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Jen75

I may never be able to forgive myself

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Snooki was adopted from the humane society a month after we applied to take her home. She was 6 months old. We’ve had her for almost 10 years and she’s been an incredibly loving, precious and fun cat. Just perfect for our family and our favorite pet because she is so affectionate and entertaining. Today We lost her because of my stupidity and not thinking about what I was doing. I clipped two leashes together and clipped that to her collar. She jumped up, got caught and I’m sure you can fill in the rest. My husband found her and we are devastated. I didn’t realize and obviously didn’t think through putting her in a leash. I’m sick, crying nonstop and the amount if guilt and grief is very much overwhelming. I think about what Snooki went through and how she had a great happy life with us and then I do this to her. I feel ashamed and dumb. Our son is 14 and he loved the her very,  very much. Everyone is upset and sickened. I feel grief but also so much guilt from my dumb decision. My husband found her and immediately said and repeated over and over, “omg, you killed my cat!” He went on in a rage for 20 minutes holding her while in shock. It’s now 5 hours later and I’ve tried to talk to him and express that I’m sorry and we’re all upset but he angrily and aggressively yelled and repeated the first initial response. My son heard all of this and he is doing what his father did as well but mostly ignoring me. I feel horrible and just want to express how it obviously wasn’t intentional. 

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My dear, I'm so very sorry to learn of this horrific accident that took the life of your family cat Snooki. I don't believe for a second that this was intentional on your part, and I hope your husband will come to recognize that. You know your husband better than I do, but I find that oftentimes in our culture it is easier for a man to be mad than sad. In other words, underneath his anger and aggressiveness and yelling is a whole lot of shock and pain and sorrow ~ but his way of expressing all of that pain is to lash out. It's also true that when an accident happens it is human nature to look for someone to blame. Unfortunately, the target for all this anger and blame is you ~ and for you to bear the brunt of all of that, in addition to the guilt, the pain, the anger and the self-blame I'm sure that you yourself are feeling already ~ Well, I can only imagine. I'm so sorry!

Clearly both you and your husband must find a way to forgive you for this terrible accident, and if in time you find yourselves unable or unwilling to do that, then I hope you'll consider a session or two with a qualified grief counselor ~ one who understands the human-animal bond and is sensitive to the grief of losing a cherished animal companion.

I think that the best way both you and your husband you can deal with your son's reactions in his grief at Snooki's death is to deal with your own reactions first. In some ways he is modeling his dad's behavior, and as you both work your way through this loss in healthier ways, he will follow your lead. 

To better understand what you both may be feeling right now, I invite you to read the following, and be sure to follow some of the links embedded in these articles. (Individual circumstances will differ from your own, but the suggestions offered are relevant):

Finding Support for Pet Loss

Coping with The Trauma of An Unexpected Death

Guilt In The Wake of A Euthanasia Decision

How We Mourn: Understanding Our Differences

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Jen,

I am so sorry!  There are those moments in time when we would take back something if only we could, we've all had them, and we here know what it's like to lose a beloved pet.  Your Snooki is beautiful and I hope in the days and months ahead you will be able to think more about the happy moments with her rather than the one tragic one.  I am stunned that your husband and son would attribute something bad to your actions...sometimes we don't know why someone did something the way they did, sometimes we don't know why WE did something the way they did, but in no way would you intentionally hurt your Snooki, you love her!  I hope once they've had time for the emotion to die down they will think more clearly, often in early grief we can't see clearly and it's all about our pain.  You must be feeling attacked and horrible on top of the immense grief you are already feeling.

