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How to properly grieve a pets death

Posted: 08 Apr 2014, 05:02
by TheMopPetal2
I have a cat(Bailey) that I've posted about on this forum before and we found out he had diabetes around 2 months ago and we've been giving him the prescribed dosage of insulin every 12 hours and it doesn't seem like he's getting better. He still hasn't gained any weight(his weight fluctuates between 7-9 pounds but usually hovers around 8 pounds on average). It seems like even though we've been giving him the recommended dosage of insulin, his peeing and pooping situation has gotten way worse since we found out he has diabetes and have been giving him his insulin shots. He's been peeing and pooping on the floor and doesn't seem to like the litter box at all anymore. The other day he was acting like he had to go to the bathroom and was about to go on the floor so I picked him up and put him in the litter box and stood there until he went and he never peed or pooped and actually laid down inside the litter box. The only positive thing that has come out of us giving him insulin is that he still drinks a lot of water but not as much as he used to and he's been eating a little more actual cat food than he used to before we started giving him insulin. Its gotten to the point where my mom would rather be at work than come home because pretty much when we both get home from work pretty much every work day we come home to several spots where bailey has peed/pooped and its quite a nasty thing to have to constantly clean. We've tried everything that was feasible and in our ability to try that the vet recommended for us over the last couple months and he only seems to be getting worse so we have decided to get him euthanized and have the appointment scheduled for this coming Sunday.

Bailey's death is going to be pretty tough for me and I was wondering if there's any way I can make this whole thing any easier on me? Are there any simple druidic rituals that can help me cope with his death and move on?


Re: How to properly grieve a pets death

Posted: 08 Apr 2014, 06:36
by ShadowCat
It's hard to let an animalcompanion go, even if your rational mind tells you that you are doing the right thing.

I am personally convinced that animals understand way more than we might think, so I'd talk to Bailey about what is happening, that you have decided to let him pass to the other side because his little body has been worn out. Spoil him rotten, get his favorite food, buy some fresh tuna or whatever. And then let him eat if he wants, and don't fret if he doesn't like it, or just licks it. Don't moan and groan at having to clean up his mess. Just do it quitly and with love. Cats are usually pretty clean and don't like to soil their home any more than you do. Also, give him time for himself if he needs to rest or be alone. Cats usually show this pretty clear, what they want or need.

If Bailey has had any animalfriends that passed before, you might put photo's of them on your altar, inviting them to take Bailey home. If you work with poweranimals you can also ask them for help. I've found that several animals that lived with me have come in my inner grove after their passing. So, if you work with the grove, invite Bailey to come there if he wants to.

Have the euthanesia take place in a calm setting. Maybe draw an informal circle for protection before the vet arrives. Have the vet make sure that he works calmly and explaines everything before doing it. The vet might be talking to you, but Bailey will hear. After his little heart has stopped beating and the vet has gone home, let the body lie for a few hours, wrapped in cloth if you want. Other pets might need to see his body to understand that he is gone. Also, Bailey himself needs time to depart. And you can grieve, share memories and talk about him and to him. When you feel ready, either bury him somewhere safe or take him to the animalcrematorium.

It makes me feel sad even to write about these things, having three young cats running around here, knowing that this time will come. I've had more than my share of both human and animal deaths. Often, being energetically sensitive, I feel like a sort of reversed midwife. I've singlehandedly killed two of my pets, because they were in agony and I wouldn't have them suffer any longer, just so the vet could come. I've guided my grandmother through a grueling 12 hour struggle before she could let go and I've found my father in law, having passed peacefully in his sleep with a smile on his face. Life is a wonderous thing and so fragile. And when the life is gone... so is the personality, and the body is oddly empty. Yet, the energy remains - wether in our memories and hearts or as entities seperate from ourselves might be debated - and sticks with you.

Re: How to properly grieve a pets death

Posted: 08 Apr 2014, 16:04
by TheMopPetal2
Thanks for the reply! I saw on another thread that you can light a candle while its happening so i will probably do that as well.

This morning when i woke up I found a little nickel sized spot on the kitchen floor that looked like blood so i think its definetly time to put him to sleep. Ive had him since I was 9 or 10 years old so its going to be pretty tough for me.

