Jump to content
Grief Healing Discussion Groups

Why Is My Pain So Much More Intense Now!


Recommended Posts

In respectful memory of my dear beloved "Sunshine and Street"

When does the pain stop! Why does it seem like I am finding out for the first time that my babies are gone? Why all of a sudden is the easiest of tasks seem to huge to tackle? All my senses seem to be heightened. I am crying at the drop of a pin. Work seems meaningless to me. It seems I just go through the motions of life each day. I do not feel like I am living life, I am just existing. Does the joy come back? I can't seem to stop thinking of my last moments with each of my babies and then all these "if only's" keep popping into my mind. I just feel like I am barely getting through each day and it has been over a year already for my dear beloved "Street" and it will be one year this Feb 9 for my dear beloved "Sunshine" Oh just to hold them both once again. Thanks to anyone who understands.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

My dear Carol.

I know from your earlier posts that September 26 was the one-year anniversary of Street’s death, that you lost your beloved Sunshine nine months ago, and that your father is in the final stages of Alzheimer’s. It must seem to you as if loss is all around you, and I can only imagine how heavy all of this must feel to you.

Obviously your kitties played a very important role in your life, Carol, and as you struggle to get through each new day without their physical presence in it, you become ever more painfully aware of their absence.

You say you can’t stop thinking about the last moments with each of your kitties and you’re preoccupied with “if only’s.” You’ve told us that Street died at the fairly young age of five, and that Sunshine was almost 19 when you had to make the agonizing decision to have her euthanized. I hope you know that guilt is one of the most common reactions in pet loss, especially when an animal dies suddenly and unexpectedly or when euthanasia in involved. (See, for example, my article Loss and the Burden of Guilt.)

The fact that such “if only” thoughts are still troubling you suggests to me that there may be some unfinished business surrounding the circumstances of one or both of your kitties’ deaths, and I think you would be wise to pay it the attention it deserves.

In order for you to resolve these losses, this unfinished business needs to be acknowledged, expressed, sorted out and worked through. That can be done by talking with a trusted friend, neighbor or relative who understands and respects the relationship you had with these animals, by writing in a journal, by attending a pet loss support group, by continuing to participate in this online pet loss forum – whatever way you choose is up to you. The important thing is to get at what you are thinking and feeling about all of this and expose it to the light of day. Feelings that are stuffed, buried and ignored don’t really go anywhere, rarely get resolved, and over time can become quite distorted. You might begin simply by sharing with us (if you’re willing) some of the “if only’s” that are going through your mind, so you can get some objective feedback from others. It’s only natural to go back over how our pets died and obsess over what we could have, should have, might have done differently “if only” we had known then what we know now. But chances are that you did the best you could with what you knew at the time, Carol, and the hard truth is that, no matter how much you may want to go back in time to re-write the ending of these stories, there is nothing you can do now to change what happened then. It’s also important to keep in mind that just because a person feels guilty, it does not necessarily follow that that person is, in fact, “guilty as charged.” Feelings aren’t always right, accurate and rational, you know.

Until you’ve examined and fully worked through all your thoughts and feelings about this, Carol, you won’t feel free to open your heart to another kitty, and that is such a shame. I don’t mean to suggest that any other kitty can ever replace the ones you’ve lost, and I certainly don’t want to rush you into something for which you are not ready. It’s just that you already know the affection and the joy that comes from loving these precious creatures, and it hurts my heart to think that you’re not ready and able to give that to yourself once again. I’m reminded of a lovely quotation that appears on the Comfort for Grieving Animal Lovers page of my Grief Healing Web site:

Not only is there always another good animal

in need of a good home,

but we must remember to be thankful

for the time and love our animals give us

while they are here.

Take time to enjoy them and learn from them.

As painful as it is to lose them,

they teach us to love unselfishly,

they teach us to live each day to the fullest,

they teach us to grow old gracefully,

and they teach us to die with dignity.

We do them disrespect

to focus only on the sorrow of their death

when they have given us so much joy through their life.

If we wish to honor them,

take what they have given us,

all that love,

and give it back to another animal

in need of help.

-- Kent C. Greenough

I also want to tell you that I’ve noticed how, in the midst of all your pain, you’ve managed to reach out to offer your support and caring to so many other animal lovers through your postings in this forum, and I want to honor you and to thank you for that.

Wishing you peace and healing,

Marty T

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dear Marty,

Thank you so much for your heartfelt, insightful and useful reply, very much appreciated. Yes, you are right it does feel as if loss is all around and at times it feels as if there is a belt around my heart and it just keeps getting tighter. Yes, I do know that guilt is one of the most common reactions to pet loss. Knowing this though does not lessen my feelings of guilt, or the pain, explains it perhaps and helps me to feel less alone with it. I agree with you that it would be wise to express my unresolved thoughts and feelings to give them the light of day as you say.

