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Tara: My Love For Her Will Never Die.


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My Tara turned 17 in September, and we’d had her since she was 13 weeks old. I fell in love with her at the pet shop. She slept under my covers almost every night. She loved to cuddle with me. Sometimes she slept on my pillow. Every morning she greeted me, as soon as my eye or finger moved, and she’d get on top of me in bed for her morning “dig your fingernails in” massage. She loved me as much as I will always love her. I'm in so much pain.

We have another cat with kidney disease, but this thing with Tara happened so fast! She had a paralyzed larynx and an overactive thyroid, and because of that, she couldn't eat, and her breathing was rapid, trying to get in some air. She had a lot of difficulty breathing. She had excess air in her lungs and stomach. She wasn’t getting any sleep. She was on medication for the thyroid, but the vet said the larynx paralysis was getting worse. Tara really looked like she felt just miserable, and she kept looking at me as though she were asking why I wasn't making it better.

I finally had to take her to the vet to end her suffering on Thursday, January 6th, but now I'm suffering. I think what makes it harder is that the vet wouldn’t bring it up. I had to do it. They said “You know your pet better than we do” but people need to hear that they’re doing the right thing. Once I made the final decision he said he thought it was the right thing to do under the circumstances [her age, and how I described how she was the night before], but it was so hard to get to that point.

She was on the table, and I had my arm around her and her head in my other hand, but I wish they would have let me hold her.

I miss her so much, it’s hard to put into words.

Surgery might have helped, but since she was old, the vet didn’t recommend it. They said it may have only given her two more months at the most. She hated to be away from me. If she’d have died while in the hospital, without my being there, I would be feeling much worse. I wouldn't have wanted her to die thinking I had deserted her.

I do have four other cats, and I love them all, but none of them is Tara. She was special. The rest of them adopted us, but I fell in love with Tara and CHOSE her. One of the other cats has been getting more cuddly with me, and I even feel guilty that she started doing this a few months before Tara died. Tara wasn’t as close with me the last month. She slept off the side of the bed, on a stack of blankets [same height as the bed, like an extension of the bed]. I feel guilty for not noticing sooner. I thought she was jealous, and I did sorta try to comfort her, but I didn’t know she was sick. It all happened so fast, like I was watching a movie, and sometimes it doesn’t seem real, but she’s not here! She would go hide most days in the last two weeks, and I feel so bad about that. I know she loved me and was hurting, and she wasn’t saying she didn’t love me, but I miss her so much.

I keep thinking we should have taken movies of her. We should have gotten her one of those big things so she could have climbed all over in the little cubbyholes. You know what I mean. We should have done this or that.

I didn't even bring her back into the house. At first my husband didn't think the other cats should see her, so I left her in the car until he got home, but I stayed out there with her most of the time, petting her even though she couldn’t feel it. That evening my husband brought out the cat she was close to, brought him back inside, then we went to the back yard to bury her.

But now I keep asking myself why didn't I at least bring her into the house and THEN out to the yard? It just feels like I should have brought her back inside one more time, and I didn't. But I didn't think of that at the time.

Every time I think of something else like that, I cry again. Nights are difficult, because she’s no longer there with me, but mornings are worse. I know she’s not there to greet me, and I don’t even want to wake up.

When does it get better? It feels like it never will.

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My dear friend,

We’re all so very sorry to learn that you’ve lost your precious Tara. Seventeen years is a very long time, and I can only imagine how much you miss her physical presence in your home and in every aspect of your daily life.

Your message is filled with the sort of “if only’s” and “should have’s” that we all feel in the aftermath of loss. It is only human nature to go back over every detail of this horrible experience, searching for all the things you wished you would have or could have done differently. It stems from your natural desire to change the outcome, to re-write the ending of this terrible tragedy:

Undo it, take it back,

make every day the previous one

until I am returned to the day

before the one that made you gone.

Or set me on an airplane traveling west,

crossing the date line again and again,

losing this day, then that,

until the day of loss still lies ahead,

and you are here instead of sorrow.

— Nessa Rapoport, in A Woman's Book of Grieving

You ask does the pain go away, and I’m afraid you already know that the pain of losing someone you love so much never really “goes away.” Rather, for all of us who’ve loved and lost these precious little creatures, the pain becomes more bearable over time, as we confront and come to terms with the reality of the loss, as we learn to live with the absence of our loved one, as we find ways to process our grief and cope with our reactions.

You also ask when does it get better, and although I cannot tell you “when,” I can only promise that it will. You’ve taken an important step by coming to this warm and caring place, by sharing your story, by reaching out through your own pain to offer support and inspiration to others. None of us can take away your pain at this sad and difficult time, my friend, but we can assure you that you need not bear it all alone. Please know that we are thinking of you and holding you in our hearts.

Wishing you peace and healing,

Marty T

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My Dearest Taras_Mom,

Today I grieve with you for the loss of your precious Tara. I lost my beloved pet yesterday and I wonder if this pain will ever go away too.I feel this horrible guilt because i didnt discover her passing until late afternoon. It was such a shock to me because she seemed perfectly healthy. I don't know if i could have been as brave as you were with Tara if I had been faced with that choice. What you did for Tara you did because you loved her.I feel that when we love our pets this much and they love us back, that love like that never dies and we will see tham again. I have to believe that. I cannot bear the loss of my little Neeka.It has devastated me. But I have to go on and in time the pain will dull but I'll never forget Neeka or stop loving her. And I look forward to seeing her in the afterlife. She was so incredibly sweet and precious. I will be keeping you in my thoughts and prayers. Maybe we can overcome this grief together, because I, for one, feel lost.

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