Death Bereavement ... ok, pet bereavement.

I am definitely NOT trying to compare my loss in any way with people who've lost a loved one who is a person. But I considered my cat to be a member of the family, and to be completely honest he was my best friend (which I realize is pretty sad, but it's true). I had to put him to sleep very unexpectedly on Sept. 2 due to congestive heart failure, but even that morning he was still happy and playful even though he was sick. I know I made the right choice for my friend, so I'm not upset about this.

I just miss him so much. I feel like I would give literally anything just to put my face in his fur again. The first week after he died I lacked the motivation to do anything, although after a few days I forced myself to do work and schoolwork and family activities. But even now after a week and a half I don't really feel anything except a crippling sense of loss. I keep waiting for him to walk into whatever room I'm in and rub against me. When I come home, I expect him to be waiting by the door like he always was. But there is nothing. He's just gone.

I don't think the way I feel is necessarily inappropriate, considering he was one of the most important things in my life for nine years. But my lack of being able to feel anything other than grief and my zero motivation to do anything is a major problem. I have a million things going on all the time, but it seems so pointless. Even my schoolwork, which is for something I'm supposedly passionate about, seems trivial and stupid and I'm very worried I'll lose my passion for it forever (it's bad enough that I have Grade A impostor syndrome about it all the time anyway).

I'm monitoring myself for signs of major depression and/or complicated grief, but I don't think I have those. I've actually been extremely fortunate to pretty much never have lost a close loved one, until now. I've been telling a few people who I don't think will judge me for feeling this way about a cat, which has helped a little. But due to my WFH job I'm stuck in the house most of the day, and everything here reminds me of what is no longer here and will never be here again.

I guess I'm just venting. I feel pretty stupid for feeling this way (it was an animal, not one of my kids for christ's sake) and I don't know when, if ever, I'm going to start to feel better.
 

Freida

MyPTSD Pro
it was an animal, not one of my kids for christ's sak
But really? It WAS one of your kids.
Something to be loved, just like any other member of your family.

Every time I lose one of my dogs it just undoes me. Because they are the ONLY place I will ever find uncomplicated love, without any judgement or anger or expectations. I know they will always love me, in spite of ptsd and issues and emotions and blah blah
And the idea of losing SD? Holy crap just thinking about it makes me want to cry.

You lost something you loved, something that helped you make it thru the day, something that loved you unconditionally
Of course you are grieving, because its a huge loss.

More people than you think understand that. In fact there are entire sites dedicated to helping people thru this that might be worth a look. grief support

Your grief is real. Don't let anyone tell you it's not 🫂
 

PlainJane

Moderator
But I considered my cat to be a member of the family, and to be completely honest he was my best friend (which I realize is pretty sad, but it's true).

I will never be convinced that this is sad. Perhaps it’s because my best friend is a dog and I absolutely wouldn’t have it any other way. She has my heart.

It’s not stupid to grieve an animal. They are living beings that interact and share their lives with us.

All of @Freida said
 

AngelKeeperJ

Sponsor
@somerandomguy
I am sorry for your loss! Your child had 4 legs, and that means your pain is as significant as the pain of losing a 2 legged child.

Love and loss are the commonality, regardless of the form of the soul you loved. Your loss is as deep, as life changing and deep grief is appropriate.

Having lost a child myself, and dogs and cats over my 65 years, I know from experience that all those losses were deep, and painful, but worth the love I got from them.

(Even now, sometimes I get a feeling that there is a cat walking at the end of my bed…and I haven’t owned a cat in many years.)
 

arfie

MyPTSD Pro
I am definitely NOT trying to compare my loss in any way with people who've lost a loved one who is a person.

i can't quite say, "compare away," only because comparing hurts is a counter productive habit. even in the unlikely event that the wounds are identical, the process is new and fresh for each death. i recently lost my youngest son and his wife and still feel similar to the grief i have felt for my companion animals, just more complex.

rocking you gently and crying with you, somerandomguy. . .
my own departed pets still visit me in my dreams. may you know that joy, also.
 

Freddyt

MyPTSD Pro
I don't think the way I feel is necessarily inappropriate, considering he was one of the most important things in my life for nine years.
Yes, they are very important parts of our support system. To be honest - when we put down the first cat we had after we were married - I cried more than when my father passed away.

They are in some ways as important as people in our lives. It's difficult when they leave us too. Mine is turning 21 soon and I have had some help from my T preparing for the inevitable. I know it will be difficult but I also know that, like yours, she had had a fantastic life full of love.

....once you are done grieving, it will be time to move on and find a new friend.
 

Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
You're grieving. And grief is all consuming and debilitating, until it lessens a bit and you find a way to live with it. You're going through that process.

As you know, also lost my baby girl in Feb this year. Making that decision to end her life was easy in the sense that she was dying and it was more humane to help her be out of pain. It was the aftermath.
The thinking I saw her
Expecting her to be there.
The mass emptiness of my home: just no life or soul in my home anymore.
The putting away her things.
All these months later, there is her little carrier that she slept in for her morning nap that I still have not touched and the cat balnket in there that I still have not washed. I have jusy zipped it up and left it there.

