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It is coming up on nine months since my mother died. After she passed in May I felt "numb" through October (which included my 50th birthday - my 1st birthday without my mother). Then...in November, I had to "wake-up" for a far away trip to visit my in-laws with my husband. Then...Thanksgiving and the holidays and new year came.

I felt so stressed with the trip and the holidays.

Throughout all of this time, my husband found a kitten and started feeding it outside. They bonded.


We come back from our in-law visit in November and bring the outside cat (about 9 months old now) inside. So, she had been in the house for about three months. Unfortunately, our house became a war-zone with the cats we already had. No peace, high stress pretty much constantly (peeing, chasing, spraying...). After taking her to the veterinarian, who asked if I was stressed -- and I start crying and telling her of my grief -- and now -- cat upset, we needed a break, so I took the new cat to a "cat lady" friend (where the cat currently still is).

I have learned, through this website, that during grief, any "loss" can trigger other feelings of loss. So, I am confused, and my mother isn't here to help me through my upset and confusion. I am sad that the cat is gone, but I don't want to let my husband down. He feels he has let the cat down (by us not being able to keep her), so I thought we could try to re-introduce the cats with a screen door and go through the whole process.

But I don't know if I have the strength to do this right now, and I can't find an animal behavior specialist near me to help.

So I am writing...and crying...and overwhelmed...and feeling like a failure if I don't try again.

I tried talking to my Dad about this situation, but he just views me an emotional mess, I fear. So...I have to minimize my real feelings. Eh -- he is grieving for his wife. I love him, and know that he can't fill-in for my mother.

It seems that my diversions are not joyous -- just more stressful. So I know this is not good.

I feel like I haven't had time to grieve my mother.

I have tried reaching out to friends and family and realize that there is nowhere to go with my pain.

So I came here to write.

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Dear One,

I'm so sorry to learn of the added stress you're experiencing with this situation, and I don't know if you have the energy or the desire to try again ~ but I just wanted you to know that you're not the only one who's struggled with this. In fact, many articles have appeared on the Internet about this very topic. Just Google "helping cats get along" to see what comes up for you. Here is just a sampling:

Two Cats in One Home Is Fine ~ If Introduced Properly

Helping Cats to Get Along

Helping Cats Get Along

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Hi Marty and thank you for your reply. Your comforting words mean so much to me. I feel cared for, and it feels good. Thank you. The articles are helpful, and I will keep learning what I can online. There is also a show on Animal Planet called "My Cat From Hell" with a cat behavior specialist. He really helps people with their cat problems -- it's a good, informative show. When I watch the show, I feel that I can do the work needed to re-introduce the cats. But, he is not here to help, and online help is also not "here" -- but, mostly, I don't know if I have the strength to do this. I guess I could try again, but I dread the added stress -- and the possibility of it not working out, and having to take her back to the cat lady's house to live, and dealing with this loss again (and every loss it triggers). But, if I don't try -- will I regret it? I am so tired, and crave peace -- but, the cat is really sweet, and I would like to think she could fit in here. My husband doesn't want me to be stressed, as I will be doing most of the "cat work", so, he doesn't want to push me -- and I don't want to let him down. I feel like a failure not matter what I choose. I guess my problem is now going into "human behavior specialist (Therapist)" -- as well huh?! Anyway...I appreciate you and this website/forum very much.

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Cat update...

My "cat lady" friend told me that it appears that the cat (still at her house) is behaving like she is in heat. I got her spayed in September (and she, unfortunately, was pregnant at the time [very upsetting, for sure] -- even though the Veterinarian said she thought she was still too young to be experiencing her first heat). Anyway...I will pick her up and take her to the doctor today. Online, it shows that she may still have some ovarian tissue left after the spaying. More stress for me -- and the poor cat.

One of my "goals" in life is to decrease my excessive worry. Challenging, for sure.

I apologize that I am writing about my cat troubles, but I know that everything I'm feeling right now is colored by my grief for my mother. I try to tell people (like the doctor) that my mother passed away recently, to give them a kind of "warning" of my mental state. After my brother died, I was told in Hospice grief counseling to do this. It's tough to say to someone, as I don't necessarily want their condolences -- just a bit more understanding of why I might be emotional or confusing.

I must keep up with, and meet, life's challenges big and small -- even though I feel inadequate without my mother's help.

Thank you, Marty, for your support. Your care and comfort are deeply appreciated.

I see that others do read my posts (as the "views" number increases in my topics), but, I can't say I'm not a bit sad and disappointed to receive such little response.

Still -- I hope you are "out there" and lending me your support in your heart and prayers. I need it.

Thank you.

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I am so sorry for the loss of your mom. My mom died Dec 06 and my dad died Oct 07. Somedays if feels like yesterday. As I read your post I could almost feel your pain and stress right thru my computer. For what its worth, I think you shouldn't put yourself thru the stress of adding the cat to your home. Right now you need to be taking care of yourself, not adding stress or any feeling of "failure"...it just sound like its too much for you right now and thats totally normal . Maybe the "cat lady" will keep her and she will have a good home there. You can only do so much right now and you don't need any more pressure or stress. I am a huge animal lover , 2 cats, 2 dogs, horses and a donkey...so I understand wanting to make it work , but take care of yourself right now, and don't add any more pressure to yourself.

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Hi AnnieO, and thank you for your response and support. Please accept my condolences for the loss of both of your parents. It must have been so difficult to lose them both -- and less than a year apart!

You are right -- I don't need more stress right now. Thank you for the advice. Still...the cat is my responsibility (even if she ends up at the cat lady's house permanently), so it seems I must deal with this for now. My cat lady friend will go with me and the cat to the Veterinarian appointment today. The cat wasn't fed this morning (and I let the doctors office know) -- so -- if another operation is needed, and they can fit her in, she is ready.

