Thursday, February 19, 2009

Pet Loss

After you've had your pet put to sleep, do you ever get over the mourning process? I am still finding it dreadful in that I keep finding myself doing things in the expectation that Princess is going to be here. For instance, just a moment ago I looked at the clock and said to myself, "In half an hour I need to feed Princess." But then it hit me - very sadly - that I don't have a Princess to wake-up to feed. In other words, how long will it take before my Princess-based habits subside?

Other than that, I am surprised at how well I am handling her death. My reaction has far exceeded my expectations and shows that I am making improvements in my self-control. A few times I have had some crying spells, but I am not obsessing on it. The most dramatic I've been was when we were in the vet's room, watching her leave us. I kept talking to her to make sure she knew we loved her, that we thanked her for her presence in our life, that it was OK to go home, that we'd never forget her. I talked to her until I was sure she was gone. (And it took me a little while to grasp that she really was gone. I even had to ask the vet if she was really gone.) I am sure the vet and his assistants thought I was nuts, but I didn't want to leave those words unsaid simply because I was worried about what other people thought of me.


Deb Estep said...

Dear Sophia,

Today is 3 weeks and 3 days since I took our Ginger to the vet.

Feb 18th would have been her Birthday. 2-18-2002.

The first few days I was totally LOST. In the 3 weeks before we had her put down, we confined her to the kitchen. Every morning I had quite a clean up from her lack of control.
In the days after her passing, I felt guilt that I had no clean up activities.

Ginger was a small dog. I kept looking out so that I would not trip over her, and then I kept saying to myself... duhhh she is not here.

I am in the middle of finding out about some health issues...
Rheumatoid arthritis. I had a 1st doctor appt last Friday.
The doc took xrays and also withdrew fluid from my right knee.
I am in tremendous pain in many of my joints.

THEN.... here I am feeling a huge relief that I don't have to walk up and down steps to let her out.
THEN .... I feel huge guilt.

All my emotions are subsiding a bit from the first few days after she passed. DAY BY DAY... I am feeling BETTER. :)

I wish you peace.

Deb ~ In loving memory of
My Gingeeeeeeeee and your Princess.

goatman said...

Sorry for you. The feelings of loss do subside and the remaining pets, or a new pet even will help that process. I suspect that we've all been through this; and I know that doesn't help any.
But nice kitty joke: meals on wheels indeed -- they should have asked for jet packs or tiny airplanes.
A short joke for you (and I hope that I haven't told it already (sometimes I do that -- mind is going)) :

"Two football players walked into a stadium, which is odd because you would think the second one would have seen it coming!"

Ha, many people do not get this joke but I suspect that you will.

Sophia said...

Hi Deb,

Thank you for telling me about what you went through, because now I know that my feelings of guilt are shared by others.

I've had some uncomfortable experiences of guilt and worry since we put Princess down. The guilt revolves around wondering if we just should have kept on waiting for her to get better, although the vet told us that after all her strokes it was unlikely that a dog her age would recover. But still, I keep having these "what ifs" running through my head.

This may sound grim, so if you like, skip this part of my comment - After Princess apparently went to sleep, I wasn't believing that she was gone. I kept touching her or looking for her breath. I had to question the vet, because I didn't see him use a stethoscope to check for heart beat. I've worried a few times since then that maybe she wasn't really dead and that they'd put her in a plastic bag and she'd suffocate, or that she'd still be alive when they cremated her. Horrible thoughts, I know.

I ask myself, would an enlightened person have these feelings or thoughts? I think that even enlightened people would feel some sadness over the loss of loved ones. It seems impossible to ignore these feelings. But the good thing is that I am not obsessing on them constantly, as I would have done had this happened a year ago. I have not let these thoughts or emotions carry me away.

Thanks again, Deb, for sharing your experiences with me.

I hope you can find recovery or alleviation from the pain you are experiencing in your body.

Sophia said...


Thanks for your comment.

No, you haven't told me that joke before.

It took me a moment to get it, and I had to read it a couple times, but then it hit me, a-ha! It's almost like some kind of brain teaser! I enjoyed it, thanks!

Gayle said...

Sophia, I'm so sorry to hear about your loss. It brought back memories, and tears, of when we had to put my beloved kitty, Ralph, down. I was exactly the same way at the vets office and was unsure if he was really gone, afraid he was suffering, etc. It was quite traumatic. It's been years since he's been gone and I still think about him and miss him a lot. I'm thankful to have so many good memories of the world's finest cat. My condolences to you and your family.

Sophia said...

Hi Gayle,

Thanks. Today I was reminded that only her physical presence is gone and that the spirit that ran through her blood is still just as much here as the spirit that runs through my blood. In a half-sleep and half-awake state I had a vision of her walking across the bedroom floor to her bed; I even heard the sound of her toenails clicking on the floor. It's the second time now that I've seen some of that Princess-like energy.

Sadly these little friends have little life spans in comparison to ours, but boy oh boy do their lives make a wonderful impression!