I coped by getting a new cat.
Which I then have become anxious that she will get sick at every available turn.
Part of me thinks I should have had more time to greive Maya before getting Arrow. But: so so so lovely to have a new shadow following me around.

It gets easier.
But grief is hard.
 

Weemie

MyPTSD Pro
I'll tell you the same thing I told my mom when she had to put Chloe down. Chloe was our cat. Been with us for 21 years. She was a wreck. I said get a couple new kittens. They're not going to replace Chloe but it will help heal the divide. And it did seem to work. She still grieves Chloe but she has formed bonds with the new cats now too and is happier.
 

siniang

MyPTSD Pro
I had to put him to sleep very unexpectedly

This ^^^ ... don't at all underestimate this. Ferdinand was your lifeline. You lost your lifeline completely unexpectedly. Of course it derails you.

When I lost my late cat, I advance-griefed because I knew it was coming. I didn't know when, only that it was definite. I was an absolute wreck for four weeks (time of sonset of symptoms/treatment until her passing). I did not have had quite as severe really bad panic attacks as during that time. I walked...and walked...and walked ... just because I needed to get out of the house (and away from her) because the thought of *knowing* I was going to loose her and that this was unavoidable just crushed me. Just being close to her about killed me. That whole "feeling helpless" thing. avoidance is my dear friend in times of distress. And the only possible way to avoid this emotional pain? Walking. Fleeing, actually.

When she passed, I was calm. I was prepared. And yet, I still struggled with flashbacks for months, afterwards.

Our late boy passed unexpectedly. Without warning. Zero. None. It derailed me - and then I pretty quickly compartmentalized. Because I had *just* gone through a week of honestly thinking I'd lose *my* cat (he passed a year before her, but she had an episode of being really sick...suddenly, unexpectedly). At that point, I was just too exhausted to deal with the grief, so I just shut it away. I also needed to be support for my husband - he was his cat. Well, it certainly came back to haunt me. Still does, actually.

Long story short... I severely grieved for weeks if not months. I took leave in both cases. Had to. Wasn't functional. You lost Ferdinand not even 2 weeks ago. Unexpectedly.

Be gentle with yourself. This is normal. Frankly... this is to be expected. Even more so since he was your best friend and ESA.

But due to my WFH job I'm stuck in the house most of the day, and everything here reminds me of what is no longer here and will never be here again.

I would not have coped had I not had other pets to fall back onto during both losses.

I don't expect you to emotionally be ready for a new bond, right now. You'll have your guards up for a long time. You'll feel guilty about adding a new animal equally long. But, and I said this before, do consider bringing another pet into your life. Maybe not even a cat *right now* (but eventually, when you're ready). Maybe a bunny for the kids? A turtle? Heck, even just a betta fish? It WILL give your mind something to focus on, even if just for a few minutes every day. Because they *need* to be feed. They *need* to be cleaned. It gives you something to do, whether you want or not.
 

whiteraven

MyPTSD Pro
I am definitely NOT trying to compare my loss in any way with people who've lost a loved one who is a person. But I considered my cat to be a member of the family, and to be completely honest he was my best friend (which I realize is pretty sad, but it's true).
I am so very sorry. I know a lot about this; I lost my two cats in 2020, and I do work as a bereavement counselor. Actually, losing an animal companion can be more painful than losing a person. Why? Well, think about it. We often are with our animals from the time they are very young until they die. We don't usually do that with family members. Spouses come into our lives late, children leave, we often don't live with extended family. But an animal is always there. Always. I have lost a lot of people--12 close family and friends in 2008 alone. Losing my cats was just worse for me.
I don't think the way I feel is necessarily inappropriate,
It is not at ALL inappropriate!
But due to my WFH job I'm stuck in the house most of the day, and everything here reminds me of what is no longer here and will never be here again.
Yeah, this is so hard. It took me a few weeks before I could pick up toys and clean.
I feel pretty stupid for feeling this way (it was an animal, not one of my kids for christ's sake)
See my first comment!
I don't know when, if ever, I'm going to start to feel better.
You will. I promise. Some of the things I did? I read about pet loss. I journaled (there are journals specifically designed for this). I joined a pet loss support group. And...
I coped by getting a new cat.
I spent 2 full months, every day, cleaning and preparing for new cats. Both of my cats had lymphoma, and one had a severe case for two years. Everything was a mess. I ended up adopting about two months after my last girl died; I could not stand the quiet, the cleaning was done, and I saw so many online that needed homes. Macie was 5 when I got her--she had been in foster care for a long time. Lottie was 2 1/2.
Which I then have become anxious that she will get sick at every available turn.
Yeah, I have this worry. I learned a lot, though, when my cats were sick, and after. I learned that:
1. Being present with them however they were was the MOST important thing, for them and for me.
2. I needed to put something in place to help with finances, so I got both wellness plans and insurance for both.
3. There are millions of cats that need a home. I will make whatever difference I can in whatever way I can for the few I can take in.

Take care of yourself, @somerandomguy. This is a very hard time.
 

Charbella

MyPTSD Pro
I’m so sorry! Don’t even say it’s not like a human. What human loves unconditionally, misses you every minute your gone?

I’m still grieving my two who died almost 5 years ago. They were every bit my family, only way better because my family says some pretty sucky things.

Sitting with you.

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