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Guilt and Regret


cococookie

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hi so um i’m very new to this site, just joined now because i really don’t know where else to go. my guinea pig cookie passed away on the 5th on Jan this year. And i know that loads of people probably think ‘oh she was just a guinea pig, try losing a dog or a cat’. But can i just say that Cookie was way more than a guinea pig. She has been there for me durin go some of the worst years of my life, when my mental health was just so low and i really didn’t know if life was worth it anymore. Cookie was so loving and kind, she always put everyone else before her. It was around lockdown when i noticed she was losing weight. We took her to the vet in November and she said it was due to her teeth falling out. After that i started feeding her grated vegetables to help her out. Only now do i know that guinea pigs can survive without veg, it’s the lack of hay that probably caused her to go into organ failure. During that last month of december i was very busy with my own problems like self esteem and exams. I just didn’t spend as much time with her. It was on that Tuesday that i woke up and found her lying on her side. After rushing her to the vet we decided that it would be the kindest thing to let cookie go and put her to sleep peacefully. The worst part is that i was nagging my parents to take her to the vet since around Jan 1st. But we were so busy and ended up deciding to call on that tuesday cookie passed. I just feel so horrible, my laziness to not call the vet sooner took away Cookies chance to live a longer happier life. After 2 1/2 weeks of googling what could have happened to her, i now know how i could have saved her and how all the symptoms were there FOR A WHOLE MONTH. And i was just too stupid to realise that my poor piggy was dying right in front of me. I cant let go of the guilt, i know that she is free of pain now but i just keep thinking back to her last few months with me where i would see her all hunched up in a corner and think ‘oh i need to take her to the vet soon’. I just didn’t think she would die. The day before she passed she was eating a lot better and i really thought she was getting better. But i guess i was wrong. I know Cookie had a good loving life but it’s just her last month that i think is going to haunt me. Cookie was more than a guinea pig, she was part of the family and now she’s gone. And i could have prevented it. We went back to the vet yesterday for a checkup for my other piggy. While i was in the car thinking about cookie, i looked across outside the window and there was a huge rainbow. And i truly believe that it was a sign from her, telling me that she’s ok now. It’s just the guilt that i can’t let go of, she really helped me and when she needed me the most, i wasn’t there. I just wish i could go back, even just a few days

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4 hours ago, cococookie said:

The day before she passed she was eating a lot better and i really thought she was getting better.

I'm so sorry for your loss of your Guinea pig Cookie ~ and I hope you will find it in your heart to forgive yourself. I think this statement says it all. You are neither clairvoyant nor a trained veterinary professional, and you acted upon your own observations at the time. From what you observed, you truly believed that your Cookie was getting better. Of course you wish with all your heart that you could go back and re-write the ending of this story.

As you say, you gave her a good, loving life and loved her as a member of your family, and in the end, that is what really matters.

I invite you to read the following, in hopes that the content will speak to you in a helpful way:

Pet Loss: When A Pocket Pet Dies

Guilt in The Wake of The Euthanasia Decision

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On 1/23/2021 at 6:15 AM, cococookie said:

And i know that loads of people probably think ‘oh she was just a guinea pig, try losing a dog or a cat’. But can i just say that Cookie was way more than a guinea pig.

Oh Hon, we would never think or say that!  It's not the species, it's their spirit that we love and miss, and as you say, Cookie had been through everything with you.  I am so sorry for your loss.

 

On 1/23/2021 at 6:15 AM, cococookie said:

i looked across outside the window and there was a huge rainbow. And i truly believe that it was a sign from her, telling me that she’s ok now.

That is beautiful!  When my husband died, there was a triple rainbow in a tremendous thunder & lighting storm!  I figure his entrance made quite an impact on heaven or even though there were storms, there was also some peace in it. ;)

This may show horses, dogs, cats, but we both know there's a guinea pig in there too!  I hope it brings you some comfort...

 

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27 minutes ago, kayc said:

Oh Hon, we would never think or say that!  It's not the species, it's their spirit that we love and miss, and as you say, Cookie had been through everything with you.  I am so sorry for your loss.

 

That is beautiful!  When my husband died, there was a triple rainbow in a tremendous thunder & lighting storm!  I figure his entrance made quite an impact on heaven or even though there were storms, there was also some peace in it. ;)

This may show horses, dogs, cats, but we both know there's a guinea pig in there too!  I hope it brings you some comfort...

