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My first night without her


erica_el

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My cat El (named after Eleven from Stranger Things because she was fiercely brave and loyal) has been the love of my life for the past year. Today, she passed away.

She turned four this year. I met her at the Humane Association in the area where I moved to go to grad school. She reached out her paw when I turned to leave, and I knew I had to adopt her even though I was scared because I’m disabled and it was my first time living away from any familial support. At first, El was timid because she was rescued from a neglectful and abusive home. She spent the first few nights hiding in the bathroom, but after some treats, toys, and time, she came out, and then she never left my side. 

She would sit next to me for my three hour Zoom lectures. She would bravely walk under me when I did yoga. She raced around our home chasing the laser pointer. She slept by my side every night. We would soak up the sun and read together. 

A month ago, she was diagnosed with an aggressive form of squamous cell carcinoma diagnosed via a bone biopsy. She had been to the vet and dentist many times with a clear bill of health. She started drooling, and what we thought was an abscess was an oral bone tumor. She had several other tumors discovered on a scan. Her oncologist informed us that our only treatments were palliative, so we focused on making her comfy and happy for the time we had left. 

Even with meds, she stopped eating last week. She became more lethargic and confused, hiding often. She smacked her gums trying to massage her poor mouth. I made the decision to euthanize her today because she seemed so miserable. 

I feel so guilty. I promised her that I would protect her. I feel like I failed her. I wish I would have caught this sooner. I wish I would have been able to fix this. I wonder if I made the wrong decision. When I adopted her, I thought I’d have her for a long time, and I miss her so much. She was my whole heart. 

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13 hours ago, erica_el said:

I feel so guilty. I promised her that I would protect her. I feel like I failed her.

You didn't fail her, quite the contrary, you took on her pain for your own.  That's what we do when we love them.  We can't know what we can't know.  Until we see a sign that something is different, how can we know?  Esp. when they're so young.  You only got a year with her, but it was the best year of her life, she appreciates that and loves you for it.

It's the hardest thing in the world getting used to their absence.
 

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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