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miss my handsome boy, feel no one gets it


awsun

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I just lost my beautiful Sunni (cat) of almost 19 years...he would've been 19 in July.  We'd been together since he was 8 weeks old.  He was my world, my everything, the reason I got up every morning, the only thing in this world that seemed to make me happy. I don't have kids or a husband. He was my child. He meant everything to me. My heart and soul are shattered. Every day I wake up now to an empty apartment and it is the first time I've ever lived alone in my life without him and no one seems to understand that. No one seems to get how this has affected me and shattered me to my core -or understand the overwhelming guilt I feel for killing him. Yes, in this moment, I still say it that way because of the guilt I feel for doing it.  I cry out to him all the time to tell him how sorry I am and how much I love him and how sorry I am that this happened to him. The silence in my apartment is deafening. My friends just came on Sunday to remove his pet steps, help take down the pictures that I can't look at right now and clean out the litter box for me. We took everything to my parent's basement.

Everyone in my family has been pet owners and they've all been thru this before but don't seem to understand that I haven't been.  He's my first & only pet.  What is wrong with people (family members) asking me if I would ever get another pet asking me about my new job - things that don't matter to me at all right now!  Just DAYS after it happened. It's crazy to me that they can say such insensitive comments just days after he's gone!! Like you have to move on, you have to get a new routine, this is part of being a pet owner, etc. - as if I don't already know that. I got Sunni when I was 22 and I just turned 41.  I've had him my whole adult life & have never known anything else.  They act as if I'm just going to wake up the next week and go on with life as if everything is okay when it's not. Sunni meant everything to me.

I just feel this happened so fast.  He'd lived with kidney disease for almost 4 years & I thought that was going to be what took him away from me.  The month of April was the worst of my life.  4/1, we went to his regular check-up to check his kidney values like I've been doing every 6 months since he was diagnosed & his numbers had risen since last time but he was still in stage 3.  My vet even told me how amazing I take care of him & how great that was - for him to be "stable" with kidney disease for as long as he had.  Then almost literally the day after we got home, I started noticing he was acting funny - walking around in circles, just seeming lost.  I thought for sure it was just dementia.  This went on for the first couple of weeks of April.  Then on 4/19, he started having trouble going potty or wouldn't go at all.  He'd had a urinary obstruction back when he was about 6 & I knew it could reoccur in male cats, so the next day (my birthday of all days, a day that now means nothing to me) I called the vet & brought him in.  They expressed his bladder & then the vet told me the news -- he was blind.  What?!  Here I was thinking it was just dementia, never even thinking that maybe he just couldn't see.  She said for a cat to suddenly go blind it typically means a neurological defect/brain tumor.  That was the first blow.  She said take him home & see how he does.  He was okay for those next 6 days -- Tuesday -- Sunday --  adjusting to being blind.  Then Monday 4/26 came & he started acting funny again -- wouldn't go in the potty & starting to not be able to walk at all.  It was horrifying to see.  On Tuesday, I put him in the litter box & he just fell over. That night I rushed him to the emergency vet again to have his bladder expressed & the next 12 hours were the worst of my life.  The emergency vet wasn't as empathetic as you would think as she said to me "you're not bringing home a healthy, happy cat & what are your goals for Sunni?" My goals?  UGH!  At that point, I knew it was over but there was no way I was doing it there.  I took him home that night, laid him on the bed & held him for the next 10 hours without a wink of sleep knowing what I had to do the next day.  The next morning, 4/28, I called my regular vet and made the most awful decision I've ever made in my entire life. It was the most horrific day.  He was lifeless in my arms but still breathing and it was possible he wouldn't make it through the rest of the day. Everyday I live with the guilt, the pain and the suffering for what I've done.  No one seems to truly get that. They keep telling me that I made the right decision, that I gave him the best life & that I was an amazing pet parent and deep down it may be true but it still hurts so bad!!! I have never really lost a lot of things in my life and nothing to this extent would ever come close to this kind of pain & heartache. My grief is overwhelming me. He was the best thing in my life and now I have nothing. I wake up to silence and emptiness and just try to go through the motions of the day cuz I feel like I have to.  Thanks to whoever listens to my story.