 

kayc thank you so much, i am so sorry for the loss of your husband, i cant even imagine how horrible that must have been for you :(. But i’m sure he is up in heaven watching you and waiting for you. i wil definitely watch this video, thanks for the kind words 🥺❤️ 

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Losing my Arlie (dog) felt like when I lost my husband, he was my faithful companion, we went through everything together and esp. when you live alone (as in no other people) they really are our everything.  Don't let anyone make you feel your guinea pig was "less than" or in any way minimize it's death, to you Cookie was everything. :wub:

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  • 4 weeks later...

My heart goes out to you on the loss of your sweet Cookie. If guinea pigs are still considered rodents, then I can sympathize completely. When I was about 11, I had a pet rat named Mousey. He was so smart! He'd come when we called his name, even when outside in our yard, and would gently nibble on us and was so playful and inquisitive. Mousey didn't live a long time but we treasured the time we had with him. 

I think you're experiencing the should've could've guilt that always comes with the loss of pet due to illness. As MartyT said, you're not a veterinarian, or clairvoyant. But you did give Cookie a wonderful life. And now she's taught you something you can use for the rest of your life with your companion animals.

A grief counselor gave me some good advice recently. When you're ready, try seeing yourself as a friend. What support or advice would that friend say to you? Have the conversation as often as you need. If you find it hard to forgive yourself, work towards turning your guilt into regret. Little by little. It will take some time, and everyone's grief has its own timeline. I'm working through this process myself.

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That is something I have learned in grief as well, we have to be our own best friend, all the more since our best friend is now gone!  Good advice!  What would a friend tell you?  Tell that to yourself.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I am experiencing similar guilt, cococookie. I agree with the advice to be like your own best friend, however I would like to add: your best friend would porbqbly say shh, you were the best thing in your pet's life, he loved you unconditionally, he does not blame you for anythingnat all, you did nothing wrong, etc. I think it's true but that there is still a place for us to try and learn from the sense of guilt in future relationships. 

For example, I feel super guilty for focusing on my career more than my cat in recent months, I had no idea at all her end was so near. I don't *want* to just make the guilt go away and then feel fine, I want to feel the guilt so much that it is there in my mind in future in any other relationship (with humans or any animals) so that I won't repeat the same mistakes! I want to remember and think, look what happened last time, maybe this time I can organize my life differently and find a way to balance both things better so that if they do pass suddenly, I can at least know I was there as much as possible with them and didn't take them for granted. I learned this when my cat died, that a living being who loves me is much more important than anything else in life, even if society tries to make me think otherwise. 

 

 

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12 hours ago, HG88 said:

I don't *want* to just make the guilt go away and then feel fine, I want to feel the guilt so much that it is there in my mind in future in any other relationship (with humans or any animals) so that I won't repeat the same mistakes!

I don't think there's any worry of that (where I'm concerned anyway) as I still remember vividly.  I think the difference being, when we DEAL with our guilt and regret, we forgive ourselves our shortcomings and being human, while always remembering and LEARNING from.  They would not want us to beat ourselves up, they remember and appreciate all that we did for them and our great love for them.  None of us are perfect.  One of the vivid memories in my mind is pulling Arlie out of his dog house to come eat, he was sick with cancer and didn't FEEL like eating or being disturbed, but I was frantically terrified of losing him and the vet's words echoed in my brain, "when he stops eating, the end is near."  That is no excuse for what I did, I was hard on myself later as I realized, "How would I like it if someone did that to me when I was dying of cancer!"  I am so sorry and have told Arlie many times since.  He deserved nothing but understanding and I tried to give him the best loving care but in that moment it was not the loving thing to do.

http://www.griefhealing.com/comfort-grieving-animal-lovers.htm
http://media.wix.com/ugd/0dd4a5_e934e7f92d104d31bcb334d6c6d63974.pdf
http://www.pet-loss.net/guilt.shtml
http://www.griefhealing.com/article-loss-and-the-burden-of-guilt.htm
https://www.griefhealingblog.com/2019/08/pet-loss-when-guilt-overshadows-grief.html
https://www.griefhealingblog.com/2017/07/pet-loss-when-guilt-goes-unresolved.html

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