Re: How to properly grieve a pets death

Posted: 08 Apr 2014, 16:17
by TheMopPetal2
I think the biggest thing I'm worried about is that this is going to cause me to feel depressed which to some degree I'm sure is normal but I'm afraid that I will get myself into a depressive rut or funk and I want to avoid that.

Re: How to properly grieve a pets death

Posted: 08 Apr 2014, 16:45
by elementalheart
I don't think it is possible to plan how to grieve, it is something you have to allow to happen and not lose yourself in trying to control something that is naturally unpredictable.

The key is not to be focusing on how to avoid suffering yourself, as how to ensure that your cat has the easiest possible transition, make it all about that and not about how you might feel afterwards - you'll find out soon enough and if it isn't what you plan for, you can scare yourself that you might be "doing it wrong" or "feeling the wrong feeling" when there is no wrong way or wrong feeling.

When you look back in a week, or a year, or ten years, what you most need to be able to remember is that your pet was loved, given everything you had to give in the way of support, and that you have no regrets on the way you created the final days, hours, moments.. Fear is picked up by animals very easily, so don't make that the gift you offer in the coming days and the final transition, only love and reassurance.

Re: How to properly grieve a pets death

Posted: 14 Apr 2014, 01:18
by TheMopPetal2
Well we put him to sleep today and he seemed to have went peacefully. The vet came to our house and didnt really fuss much. I still can't believe my best friend is gone. We got him when I was 9 or 10 and he felt like a brother to me. He was there to comfort me during some of the darkest times of my life. He always could put a smile on my face and make very happy no matter what. Now that he's gone its just me my mom and my other cat smoky and I feel really distraught and lost without him here. I'm glad hes not suffering anymore but I'm still deeply saddened that he'snot here.

I'm afraid that this loss is going to get me into a bout of depression so I want to know how to keep myself from getting to that point. I know its normal to grieve but I'm afraid its going to make me too depressed.

Re: How to properly grieve a pets death

Posted: 14 Apr 2014, 09:11
by ShadowCat
From my experience the fear of grief can push you further into darkness and depression than the grief itself. Allow it to flow, it will build, break and eb out of you in waves. Trying to stem the flow usually makes it worse. If you are so inclined, channel the grief into something creative: poetry, music (even listening to music helps in working through your emotions) drawings, woodcarving, whatever...

Talk to friends and family about your feeling: there's nothing wrong with crying and mourning a friend. A brother is a brother... losing one hurts. No matter the size or whether he was furry or human. If Smoky is that kind of feline, hug the stuffing out of him and talk with him about your mutual loss.

And if things are getting really worrysome, just talk to your GP and see if you can get short-term grief-counseling.
And don't forget to check in here every once in a while, or you will get us all worried... :hug:

Re: How to properly grieve a pets death

Posted: 14 Apr 2014, 10:03
by elementalheart
From what I have experienced, grief is a natural expression of sadness after loss and you express it however you do, while it comes and goes like waves and sometimes it crashes over you and other times you bob up and ride it, sometimes it is just a ripple, a memory that is bittersweet, but it's all allowed.

Depression on the other hand usually arises becaues natural emotional reactions haven't been expressed, or allowed, or recognised. Instead of the letting go of crying or being sad or sharing memories or however you "do" grieving, the emotion gets repressed, pushed down, locked up and hidden. Sometimes it is family or work or society that encourages this repression, making it "just a pet" or "enough time has passed" but sometimes it is the fear of the feeling bad, such as you describe. Fear of emotion is unnecessary, acting on the fear and locking down the emotion doesn't make it go away, it pushes it underground and it hides and lingers there until you can't avoid it any longer, but by then it's often built armour and doesn't want to see the light of day any more, just feeds on itself and makes other emotions harder to express too. That is depression, literally a pressure to not feel something like sadness or anger because someone doesn't want it to be there or hear or see it through.

So in order to avoid depression, express the sadness, the anger, the fear, anything that you feel. Write it, sing it, walk it, work it out, do something physically with your body that moves it out of your headspace and into the world as genuine emotion. Typing poetry on laptop, hiking somewhere, digging a literal grave, sobbing your heart out, whatever you do it's the transition activity that releases the pain, and it has to come through the body, be it pounding legs or tapping fingers, move something to move it all. And if you have someone willing to be with you while you do that, perfect. If not, do it for yourself and by yourself if need be, but do it, do grieving for your cat and for yourself and let it be part of your love that you miss what you lost.