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Awsun,

Thank you for your reply to my post and lead me to read yours.  I am so sorry for the pain you are going through, it definitely sounds like we can relate to eachother.  I would love to see some pics if you are happy to share them of your lovely cat.

Its amazing the impact they have on us, my boys litter tray is still sitting in the kitchen and hasn't been cleaned out yet.  My family think I'm being weird as I can't part with anything, like a claw from him scratching the carpet and a wee ball of fur from brushing him.  He meant the world to me, I adored him and the emptiness without him is overwhelming.

I am so glad you got almost 19 years with Sunni, its a blessing to have the time we did with them.  I wish they would live longer, its an unfair world such beautiful creatures have short lives. You come across as a really dedicated and loving parent to Sunni, he will know how much you loved him you cared for him through really tough times! Alot wouldn't have put in the same amount of effort, so he was so lucky to have you. 

I cant wait to be able to just smile at the happy memories and not constantly cry, iv never felt pain like it.  I feel like im carrying a very heavy load on my shoulders, my entire body feels so heavy and sore.  My quality of sleep is awful, I fall asleep crying and I wake up and cry hes not there.

I understand your pain, I am there with you ❤

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I am so sorry for everything he went through and that you are going through now.  You took amazing care of him, could not have loved him any more!  I want you to know that the feelings you are experiencing right now are normal in grief.  We second guess ourselves, wondering all the "whatifs" in an effort to find a different possible outcome because the one that happened is too abhorrent to process.  That does NOT make them wrong decisions!  We did what we did for the best possible reasons...to relieve their suffering.  But when they die, their suffering transfers to us.  It seems the more we love, the more we grieve.

People say the worst possible things to us.  Many do not understand the bond we have with our animals.  I've lost 24 dogs/cats over the years (I'm 68), and the hardest was Arlie.  It was hard losing Miss Mocha and Kitty too...Miss Mocha I never knew what happened to her, she disappeared, she was healthy, very happy here, I know she never would have left of her own accord, the only thing I can think of would be a cougar got her at the edge of the woods where she liked to hunt.  I was outside all day, never heard a thing.  But they are stealth, quiet, it's the only thing that makes sense, it would have come from behind, caught her unawares, she would have gone into shock when he grabbed her neck, and there would have been no chance for her to cry out.  I never found any remains, they pack them off to do their business.  No neighbors ever found anything.  It was a shock, I kept looking at the patio door expecting to see her at it, wanting in, only she never came.

Kitty was 25, her kidneys and liver shut down, no hope for that, she was suffering since Christmas, at first she seemed better, then worse, I noticed she was peeing a lot, I knew what happened.  I also knew I needed to have her euthanized to relieve her suffering.  We spent the night before cuddling, that was not like her, she knew the end was coming, it was like she was thanking me for being a good mom, for all I had done, and I loved on her.  She went out peacefully.

The hardest one of my life was losing Arlie.  He was the perfect dog for me, goofy, fun, smart, beautiful, and always smiling, even when he was suffering from cancer.  I took him for regular vet visits, he'd had one just two weeks before, how could he pass with flying colors!  How did they not catch it?  I took him for routine teeth cleaning, they took blood samples, ran tests...they called the next day and said he had inoperable cancer spread throughout, his liver shut down.  How can I take him in for something to help prolong his life and come away with a death sentence!  For the next two months ten days, I provided hospice care myself, gave him supplements, stayed home with him, his walks became shorter, he didn't feel well, it was obvious, I plied him with his favorite food to keep him eating, the vet said when he stopped eating, the end was near, I was terrified of losing him.  It'd been me and him all these years (my husband died 16 years ago, my kids grown and gone), he was my walking companion, I called him my soul mate in a dog!  When the time came, the vet botched it because their scale was off.  I couldn't weigh him at home as he was a big boy.  I figured their scale was off 12 lbs and they under anesthetized him, which meant he felt the second shot and went out in excruciating pain!  The look on his face, I will never forget it as long as I live!  I wanted to RELIEVE his suffering, have him go out in PEACE, not in horrific pain!  I tell him all the time how sorry I am!  I love my boy, more than anything in the world!  He is buried in my back yard, next to Kitty and Skye (my granddoggy that used to live with us).  I will be with him again, I know I will.

