.  Their furry family suffers too.  Blood related or not, if you have more than one pet, chances are good that they are bonded to some degree.  Maybe they don’t show their love as openly as Georgie & Pretty Boy, but there is a bond there.   I have had 27 cats in my adult life, & have lost 17 to date, plus had 3 dogs & lost 2 of them.  I can tell you that the survivors always grieve.  Not all grieve as hard as my Pretty Boy did for his brother, but there was still a great deal of pain when others passed on.  I have seen it over & over

 

If you have lost a furbaby, please remember this!  I know you are suffering, but so are your surviving furbabies.  You need to help each other through the grief process.  It will help you both to get through & bond you even closer.

 

How do you help when you feel like you’re falling apart?  First, pray.  Ask God to help you to help your furbaby.  Pray for your furbaby- lay your hands on him or her & pray out loud.  I have yet to have one pet not like this.  They understand what you are doing, & they do appreciate it!  Mine certainly have.

 

Offer your surviving furbaby extra love.  Lots of snuggles & saying “I love you” truly help you both a great deal.  Don’t think animals don’t know what you’re saying, only the tone of voice- they understand exactly what you’re saying!  And, like humans, hearing a heart felt “I love you” is always welcomed, but especially when they are hurting.  This helps you too- when you receive snuggles in return, it helps to lift your spirits.

 

You can take your baby for a walk- not only dogs enjoy walks, but some cats do as well.  In fact, some cats enjoy walking with a harness & leash, believe it or not.  If your kitty isn’t a fan, they make pet strollers that safely protect your cat in a netted cage of sorts, allowing her to enjoy the fresh air & remain protected at the same time.

 

Playing is always a good bonding experience with your pet, & it helps to elevate both your moods.  I have yet to meet a dog who didn’t love a good game of fetch or tug of war.  Most cats enjoy cat nip, chasing a piece of string or rope & some even enjoy jingle bells or small crinkle balls.  The experience also helps to cheer you up because it’s such fun watching your furbaby have fun.

 

Losing a pet is a painful, horrible experience, but never forget, it also hurts your other pets.  They need you now more than ever, & you need them.

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Losing A Pet

As most of you know, I’m an avid animal lover.  I also have a weird knack for remembering dates.  So, I naturally remember this day in 1990 when I adopted my first cat, Magic…

Magic with Georgie Magic with Fluffy Magic looking handsome Magic chillin'

Magic was very special, my soul mate.  He was extremely intelligent, loving, devoted, protective, a great surrogate daddy to kittens, stubborn, devious & so much more.  He was in my life for over 16 years when he passed away quietly in my arms one afternoon.  Although he’s been gone since January 17, 2007, I still miss him daily.

I was thinking about Magic when something occurred to me.  So many people act like when you lose a pet, it’s no big deal.  “It’s just an animal” they say.  They fail to realize that animal is like a child to you.  You love him, take care of him, provide for him, comfort him when he’s sad or upset & nurse him when he’s sick.  How can you not be shaken to your core when you lose your furry child?!

If you’ve lost a precious pet, I would encourage you to honor his memory in some special way.  It will bring you comfort when grief threatens to overwhelm you, & remind you of fun memories as well.  I have a locket that has a small tuft of Magic’s fur on one  side & his picture on the other.  You could do something similar.  Or, you could get more creative.  A photo album or photo display in your home would be nice.  A special garden with a memorial plaque in your yard also would be nice.  Paint or draw your beloved pet’s picture.  When our neighbor’s Akita dog died, our dog, Bear, was devastated.. he loved Mathilda a great deal.  I decided to knit him an afghan since he liked to nap on them & a couple of my friends sent me squares to add into it.  All squares had two hearts on them in some unique way.  It brought him comfort when he was hurting.  You could do the same for yourself if you are into the yarn arts.  Or, you could sew a quilt.  The possibilities are endless.

Losing a pet is a horrible experience, but it has one good part.  Grieving hard means you loved hard.  As painful as it can be to believe when you first lose your furbaby, one day you will realize that it was worth it, because you had that special little angel in your life.  Remember that when you are in pain- it really will comfort you one day.

And, ignore those who try to invalidate your grief.  They are foolish or cold hearted.  Grieve that precious furbaby however you see fit.  You probably never will stop grieving completely, & that is ok!  It just means you loved that little one a great deal.

Tell God how you feel- He understands. .  In fact, God may bless you in a unique way at this time.  After losing Magic, I was listening to a CD one day, the soundtrack from the show “Touched By An Angel.”  Wynonna’s song “You Were Loved” came on & God spoke to my heart saying, “This is from Magic.”  I can’t hear the song with it’s moving lyrics without thinking of Magic now.  It always brings me joy & reminds me we’ll see each other again one day.  This has happened with other cats I’ve lost, too.  Bubba’s song is “Freebird” (Lynyrd Skynyrd), Sugar’s is “Not A Day Goes By” (Lonestar), Vincent’s is “Someday We’ll Be Together” (The Supremes), Jasmine’s is “Angel” (Aerosmith), Georgie’s is “Angel Eyes” (Steelheart) & Sneezer’s is “Carrying Your Love With Me” (George Straight).  If God has blessed me like this, He may do the same for you.  Why not ask Him to do so?