I am sad that my stress and upset pour out of me, even in my writing. Guess that's just the way it is for right now. I have found that "showing" too much upset in this world creates "stigmas" -- and it helps give people reason to "stay away". I have a lot of friends, but they are not much help these days. I am learning more than I want to about human behavior during my grief. It's an eye-opener -- and not a pleasant one.

I'm trying my best -- but I can only do so much right now -- and I need to be ok with that (and I guess I'm not).

I am very Thankful for your support and understanding. Please know that it means a lot to me that you wrote.

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Just got home from the Veterinarian. She confirmed that even though my cat was spayed, she is, indeed, in heat, and needs to be re-spayed (free-of-charge). So...I am hopeful that after getting her hormones under control, and after a better introduction to my current cats, that we might be able to live all together harmoniously.

I am unhappy that this cat has to go through another surgery, but am trying to take it one step at a time.

It makes me more upset when my husband or father tell me they are worried for me because I am so upset. I am Thankful that they care for me, but, the upset passes after a while, and I go on. This is what I mean by creating a "stigma" for myself by engaging with people when I am upset.

I miss my mother -- my best friend!!!

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I will try to express how I feel...maybe someone can relate...

When I discuss my upset, grief, sadness with pretty much any person I know, their sympathy is starting to change. It's kind of like they are looking at me like something is wrong with me.

I no longer feel like I can, or should, even try to speak with anyone (husband and father included) about how life really is for me, and what I might be going through.

I'm getting the "crazy" stigma.

Isn't this great??

I am feeling more and more guarded, and, really, now, trusting no one.

I may be more emotional, it's true, but I am still managing to keep up with life and my commitments, with an ok attitude.

Very frightened to think that I could be hospitalized by my husband if he feels that I am coming "unglued".

That is really scary.

I have always said that suicide is not an option for me (too afraid of what it might do karmically to my soul).

So, other than suicide (not an option), why be so worried for me?

Let me come "unglued" -- and let it be ok. Give me that space. Then, you will truly know me and what I am going through.

Oh no -- it makes others' feel too frightened.


Keeping my emotions much more to myself, and plastering a small grin on my face.

My mother is the only person who really knew me, I guess -- and, mostly, loved me unconditionally.

That is gone...

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After writing my last post, I felt much better. Relieved to put into words what I am feeling.

There is no doubt that my life is changing dramatically without my mother here on the planet.

No one could prepare for this level of change. I am accepting that.

Feeling the way I feel is normal.

I also realize that remembering my mother's love and strength can nourish me still.

I am lucky and Blessed to have experienced such a true and deep love and friendship with her!!

That can never be taken away, or unknown to my soul.

I will carry on with her in my heart.

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I love your positive self-talk, my friend! Good for you!

Another thing you might try is to find some articles and / or books about mother loss and ask your husband to read them. If he's not a reader, try reading them yourself and highlighting key passages that you can read out loud to him. Sometimes, when a family member seems to think the way you're reacting to significant loss is "crazy," it helps to present the opinions of "experts" outside your own family circle, whose writings will help to normalize and legitimize your thoughts, feelings and behaviors. It also helps to reassure your husband that you're not "losing it," you're not crazy, you're not coming unglued, and you just need time, space and understanding because you are grieving.

See, for example, some of the resources listed on the Death of a Parent page of my Grief Healing website.

At the very least, ask your husband to take a look at this post, along with the ten pages of comments from readers: Mother Loss: When Will the Crying Stop?

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Hi Marty -- Thank you, as always, for your care and encouragement -- and information. I loved reading "Mother Loss: When Will the Crying Stop?" along with the ten pages of comments -- and some of the other links you suggested in the "comments".

My husband is not much of a book reader -- but, I will show him what I can. I have really been trying to keep my "kindness" at the forefront. It's the only way to go through life without aggravating situations, or having people want to keep at a distance. Feeling less secure and sad certainly isn't a great place to be. I know it is a drag to be around negativity too often, and I don't want to be that for someone else. I also need to "pull it together", as the "stigma" is exacerbating my problems -- but keep my grieving process going on as well.

I do have a question -- kind of personal. I thought to write you an email -- but thought others' might be curious as well. So here goes...

Do you know of any articles or info on going through the "change of life" and the death of a mother? Having hormonal changes during grief makes emotional peaks and dips even more confusing and scary - for me and those around me. Please let me know if you have more info on this.

I have limited my "available time" to the (few) friends I do talk to, when they want to go on and on about their lives. I don't have the space or energy for it -- and I also, quite frankly, feel that I have let the conversations become too one-sided and unfair. Takes up a lot of my time -- and it is not reciprocated. I must have boundaries -- or I will have resentments. Now -- to make these changes in a "nice/kind" way, instead of fighting for myself too strongly (like gathering up the anger to get strength and confidence out of it). I can make these changes with more tenderness -- or, at least I hope I can -- and be "ok" with the new outcome.

I am looking forward to reading more on the "Death of a Parent" page on your Grief Healing website.

Marty, you are a wealth of information.

Thank you, as always, for keeping this such a safe place to grieve --

and to re-learn how to live.

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  • 1 month later...

Cat update...

All three cats are still dealing with the process of getting used to each other. I have given them most of my time these past 6 weeks (since I brought the new cat home from her 2nd spaying!). They are loving and faithful companions -- better than most people I know. Ultimately, I know the time I am spending as cat referee will pay off in the end.

Another perk...I get to bore everyone with my cat story, for a change. My father, who only wants to talk about himself, can be bored by what I say as well. Passive-aggressive, I know, but it is where I am.

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