I am willing to share with everyone here my thoughts around the "if only's" in hoping that it will help myself and others here. So here it goes....

Regarding my beloved Street, I keep thinking if only I had not been so focused on my Father and rushing up to the facility where he is every day off to make sure his needs were being met and to comfort my Mother that I might have noticed some signs that he was not well. If only I had given it more attention when I heard him be vocal in the litter box one evening. If only I had not assumed the little bits of throw up I kept finding was from Sunshine. Even my Vet focused on Sunshine in that regard. I never saw Street or Sunshine throw up so I just assumed it was Sunshine, she was old, several health issues and fighting cancer. If only I had not taken his young age for granted, and not entertain the idea that he might be sick. One morning Street would not eat, I didn't really think to much of it other than I told myself, well if after work tonight he still does not want to eat I will take him to my Vet. After work came and Street still did not want to eat. Called my Vet, got the after hours paging service. A short while later my Vet called and we decided together I should bring him in and she would meet me at the clinic. Three days passed which involved bloodwork, x-rays, ultra sound, etc. It was determined that Street's liver was twice it's normal size, his liver enzymes were way high, his little body was full of bilirubin. Everyone involved told me his only hope was to have a feeding tube put in place and if we were indeed dealing with hepatic lipidosis the success rate was very high. Of course I agreed, Street was only 5, I had to give him every fighting chance. The morning the feeding tube was going to put into place, I held Street in my arms, told him I loved him, then handed him over to my Vet and I went off to work. My Vet called me at work, said the surgery went well and that they had fed him through the tube and things were looking hopeful. At 6pm that evening my Vet again called me at work to say that Street had thrown up everything they had fed him through the tube and that his blood pressure was dropping and that she was now giving him a 60/40 chance. I hung up the phone and finished my shift at work. In my gut I felt like Street was not going to make it. Why didn't I let myself leave work and go to him? After work I came home and I burst into tears. I phoned my Vet's paging service, she called back right away, she was still at the clinic and it was now 10pm. Together we decided to wait till morning and if no improvement then I would let her euthanize my Street. At 11 pm my Vet phoned and said "Carol, Street just had a heart attack and he died" If only I could have had the courage to go to my Street and be with him as he faced death. I just could not face it, I did not want to believe it, Street was only 5, he can not really be dying. I was such a coward, I let my poor Street die without me there holding him.

In regards to my beloved Sunshine I feel like I broke a promise to her I made when we both left my marriage. I told her no-one would ever hurt her again, hence why I left my marriage! After Street died my Father developed pneumonia and I felt an even stronger pull to go be by his bedside every chance I got. The guilt I felt leaving Sunshine so much right after Street died, she was missing him something terrible too! Yet, I wanted to go be with my Dad too! What if he were to die? I needed to say my goodbye's to him. My Dad and I were so close, it tore me apart that I could not share my grief with him and receive the support and love I so desparately needed right then. My Mother collapsed by my Father's bedside and then I began to think I might loose her too! The woman who was taking care of my Sunshine was no stranger to Sunshine and Sunshine trusted her totally and I knew Sunshine was in the care of the next best person beside myself. Yet, I felt this never ending guilt that she did not have much time left and I should be there with her too! I felt so torn. I could not bring her up to where my Dad was as is a two hour drive away and would have been very traumatic for Sunshine to make the trip. I felt it best she be at home where she felt safe. My Father rallied throught the pneumonia and I returned home. Sunshine had deteriorated quite a bit, the tumor under her tongue had grown a significant amount. I took another week off of work just to be with her. When it did come time for me to make the agonizing decision I did not make it right away, I waited two more days, and on the morning I was able to go ahead with it, my Vet was out of town and would not be returning for 3 days. I was devistated, I knew Sunshine was now sufferig and in considerable pain, I had already held onto her for 2 more days that I should have. If only I had of been able to face that agonizing decision 2 days earlier the Vet that knew Sunshine, the Vet that Sunshine trusted and was able to purr around would have been able to send Sunshine over the bridge. Instead a stranger to me and to Sunshine had to accomodate us and in my Sunshine's last moments of life she felt fear with a stranger sending her over the bridge.

I hope this post has served to shed some light on my feelings of "if only's" and the tears that are now streaming down my face help to lessen my pain and open my heart to my knew "Cat Son" whose name is "Muki" who I adopted on June 28, 2004 Muki is an amber point Himalayan, and he turned 14 on October 28, 2004. His first Mom had to go into a care facility, once I heard about that I felt like Muki needs me and I need Muki. I hope that my beloved Sunshine and Street are alright with the fact of me opening my heart now to Muki.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...