My son brought me a puppy a few months later, he is nothing like Arlie, but he's literally saved me during this social isolation.  It doesn't take away my grief from Arlie, but it does give me company.  He has not been daunted by my immense grief, he has just plugged away at my heart...I love him, who could help it!  But always, my Arlie will be my sweet beautiful boy and I will always miss him...his smile, even when he had cancer.  When my son came to help me take him to the vet and to bury him afterwards, he laid down on the floor and bawled.  He said, "You've watched him go downhill little by little, I'm getting it all at once."  He is one person who understands my immense grief, he lived with us for a while when he was in between places, he knew Arlie, he loved what I loved.  It's been nearly two years now and I realize I will love and miss him the rest of my life.

Grief is an evolutionary journey, it has a beginning but not an ending.  We all handle it our own unique way yet there are similarities to other's journeys as well, enough that it helps coming here, expressing yourself and knowing you're heard by others that "get it" in this safe place.  It seems my whole life is grief, I've lost my parents, husband, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousin, niece, nephew, sister, friends, and furry family as well.  Yes it's part of life's cycle, but those words feel meaningless when we're going through it.  We do what we can to get by.  Whatever brings us some degree of comfort, and that may vary from time to time.  I've put pictures up, taken them down, up, down, finally they're up to stay.  I have a "shrine" in my house with things of Arlie's, his coat hangs on my chair, there it will stay, I hold it from time to time, his leash retired and hanging by the door.  

I hope these articles are of help to you, it may take reading them over and over until they sink in.  We can fight it, holding on to our guilt as a way to be close to them, but it's not our grief that binds us to them, it's our love, and that continues still.
 

http://www.griefhealing.com/comfort-grieving-animal-lovers.htm
A Dangerous Villain: Guilt
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

I hope this short video brings you some comfort and peace.

 

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I wanted to add, it helped me to write their stories, to somehow keep them alive that way, it might be something to consider on down the road, if/when you're ready.

 

 

 

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I get it, and I completely understand you - very similar to what I just went through, and am going through. I'm so sorry for your loss, and the pain you went through at the end, and what you're going through now. Unfortunately, the memories at the end are some of the worst, and yet they are the most vivid right now. One suggestion would be to check with your local shelters for pet grieving resources. I was able to join in a group discussion on pet loss last night and, while I shed about a gallon of tears telling my story, it helped to know I was sharing it with people who understood, and there were some wonderful responses. This also seems like a very welcoming place to share as well.

As for people expecting you to move on this quickly, no one can tell you how to grieve, and you shouldn't have to apologize for it. He was your special pet, your soulmate, and your loss is as personal as it gets. It's completely natural to feel empty, lost, and yes, to feel guilt, even though you made the right decision by relieving his pain. You gave him a wonderful life, protected him from harm, and it sounds like you did everything you could for him. Unfortunately, the end is inevitable, but it's not unnatural to feel like you could have done more, even when you did everything you could. 

Thank you for being a wonderful partner for him, and I'm certain he appreciated the things you did for him, the love you gave him, the companionship, the hugs, and for being there for him at the end. Time will eventually heal your wounds, but it will happen on your time, not when someone else thinks it should. Peace be with you and your Sunni.

 

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Thank you all for the replies. It helps to know that there are caring people out there that are going thru the same thing that I am and understand my pain & sorrow. I'm not at the place yet where I can post pictures, maybe someday soon. I did put them away only because it was too painful for me to look at but like kayc I will probably be that person who has a shrine of Sunni up sooner rather than later. He was indeed my soul kitty and I told him every day that I would love him forever. I would actually love to get portrait like the one Tinac drew for her baby and hang that up. Also don't let anyone think that you're weird for not putting away things yet. I only did because it was more painful for me to see it than not and thankfully I had friends who did it for me to help ease that pain. 

Thank you all for helping me to see that I was an amazing pet parent. I'm slowly starting to get to the point where I'm believing that after everyone has told me that over the past week. And thank you for the resources kayc. I'm sure over time as I read them over and over again I will start to resolve some of the guilt I feel for what I felt I had to do in the end - since things escalated with him so quickly. My emotions have been all over the place from anger to now I feel numbness from crying so much... I'm sure this is a normal stage of grief.