Maybe this is the opportunity your lovely cat has offered you, a chance to open up and heal other causes of your previous depression by this gateway of mourning the companion who stayed with you through it all. Grief for your lost brother might take you into the rest of your buried emotions and let them surface so they too can be expressed. In which case he has given you a gift of yourself free of depression, through loving and mourning him - don't waste the chance.

Re: How to properly grieve a pets death

Posted: 16 Apr 2014, 01:43
by Kiara
I'm so sorry for your loss. I understand your grief, having been through it several times with the many pets I've shared my life with. Its a tough decision to make but you did what you felt was right and Bailey was suffering (no doubt about it). He's moved on but I believe our pets stay with us throughout our lives and when it's our time to move, they'll be there waiting for us. It was a stressful situation for you all and now you all (including Bailey) can let the stress go. Keep your memories of the good times.

I also believe that animals understand far more than we humans give them credit for. Bailey knows how hard this was but he also knows you cared enough to let him go when it was time.

I've always like the quote “Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened.” ― Anatole France"

Re: How to properly grieve a pets death

Posted: 16 Apr 2014, 20:24
by xidia
I'm sorry for your loss.

I can't speak to grief, but I can speak to depression.

1) get enough sleep. If you need herbal tea (valerian/hop/camomile), use it. If you need prescription meds, use with care but use them if you need to. Sleep heals physical and emotional wounds.

2) sunlight. Get some every day - even 15-30 mins helps. If you can afford a daylight/SAD lamp, get one and use it.

3) exercise. 20-30 mins a day is enough. If you can walk, run or cycle outside, or jump rope or skate or whatever, you can get your sunlight some days at the same time. It doesn't matter what exercise you do, but get your heart rate up doing something you enjoy.

4) avoid alcohol. You'll find your limit the hard way if you don't already know it, but it is a depressant, so drink with Care if you do drink.

5) social. Talk to people. You'll know how much and how often is enough and when it becomes to much.

6) process the cause. You've got good advice above on this.

I wish you peace under sunny skies.

Re: How to properly grieve a pets death

Posted: 17 Apr 2014, 16:31
by TheMopPetal2
Its getting easier as time goes by but one of the things I've been beating myself up over is the thought that we didnt do the right thing. Do you guys think we did the right thing? His personality did make a noticable change withing the last 3-6 months.

Re: How to properly grieve a pets death

Posted: 18 Apr 2014, 07:27
by ShadowCat
No one here can disagree with your choice: non of us spent a large amount of their lives with Bailey like you did. Also it wasn't a rash decision: you tried treatment and saw him declining anyway. Death is one of the certainties of life, and animals rarely fuss about it like we humans do. You've made a wise and merciful decision, despite the pain you would know it would bring you. :hug:

Re: How to properly grieve a pets death

Posted: 18 Apr 2014, 09:49
by elementalheart
I agree, it's a hard decision to make but I've done it enough times now to realise that leaving them longer in pain and suffering would have been worse as it would have only been because I didn't want to act in their best interest but just postpone my own pain.

When you act in the best interest of your animal friend and take on the task of grieving consciously rather than let them suffer so you don't have to feel bad, then you're being the best friend they have in return. They don't fear death the way people do, they know it's time and they let you know the best they can. I honestly think your description says he knew and he let you know and you responded as a friend should, stepping up to the difficult task of grieving so he could be released.

Re: How to properly grieve a pets death

Posted: 25 Apr 2014, 17:51
by TheMopPetal2
Thanks everyone. Its gotten way easier as time went on and I'm at the point now where i can talk about Bailey remember the good things about him without crying or feeling too sad. My other cat smoky is just now realising that hes gone. I was looking at some pics i took of bailey about 6 months ago or so and he looked so much healthier and normal so that really tells me that his health took a nose dive in a hurry and i think it confirms that we did the right thing.

Sometimes when I'm walking aeound the house I will feel like i have to step over bailey when I pass by the spots he used to lay at and when I look he isnt there. I still feel his presence all the time and thats really comforting.