These are two of my favorite articles, and I hope you will read them and take their words to heart and that they bring you some comfort.

http://media.wix.com/ugd/0dd4a5_e934e7f92d104d31bcb334d6c6d63974.pdf
https://www.pet-loss.net/guilt.shtml

In time perhaps you and your family can think of a way to memorialize Snooki, in a way that would seem meaningful to all of you.

https://www.griefhealingblog.com/2013/03/memorializing-pets-we-have-lost.html
http://www.griefhealing.com/memorializing.htm

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Thank you for your supportive responsesMarty and Kay. I’ve read the links from Marty and am getting ready to read the links from Kay this morning.  Any unexpected pet death is horrible but knowing Snooki was our perfect loving, precious and loyal important part of our family makes it feel unbearable. This is the first pet loss I’ve experienced and to know what I’ve put her through and caused her to go through in her last moments all alone and scared is beyond painful. I know my husband is feeling the same devastating loss and pain so I’m not blaming him for his reaction yesterday although it does make it hurt double to be verbally blamed by him to the extent he did it with such aggression.  It makes me question him as a person which is not something new. I feel isolated and alone without forgiveness or at the least for him to state that he does know it was not intentional. It’s a lot to shoulder that I’ve done this along with his reaction. I’ve attempted to gingerly approach him twice and he got up and threw something and went into a yelling rage. I feel he is extremely hurt but also somewhat emotionally immature. Thank you again for reaching out so quickly, it’s given me moments of peace to read the links and positive ways to cope. 

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Just a thought, Jen, but I wonder what would happen if, instead of trying to approach your husband verbally, you were to write him a letter instead? That way, you can take your time to construct carefully exactly what you want to say and what you need for him to understand. He may not read it right away, he may toss it without even reading it ~ or he may keep it to read later when he feels more receptive and more willing to listen. What matters more is that it gives you a way to gather your thoughts and get them out of your mind and onto a piece of paper. It enables you to feel as if you've said all you need to say without interruption, whether or not the other person is willing to accept it. Writing is a powerful tool, and it's something you might consider trying. 

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Thank you for this suggestion Marty. I hadn’t thought of trying this so I’m going to sit down and write him a letter now. I appreciate your help. 

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Yesterday I gave him my letter and expressed my sorrow and regret. I’m not sure if he read it or not. It’s sitting on the couch next to him. I know he’s deeply hurt and we all will be for a while. Snooki was our baby for a long time. I’ve read all of the support links and they did help. I also decided to let my friends and family know. Only the animal lovers though. They have all been comforting and I’d strongly suggest this to anyone that feels ashamed and guilty over their pet loss. I know my friends will continue to offer kind words and support. It took a couple days to be able to tell anyone and get out if my bed and it’s helped a lot. 

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Yesterday, two days after Snooki’s death, my husband was finally able to express his grief and the feelings of missing Snooki and he broke down. The sorrow and pain he feels and has shown is far more than the death of a close friend or relative. After reading the links here, I know it’s going to continue to take s long time to learn to live with her loss. My heart is broken and the house is so quiet. Sometimes I think I hear her scratching on the door in the mornings. I hope the sadness dissipates so we can work and continue our lives somehow but Right now I don’t want it to go away because I feel like I’d be forgetting her. 😔

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2 hours ago, Jen75 said:

Right now I don’t want it to go away because I feel like I’d be forgetting her.

Yes, that feeling is natural and understandable ~ because in our minds and hearts we think that holding onto the pain is the same as holding onto the one who was lost, and everything inside of us is fighting against the thought of letting go. But the day will come when you realize that it is the LOVE you shared with Snooki that keeps her memory alive, not the pain. Hold onto the love and let go of the pain ~ that is the goal ❤️

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I have long said that it's not our grief that binds us to them, but our love, and that continues still.  I've long learned it's okay to give myself permission to smile (when at last we can) and that doing so does not dishonor them or mean in any way that we don't love them to the fullest...rather it is a natural progression of things as we process our grief.  It is to be coveted.  I cannot imagine life without smiles in it.  We've all had those days and they aren't desirable.   but the fact is, we do not ever forget them, they continue in our hearts and memories and sometimes that wistfulness is so deep as to bring us pain, even years later.  I have those ones I am missing and it's still hard.  But hopefully as the days go by it will become easier for you, for each of us here.  (((hugs)))

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