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It still haunts me 13 years later


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13 years ago, I accidentally killed my cat.  She jumped in the dryer when I wasn't looking,  and I shut it and turned it on. Even worse,  I heard a strange rhythmic thumping, but didn't think much of it. I was young and distracted,  and self absorbed.  A few hours later,  my mom called me (I was at my boyfriend's house) and told me what happened.  All I could think of was her suffering.  She was just curious to investigate the warmth of the dryer,  and I wasn't paying attention. I should have checked the dryer when I heard the sound but I didn't. As I said,  this happened a very long time ago,  but I still think about it often.  It's a source of extreme shame and guilt.  Every time I go back to my mom's laundry room I think about it,  and it puts me in a very dark place.  I have not told many people and it feels like a poison inside of me.  I wish so much that I could go back and pay attention.  Not be so self absorbed and just check the dryer.

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I am so sorry, I know how it feels, I lost my dog Fluffy about 22 years ago...he'd crawled into the van when I wasn't looking, we were busy giving the cat medicine, we'd just got back from the vet...he was quiet on my drive to work because he knew he wasn't supposed to be in there...I shut the door and went in my office.  It was a hot summer day and the windows were rolled up.  When I went out that night and opened the van door, he rolled out stiff as a board, into my arms.  It was a nightmarish moment I'll never forget.  All the while my dog was dying, I was just a few feet away on the other side the the door to my office.  :(

When things like this happen, we often berate ourselves...guilt is often a part of our grief, we think what if we'd done this, what if that, in an effort to come up with a different possible ending, only their is no such option to us.  Guilt's purpose is to call attention to something that we need to change, but if you've already learned from it and let it change how you do things, you can let go of the guilt.  Maybe doing something tangible to demonstrate it, like write "Guilt" on a piece of paper, then wad it up and burn it!  It's a way of letting go of the guilt.  Our pets don't hold our mistakes against us, if they could, they'd be the first to tell us to let it go.  They remember we gave them homes, loved them, played with them, took care of them.  This was an unintentional accident.  You are not the first one to lose a cat in a dryer, it's all too common.  Time to forgive yourself and let yourself out of prison.  It is doing nothing positive now.



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