Also, if you have other furbabies, then please never take them for granted!  As I’m writing, my Pretty Boy is napping on the sofa, snoring loudly, while Zippy is laying across my wrist as I type, purring loudly.  Their contentment brings me joy.  I love my boys so much, & tell them so all the time, just like I do with the other cats & dog.  Animals, like humans, need to know they are loved.  And, you need to enjoy the time you have with your little furry angels to the fullest!

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I Realized I Am Grieving

If you missed it, yesterday I posted about my narcissistic mother’s betrayal.  She currently is feigning great concern for my husband’s mother being ill, in spite of knowing the massive amount of abuse the woman has put me through.  And, she is flaunting it in my face- when we saw my parents Saturday, my mother kept bringing up his mother’s health,displaying deep concern for her. The only reason she is doing this is to cause me pain, & it is working.  Those of you who also have a narcissistic mother know that if I had said anything to her Saturday, she would have portrayed herself the innocent victim of her evil daughter.  The worst part is nothing would improve, but most likely it would only get worse.

Since Saturday, I have not been happy at all. I am deeply hurt,& crying easier than usual (normally I cry easily anyway, but this is over the top even for me). The C-PTSD has been flaring up- my head is swimming, anxiety levels are terrible & I had nightmares all night long last night.  I can’t remember many details other than being abandoned in them, which tells me my brain is still trying to process what my mother is doing to me.

I also realized this morning that I am grieving. There are five stages of grief..

  1. Denial- denying this is happening.  it’s a normal defense mechanism.
  2. Anger- when you feel as if this can’t be happening because you aren’t ready for it.  You may be angry at anyone or everyone at this point.
  3. Bargaining- “if only he had seen a doctor sooner!” thoughts invade your mind.  Or, “God if you let him live, i’ll do anything you want!”
  4. Depression- sadness becomes almost overwhelming.
  5. Acceptance- accepting what has happened, & beginning to move on.

These stages of grief not only happen when someone you love dies, but they can happen in other areas of life as well.  I believe they also can happen during especially painful times, such as what I’m experiencing. When someone goes above & beyond to hurt you, that is horribly painful, but when it is your own mother- the one person who is supposed to love you no matter what- the pain is magnified by 1,000.

So this is why I am grieving right now.  When my mother first began her “concern” for my mother in-law, I wasn’t surprised.  She has been sending her Christmas cards ever since the first Christmas after I told my parents how bad my mother in-law treated me.  However, the constant mentioning her, the “I’m praying she gets better soon”, & then the cookies & card for her were over the top, even by my mother’s standards.  It was almost impossible for me to believe she had gone this far at first (stage 1).  Once it started sinking in shortly after leaving my parents’ home Saturday, I got angry (stage 2) & stayed angry all during yesterday.  By last night, I actually began to wonder if I had done something wrong, something to deserve this from my mother or something that made her behave this way (stage 3).  That didn’t last long as anger & then depression (stage 4) kicked in.

Once I thought about this, I realized that I go through this often when my mother pulls some of her antics.  Honestly, most of them I am so used to that I only get angry or disgusted that we are going through it again.  Even so, sometimes, she surprises me & pulls something so especially painful, it catches me off guard.  This is one of those times.

I believe grieving like this to be common, & not only for me, but for all children of a narcissistic parent.  if you share similar feelings to mine after dealing with your narcissistic mother, then please be aware of two things:

First, you are not crazy!  You are not wrong, nor are you at fault for feeling this way.  You are perfectly normal! You are grieving something very painful, & need to be compassionate & gentle with yourself until you have come to terms with the incident. Take care of yourself- pamper yourself, & do things that make you feel good.  If you made a comfort box or bag, get it out & enjoy the special items you put inside.

And second, know you are not alone!  It isn’t “just you”.  Just because your narcissistic mother says nobody else is as bad/crazy/stupid/etc. as you means it is true.  She is lying to justify her abuse.  Ignore her!  She is the one with the problem.  There are others like you who understand your pain & will validate you!  I am only one of them.

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health, Narcissism

Easter, 2014.

Today has been a very sad day for the Bailey family.  My awesome aunt Judy passed away this morning after battling cancer. 

Please pray for comfort for her husband, children, & the many people saddened by this loss.  Thank you so much, & may God bless you.

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Filed under Christian Topics and Prayers, Miscellaneous

Self Pity

It seems like everywhere I look lately, I’m seeing something about how no one should indulge in self pity.  It’s dangerous to your mental health, & a sign of weakness & immaturity, etc. etc.

I respectfully disagree.

While constantly feeling sorry for one’s self can lead to depression of course, I believe there are times where self pity is normal &, dare I say, even healthy.

–When someone you love dies, why do you grieve?  Because you miss that person.  That is perfectly normal! 

–When you & your first love broke up, you felt sorry for yourself because you were hurting.   That too, is perfectly normal.

–And, when you learn that your childhood wasn’t normal, but abusive, you’re going to feel sorry for yourself sometimes.  That is completely normal, especially on days when you wake up from nightmares or someone says something that reminds you of your abusive parent, causing you tremendous anxiety.

Although for many years, I shared the common mindset of the dangers of self pity, I have come to realize that it is wrong- self pity is a necessary part of life.  It’s a normal part of the grief process, & it helps you learn from painful experiences.   It also motivates you to be gentle with yourself during hard times.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with feeling sorry for yourself sometimes.  After all, it is evidence of your compassion.  If you can feel sorry for others who hurt, why shouldn’t you offer yourself that same love & compassion? You deserve compassion too!

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Christian Topics and Prayers, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health