As for grieving in my own time, I definitely agree. I think a lot of people just look at me and think you had to know this was coming, he was 18, etc. Logically I did I just never knew that it would be the way it was and of course at 22 years old I was not thinking about the end. I was thinking about getting a kitten. 

And missing miss tizzy- I'm sorry for your loss as well and I agree that the memories that are most vivid to me are of course that last day and the 12 hours that preceded it of me holding him in my arms in bed. I stayed with friends for the two days after as I couldn't come back to my apartment and sleep in this bed. It was too difficult to relive those images in my head. I pray that one day that those images will fade with time and I will have my almost 19 years of good memories to reflect back on. 

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You are in my heart, I know grief all too well, do what you need for YOU at the moment, it's okay however you grieve, pictures up, down, there is no timetable, just as your relationship with him was unique, so will be your grief.  

For myself, I still remember Arlie's passing, it haunts me but it's not forefront any more, I try to remember more how he was in his life with me, always smiling, beautiful, goofy, fun, I miss him.  I see him lying on the couch and then the image fades away...

Comfort for Grieving Animal Lovers

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awsun   -  Like-minded people will completely understand you and what you went through. To speak to anyone else who is not like-minded is to risk not being understood especially when it comes to one's love for animals. If you want to find your way out of this, may I suggest(having, unfortunately, gone through similar situations myself) that you have to move forward. Staying where you are is not only paralyzing, it's counter-productive. No one can do anything about the past and the future hasn't happened yet. The only thing a person can do something about is the present. See where you are at now and where you want to be, do and have. You are spinning your wheels if you stay in the past and the only thing that can come from that is nothing. You can't change what happened  and it may make you blind to possibilities before you.  

The thing is, animals are able to reincarnate back to this earth and the people who loved them. It is not to say that it will happen in your case, but if there was a strong bond between you,  death has no power to break that bond. It transcends time. It transcends this earth. It is up to an animal if they want to return and if they want to return back to the person they were with.   There are some reputable animal communicators who specialize in this and can even facilitate when and where that will happen if the animal agrees to return, however,  it's not imperative to get one. Many have done it on their own quite effectively. May I suggest, if this is something you may consider, to just start doing a simple search on "pet reincarnation" and "animal reincarnation" and start reading. There are articles by animal communicators and there are testimonials by people where it happened  for them.  Then start looking ahead for when and where that could happen for you and your cat. If that is what you want to happen.  He can't return to you  in the future if you're stuck in the past in grief and recrimination. 

Here's a couple to get you started: 

http://www.annettebetcher.com/10p3.shtml

https://drfoxonehealth.com/post/animal-spirits-companion-animal-communications-after-death/

https://animalsinourhearts.com/74-store/products/107-thoughts-and-resources-about-reincarnation-reunions.html

 

 

 

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Nothing supplants our grieving process, we still need to make our way through it and it takes time to adjust to the changes it means for our lives.  I won't argue your beliefs, but just want to point out that there is a process to go through and it takes what it takes to make our way through it, I would not want someone to sidestep that process because it's important.  We continue to affix meaning to them through our memorializing them.
https://www.griefhealingblog.com/2013/03/memorializing-pets-we-have-lost.html
http://www.griefhealing.com/memorializing.htm

They live on in our hearts.

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I agree with you kayc. It is a process and it's going to take a lot of time to adjust to my new life without my Sunni. It's just not something I can just push through or "move forward" from immediately. It's so hard to leave my apartment and come home when I'm so used to calling out to him "Sunni Bunny!" or the myriad of other "pet names" (pardon the pun) that I would call him and know that he's not there. And getting up in the morning and not having him next to me is awful. It's those everyday things that I'm so used to doing on a daily basis that are staring me in the face right now and are very difficult to deal with. And thank you for the additional links. I'm thinking right now on how to memorialize him and make sure he knows that I will never forget him and that I will love him forever.

