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About Ravenstar

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    father, mother, best-loved cat, now partner of 10 years
  1. Cannot sign out

    Hi, I have hit the Sign Out button twice, and the fact I am posting here tells me that it didn't work. Not a terribly big problem, but just letting you know. I also cleared my cache in between - didn't help. This is the first time this has happened to me on this site. Merry Christmas to all! raven
  2. Missing my older brother who was murdered

    You need to talk about it, at least until something settles/resolves within you - maybe forever, now and then. It's so much harder when one can't, as with my family. I hope there is more than one person you can talk to without receiving impatience back. (hug)
  3. Thank You

    Thanks Eric! I appreciate your efforts too, very much.
  4. I need to let go

    Hi MJH, What caught my attention was your mention of the woman who died depressed over her mother's death. She obviously hadn't found a healthy way to deal with her grief, so it ran her life. But then, reading your post again, my mind took me back. (It's my own Wayback Machine, helping me to draw on experience.) Many years ago I found myself in an endocrine crisis which left me with almost no energy. I was in university at the time, and I dragged my feet every step from my car to my classes. Sometimes I had to stop and rest on the maybe two-block hike, with everyone passing me. I had to sleep enormous amounts. It seemed like I would never get better. But then one day I found I could walk normally to my classes - not fast, but not stopping either. And after more months I could actually run again. What a pleasure that was. I'd never thought of this before in relation to my grieving process(es), but there are many parallels. After the shock of a death, or more than one death, we are severely wounded and need time (and whatever heals us) to recover. My feelings are similar to yours since my mother's passing, over 2 years ago now, and Ravenstar's a year ago. Each time, at first I was like an invalid, unable to function "normally". I caused some mishaps, both by my actions and by not paying attention to my responsibilities. I have had to forgive myself for those. By now I'm at the stage, and I think you are too, of feeling OK - at least sometimes. But life is still grey - not hideously black as it was, but not in full colour either. This state compares to my being able to walk again after my health disaster. At this point I'm not even aiming for being happy (being able to run); I realize I'm still a long way from that. But I think I can say neither of us is allowing ourselves to live and eventually die in a depression; your reaching out for support could have been the very thing that poor woman didn't do. I think happiness will catch us both by surprise some day when we least expect it. So I keep on, doggedly doing what I've found heals me and avoiding what doesn't. I keep trying to know myself better and understand those I've lost. I try to see setbacks as temporary, not as alarming signs that I'm headed for disaster. I keep inviting love in. I try to help others in need. And I consciously give thanks for those who have not walked away from me, who still believe in me. This is what works for me, but I can't tell another what will work for them. We all have to figure that out for ourselves, which might be the purpose of this existence, who knows. I think it's possible that death is necessary to bring us up short, to make us realize that we need to be gentle with those we still have - and of course with ourselves. I do hope this helps. All the best to you.. If you want to PM me, you're welcome; it will be easier to respond.
  5. Want to know my Mom is around.

