Tag Archives: pet loss

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

Exciting News!!

I know, I’ve been posting a lot of animal posts lately, but they have been on my heart a lot too.  Partly because I have lost two beautiful cats since May, but also partly because of the two cuties below….

 

There are two precious new members of hubby’s & my family.  Meet Grace O’Malley (named after an Irish pirate queen).  She has a heart on her back!!!!  How cute is she?!  She is extremely feisty & loving at the same time.

 

And this is Fergus (named after an Irish king), her brother… is he not adorable?  I found him in the food bowl his first morning here.. lol  Fergus is also extremely feisty, & very protective of Grace.  He’s a wonderful brother.

 

One of my best friends texted me about a week ago, saying she knew someone fostering 4 very young kittens in need of a home.  They were about 4 weeks & in need of a home.  They were born to a barn cat who had abandoned the litter.  She was hesitant to ask me if I’d take them because we have lost 2 kitties in the last 3 months, & honestly, everyone in our household is having a hard time with the losses.  After talking to my husband & finding out Grace has a disability, we decided to adopt two of them.  I am so incredibly glad we did, too.

 

Grace & Fergus have been home since about 5 on this past Monday, but already are a very loved part of our family.  Punkin is a great big  brother, which isn’t surprising.  He’s a kind, gentle kitty.  Plus since he has feline PTSD, he’s very compassionate.

 

As I type this, Grace is napping on my chest, so if you see typos in this post, that’s why.. not easy to type with a kitty in your face..lol

 

After losing two other precious cats in such a short time, I’ve realized that adopting new ones fairly quickly is a good thing.  I’m not trying to replace the ones we lost by any stretch, but instead, honor their memory by adopting other babies in need.  The bonus is these two being young babies, they are at the super fun, silly stage of kitten development, so they are cheering everyone up just by being their cute selves.

 

It can be so hard when you lose a beloved furbaby.  That being said, adopting a new one in need can really help to heal your broken heart.  They can’t replace the one you have lost, but they can bring more love & joy into your life which helps to mend your broken heart.  Please consider doing so!  There are so many animals in need!  If you can save even one, you are doing a wonderful thing!!!

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Filed under Animals, Christian Topics and Prayers

Some Thoughts On Pets

This past Thursday, we lost a beloved & very special member of our family.  Our cat Pretty Boy passed away suddenly of unknown causes at just over 14 years old.

 

I’m not sharing this for sympathy.  I’m sharing because I want to remind you fellow pet parents out there to enjoy every moment you have with your furbabies.  The time together can end in an instant, so make it a point to treasure every moment you have with them.  Pray for them regularly.  You may be surprised how much your furbaby likes it when you pray for them.  Pretty Boy had diabetes for 5.5 years, & I regularly prayed for him.  When I prayed for him in his presence, he purred & cuddled me.  It can be a bonding experience, praying for your furbaby.

 

Also, I have asked God to help me to understand & communicate with my furkids.  As a result, we are all very close.  And, I think this also has helped them to become the wonderful little creatures God created them to be.  It’s not just me that thinks they are wonderful either.  I’ve had several friends over the years who have said almost exactly the same thing- “I’m not normally a cat person, but there is something special about yours.  They’re so friendly & loving.”  I had one friend who was terrified of cats.. until he met my first cat, Magic.  Magic became his buddy in no time.  This friend also was no longer afraid of cats after spending time with mine.

 

Communicating with animals is possible, & God will show you how to do it.  It is beneficial for you as well as them, & draws you closer to the furbaby.  I wrote some about it in my book, “Pawprints On Our Hearts” & will discuss it in a bit more detail in an upcoming blog post.   Job 12:7 says, “But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee:” (KJV)  God will allow us to communicate with animals & be blessed by it.  It is truly a glorious gift He has given us, to communicate with these wonderful creatures He has made.  By communicating with mine & becoming so close to them, I have been blessed more than I can say.  In fact, one of those blessings has come in the form of music.  As my cat Weeble, was dying in May, she told me that the song “Angel” by Jon Secada reminded her of me.  I still have trouble listening to the song since losing her was so recent, but at the same time, it gives me comfort.  Also about a year ago, I was listening to Queen when the song “I Was Born To Love You” came on.  Pretty Boy & I were snuggling when he stopped & looked at me, giving me the slow blink cats do when saying they love you as the song came on.  Immediately I knew he was saying this was our song.

 

Just because… here is a picture of Pretty Boy.  RIP, my angel boy.  I love you with all my heart & will see you again one day soon..

 

pretty boy on towel rack

Pretty Boy

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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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