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I wish no one had to experience this horrific loss, it felt much like losing my husband did nearly 16 years ago, Arlie was my life.  We were a family, him 8/16/19, me, Kitty 1/6/20, Miss Mocha 6/3/16, now they're all gone, sometimes I wonder how can this be!  I called Arlie my soulmate in a dog because he was perfect for me, I loved everything about him!  
I'm glad you're looking into ways to memorialize him...I think he already knows that he'll never be forgotten, he was the other half of this relationship so he experienced it too.  :wub:

One of the ways I did that was writing my memories of them, I didn't want them ever forgotten.
 

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So sorry to hear about your loss. I lost my handsome boy on Monday. It’s so awful and I know how you feel with a silent empty house. The pain is so unbearable but everyone says we have to feel through the grief. Best thing someone said to me is it’s ok to cry, ok to be consumed by the loneliness and sadness. And give ourselves all the time we need. I feel like that will be forever...

1BA9C5D9-2FD7-419A-BC39-AAB6AFC06FE6.jpeg

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I am so sorry for your loss.  He is beautiful!  It's the hardest thing in the world!  They are everything in the world to us and losing them is devastating.  Yes, there's only one way through the grief and that's straight through it, we can't circumvent it, no matter how painful it is.  :(

http://www.griefhealing.com/comfort-grieving-animal-lovers.htm
 

I hope this short video brings you some comfort and peace.

 

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Thank you. Oh wow what a beautiful picture! He definitely is a handsome boy. I haven't brought myself to even look at pictures yet of my Sunni. What is your baby's name? Yes I'm not sure if you live alone but I do and a silent empty house is torture. It's the worst feeling. I keep moving through my daily routine expecting him to be there and everytime I don't see him my stomach turns in knots. This is so awful and I agree it feels like my grief will be forever too. Just know that you are not alone in feeling that. 😿

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Wow, beautiful!  Looks in perfect health here!  We never know...animals can be stoic and hide what's going on inside of them, part of their survival instinct so as not to become prey.  

I'm sorry, I know how hard this process is.

 

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Thank you kayc, he is beautiful (still can't say was or anything past tense because to me he is still here in my heart). People always told me how great he looks for 18. He did look healthy up until the last couple days and then I guess he just couldn't hide it anymore. 😿 His vet had said to me on that horrific day "his body is just shutting down".  And thanks this has definitely been a hard process for sure.

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And little did I know looking at this picture that the black in his pupils was him going blind at the time. Now I look back at my old pictures and see the dramatic difference - something I'll always now notice in cat's eyes. 😥

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Looking back at pictures of Kitty, I can see how much she went downhill the last year or two, but seeing her on an everyday basis, I didn't see it, the changes so subtle and imperceptible at the time.  I did notice she'd lost weight, something my other cats did as they aged, but gosh, she was 25, I expected that!  I didn't expect her to suddenly die, I mean, I had her euthanized before she did, but did not know anything was even remotely wrong until Christmas when she wouldn't eat.  I started noticing her peeing a lot more.  I began to suspect her kidneys shutting down, which is why I scheduled the vet visit, no idea her liver and kidneys had BOTH shut down!  Too late to get help for her thyroid as everything was going at that point.  :( 

I didn't know that meant they were going blind!  Something to keep in mind if I ever get another cat.  I want one, but my puppy is so active, I'm not sure how they'd do together.  All of the cats I see in rescues want them to go to a home where they're the only pet.  

23 hours ago, awsun said:

still can't say was or anything past tense because to me he is still here in my heart

I understand.  I kind of revert back/forth was/is...by now it's obvious they aren't coming back but they are still present in my heart, sort of confusing.  

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I'm sorry to hear the story about your Kitty. It's amazing how fast they can go downhill, it's such a whirlwind. But 25, wow, that is so amazing! That's a testament to how well you took care of her - at least that's what people are telling me when they comment about Sunni being almost 19. 

Yeah that's what my vet told me about looking at their pupils - at least when they suddenly go blind. I'm not sure what they look like if they were born blind. But as you can see from my picture his eyes were more black than that yellow/green that we're used to seeing and that was the indicator for him. Now when I look at older pictures it's all I can see is the major difference in the eyes. 

 

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I didn't meet her until she was 10 and adopted her at 12, she had a rough life before that!  Memories of Kitty   She was amazing.  I had another cat, King George, lived to 19, I got him when he was 6.

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