    Megs, you weren't imagining the scent of perfume. I'm coming up to the 2-year anniversary of my mom's leaving, and she was everything to me too. I know now that our beloved dead communicate with us via whatever medium they find works.
  6. Dear TaraMarie, When I was in my 30s, some very hurtful things that had happened to me between the ages of 10 and 12 came up to be dealt with. First there was my father's death when I was 10; and then other, equally traumatic, events followed from it. I believe I can empathize with you; for years I saw my father's death as a suicide, which in a sense it was. When all this came up again I didn't understand the intense anger that was hitting me either: why now and why did I have to go over all this again? I thought I'd dealt with it at the time, but all I'd done was make some very wrong choices about how to handle it - such as keeping the anger and hurt inside and hiding behind a façade of invulnerability. (Mind you, back when it happened there really was no one to turn to.) Although I sought counselling when it hit, I didn't get to the bottom of it all. I didn't have the nerve - the trust in my counsellor or in myself that I could survive it. In retrospect I think I needed to open up (or be opened - because I attribute it to grace or the universe) in stages; all at once might have shattered me. Then, just after I turned 40, I was required to attend a grief workshop with my students (the staff took turns with these and it "happened" to be my turn), and I was the one who I believe felt the greatest impact from it. I spent that weekend grieving as I'd never done, and then I reconciled with someone I'd held an immense lot of anger toward since those early years. It took another few decades before I could truly reconcile with the other main characters in that set of incidents; again, that was triggered by something that "happened". And now there is reconciling with myself, which isn't over yet. So I'm saying several things here which may or may not apply to you; please take what's useful and throw the rest out. I sometimes wish someone had explained the following to me, but I had to figure it out myself - or maybe we all do, in a way that makes sense to us. One is that this healing could be a very long road, once you've taken the first step on it. It could be even longer if you don't dare to open the wounds very far, and that opening up is dreadfully scary and painful (but the relief afterwards is incredibly wonderful) - which is why we fear grieving. I'm still on that road, and I don't expect it to end in this lifetime. I don't believe we ever fully "resolve our issues", as some try to push us to; there are always too many ambiguities and twists to the plot emerging as we go. Another is that it somehow takes grace, or synchronicity, or chance, to trigger the start of the healing process. Suddenly a door opens. When that happens, as it has now for you, there is the choice to go with it as far as you can or to back off - which means carrying the anger and hurt even longer. Either way, there is a price to be paid; but on reflection, I'd rather have paid it all at once and been done with it if that had been possible. Maybe it wasn't possible for me, but maybe it will be for you. I hope you will trust your choices, all along. Somehow mine have turned out to have been the right ones for me. Two qualities that have been most useful - and required of me throughout - are courage and a searching, brutal honesty with myself. Without those early injuries, I might never have developed them. One encouragement is that these qualities grow with use; with every step taken in courage, more is available. Opening up is very hard work, so I hope you will be as gentle with yourself as you can be. The rewards are awesome! I'm thankful for the opportunity your post has given me to revisit my own healing process. By now I am on to further challenges, but it was healing and inspiring for me to put this account together. I wish you the greatest success in your journey. I'll be glad to talk more about this with you or anyone else who reads this; just PM me.. With love and prayers, Raven
  7. bville, I share your feelings. My own mother left in July/12. I'm coming up to 2 years too, but the pain and loss are still there; we were also extremely close. I haven't written much about my mom's passing here because the second most important person in my life, Raven, left last September, adding another shock. I'm around your age too. I was her caregiver although we didn't live together. I'm still trying to find what to do with the rest of my life now, if there is one. I could see it coming, but there really isn't any way to prepare for such a thing. No indeed, being older doesn't help. Feelings don't diminish with age; in fact, they get more tangled and perhaps more complex. I'm not "handling" this any better than I did losing my father at age 10! At a time like this, all the old griefs come back and add to the fresh ones. Sure, I know a lot about grieving now; but the time still has to be put in. It's very lonely for me too, not having her to talk to about everything, as I did. I know my choice not to have children was wise, but I will pay for it by not having what my mom did at the end. I've tried to collect a family of my own, but there have been more losses than gains over the years. I don't like the "d" word either. Whenever I've used it, it sounded wrong. To me, my loved ones are still alive somewhere, in some form. Yesterday I started the process of putting a grave marker on her grave. It's taken this long because of financial matters that had to be settled first. I had no idea it would hit me so hard all over again. Blessings to you...
  8. lost my cat, how do i move forward

    Kathy, I grieve with you in your loss. I know nothing I can say will help right now, but I want you to know someone cares. I've been through this with various cats, the last being my little love Ravenstar. I am crying as I write this; your post brought it all back to me. I would suggest you don't worry about moving forward right now. You need to spend the time grieving for Kiki. That will take as long as it takes. Give the time to her. Honour her memory. And then you will know what to do. Your next cat will also form a bond with you; they all do. But give it time. The universe will send another cat to you, or it will put the urge into you to go looking for one. At least that's what happened to me. I hope this helps..
  9. Hi k, Another woman commenting; I hope you won't mind.. That must have been h*ll for you to go through with your mother. My own mother's passing was very quick in comparison; but it was very hard on me too. Something I heard in a grieving workshop: How long does grieving last? Answer: 2 years and the rest of your life. This is true for me. It'll be 2 years in July for my mother; but with all the work I've done on grieving, I have hardly begun. I can see that now. I hope you can meet some guys who aren't fixated on the Oedipus Complex. Those guys are idiots, in my opinion. I honour your love for your mother.
  10. Dear missmykitties, That must have been truly devastating, two shocks coming so close together. I grieve for and with you. I hope by now the shock has lessened a bit. I'm surprised that no one else has responded to your post, but I suppose I'm the one who was supposed to - however inadequate I feel... A somewhat similar thing happened to me: just before my mother passed on, my cat Raven got very sick. I rushed from one to the other (my mom in hospital quite far away from me and Raven at home), doing my best for both of them. Just after my mother left, Raven stopped eating. Feeling desperate, I force fed him, saying, "I can't lose you too!" until he started eating on his own again. I'll never know whether that was the right thing to do; he hung on for 14 more months with me nursing him constantly in every way I could think of, but he had heart disease and couldn't have survived much longer. Those months were a nightmare. So I think our animal friends sometimes decide to leave the planet for reasons we wouldn't likely consider; Raven loved my mother too, and my grief for her was tearing him apart. Also, if the bond between cats - or a cat and a human - is strong, I think a cat will make that choice. This doesn't necessarily mean Kovu didn't love you as much as he did Honey, but maybe he just couldn't see going on without her. There are examples showing that animals can choose the time and manner of their death. I hope this helps in some small way. I've left it up to the universe to decide when to invite another cat to live with me. Raven and his twin brother came to me at a time when I was still grieving for my two former cats, but they showed up on my doorstep and I had a strong feeling that they'd been sent to me. So I think if you feel a pull toward getting another cat, go with it. It might be just what you need. All the very best to you. I'm here to talk more if you want to.
  11. Dear fanhit, The last paragraph in your latest post is great advice. Looks like you got caught up in something that went way too fast, which can happen to anyone, but luckily you saw that in time. I would like to add something I've learned in all sorts of relationships, romantic and otherwise: a good way of finding out about the character of another is doing something they don't like but which you honestly need to do. I don't mean set up a situation to make that happen; but when it does, the result can be enlightening. Then too, some people are too damaged to build a healthy relationship. If they're not actively pursuing their own healing (instead of simply recounting their victim stories, which is another tipoff btw), they are not ready to start over. I think you've done what you could to repair the hurt feelings. I hope you'll be able to let it go - for now, at least. All the best to you...
  12. Validating Our Grief

    Betsy - I have "compassion fatigue" on my list of interests because I've recognized that I'm vulnerable to it. I've gone into and out of it many times and have done some research on it. (It's an actual condition, like burnout, that can be googled.) I worked in a social-services agency for years and then was my mother's caregiver for some more years. In both settings I got hit by compassion fatigue at times, and it would often go on for months. Sometimes I honestly didn't know if I loved my mom. It scared me. So I did the only thing I knew how to do: I made sure I was showing my love for her in what I did for her. It would have to be enough if the feeling just wasn't there because we can't call up feelings on demand. I'm sure she understood that; in the caregiving years I had many obstacles to deal with and was constantly stretched so thin that I didn't know how I'd manage it all without some sort of breakdown. I still have regrets about things I just didn't think of doing. But I know I was doing the very best I could at the time. I've asked her to forgive me for what I was unable to do and have received her forgiveness. Still, more things occur and then I have to remind myself of how much she loved and forgave me. I'm sure the same is true of your husband. Thank you for your latest post (2:23 PM) which suggests that these things happen so we'll be better persons in our next relationship(s); it is so right on. I think that's what our guilt is for, partly or wholly: to change us so that we won't make the same mistakes - in action or attitude - again. I chose the username I did because my little cat, Raven, taught me more about loving than anyone else had been able to - but after he left, in the insights that came then. During his long illness, which overlapped with my mom's last years, I was so focussed on practicalities that I couldn't go inside deeply enough to see other crucial things I was missing in his care and my mom's. Well, now I have lots of time to see them. So now I try to use what I've learned - how all this has changed me - in caring for his twin brother, Bear, who is still with me and benefits from these harsh lessons, and in how I treat others around me. This time I can do better.
  13. Prayers Needed for One of Us & Baby

    He's beautiful! Love to you both, with good thoughts, hugs, prayers
  14. Grieving books

    Carol Staudacher, "A Time to Grieve: Meditations for healing after the death of a loved one" This is a collection of quotes from survivors, usually one per page, with relevant classic quotations and the author's comments. They can be read in any order. Most comments I've read are excellent; and even if they don't fit, they can stimulate insights that do fit.
  15. Ravenstar