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I miss my girld

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  1. even after death, I keep losing her more

    When my baby was alive, I was filled with the most horrible fear and pain every time she had a health scare. I couldn't stand the thought of losing her or of her being in pain, and even worse was the fear that it would happen as the result of something I did/didn't do. Then she died in January. She died in fear and pain and there are several ways I really messed up that led to this. Now I am in something very similar to the state of mind I was in every time I worried about her, but it's worse. It is all of the time. I haven't been able to breath correctly since it happened. She had a wonderful and happy life and she knew she was the love of my life. I am so grateful for that. But then I made a series of stupid mistakes (a more long-term mistake about not changing her medical treatment when I should have AND shorter-term mistakes after a medical emergency). It is still inconceivable that someone so loved and cared for died in such a horrible and unnecessary way, and so young. I know plenty of people who don't love or take nearly as good care of their cats as I did and their cats go on living longer and will mostly have less traumatizing deaths. I don't begrudge them for it, but it will never make sense. I go to therapy, I talk to friends and family, I volunteer at an animal shelter sometimes, and I keep plugging away at the rest of my life and trying not to focus on the painful moments or dwell on my guilt. I talk to her. I hold her ashes. I still fill her water bowl. It hurts that there is always more to lose, no matter how long ago it happened. Memories become less vivid. There is still panic and loss as I try not to let any moment slip away. If I had never been through this I think I would probably tell someone else that this is not something they can control. But now I know that is not completely true. I don't have the control I would like, just as I can't have what I want (for her to be alive and happy and with me). But there are things that I do (like filling her water bowl, looking at pictures, talking to her) that help me remember. It is much like caring for someone with an unpredictable, terminal illness. There are things you can do, but they are limited and often unclear and in the end you will lose the battle. Death is so unfair.
  2. Heartbroken without my beautiful sidekick

    I've had a few dreams about Myles since she passed. Some of them were actually upsetting, some confusing. But every night I wish for her to visit me. You asked if I have other pets. I don't. I live alone now. I can understand what you're saying about your other cats, even though I'm not having that same experience. Lately I keep thinking about how cats often seem to be staring at ghosts or spirits. That's something that used to really freak me out, like if a cat seemed to be staring at something right behind me that I couldn't see. Now I like to think that it is true, and that maybe other cats or animals can help me stay connected to Myles. I have often found myself having thoughts like that lately, which feels very weird but also feels very important to me. I think the rose bush is a beautiful tribute, even if it's not true about Woody being buried there. I hope you are lucky and that Woody will visit you often in dreams.
  3. Bobo was really pretty. I'm sorry you didn't get to say goodbye, but you must know that it's not your fault no one told you he was about to die. And even though you didn't get to be there, I'm sure it was a comfort to him to be at home and with your parents. I don't think the death of a loved one is something anyone "gets over", so you can just go ahead and ignore anyone who seems to think it is.
  4. Have you volunteered at a shelter? Was it a positive experience?

    Thanks, KMB and KayC. I think I'm going to try it out. Even if it doesn't make me feel better, it will be a worthwhile and helpful thing to do.
  5. I think I'm going to start doing this, but I'm a little nervous about it. Since my baby died in January it has been difficult for me to be around pets because none of them are her. I did have a positive experience with my aunt's cat, but in general I've sort of been ignoring cats in a way that feels very unlike myself and looks on the surface like indifference. I'm also a little bit worried that being around animals who need homes that I am not willing to give them will just intensify my feelings of guilt. Thoughts?
  6. my love died in panic from something related to her IBD

    Thanks, Nics.
  7. Heartbroken without my beautiful sidekick

    I'm so sorry about Woody. I lost my cat Myles back in January and I've cried every day since. It's so wonderful that he love bumped you before he passed and that you're able to feel his presence. I hope his ashes are a comfort, even if they don't make anything better. I hold and talk to my love's ashes every day. Today I bought frames for a couple pictures of her because the altar I made for her was looking a bit cluttered and most of the photos are just propped up against things. Now it's a little more beautiful and feels different. It just kills me to not be able to take care of her anymore, so I at least try to take loving care of her spirit or her memory. Sometimes the importance of those sorts of tasks can overshadow my feeling of guilt. If making an altar sounds like something you might want to do, I highly recommend it. Me and my baby had so many rituals, from the way she greeted me when I came home, meals, playing fetch, she even wanted me to come to the bathroom with her. There has been absolutely nothing good about her dying and nothing makes it okay or better. The specific circumstances of how it all happened are pretty much destroying me. I have found that creating some new "rituals" involving her has felt important. Perhaps you might consider doing something similar. I find that a lot of things are so particular to what you do and don't believe and your relationship with your pet. For me, I still say hello to her when I come home (which makes me burst into tears immediately) and I still say goodbye to her when I go out and tell her when I'll be home. I try to sing all the many little songs I made up for her throughout the years, but even though they are mostly 5-10 seconds long I can't get through any of them without sobbing. At night, I light a candle for her on the altar and I talk to and write to her. Like Woody did for you, Myles got me through some really tough times and through school. She was the best part of my life. I too fear that I will never again experience the love I had with her. I hope that your family is giving you extra love right now and that things go okay at work.
  8. Feeling extreme sadness and guilt....

    It sounds like you have been learning more about the possible medical conditions she could have had. I understand this desire to find out what happened (even if you'll never actually find answers), especially given how sudden and unexpected it all was. Since my sweet girl died (I wish with all my heart she had made it 14 years) I have read so much about the disease she had and the medicine I wish I had put her on earlier. I had read up on it during her life, but the details of her death gave me so many more specifics to look into. I never would have anticipated what happened based on everything I had previously read. Some loved ones have discouraged me from reading about these things, but I think searching for answers makes a lot of sense (even if it is sometimes an additional source of pain). Unfortunately this knowledge can't change what happened and it still doesn't turn us into knowledgeable and experienced veterinarians (who can think and make decisions about these things with a clearer head than the rest of us- especially when our beloved animals are in crisis). She had an emergency and you responded in a very caring and responsible way. You trusted what the trained professionals were telling you. It sounds like you made a very loving decision for your mom's dog, even if it's a decision that will probably never feel good. You saved her from the possibility of dying in the middle of surgery and potentially traumatizing treatments. She was loved.
  9. my love died in panic from something related to her IBD

    Thank you, KayC and KMB, for your words and for the article. I've been reading so much online about other people's experiences with guilt and grieving the loss of a pet. I definitely think I will always have regrets about things I wish I would have done, although I also understand all the things that got in the way and made it difficult for me to act with more clarity and persistence throughout this past year when it came to managing her IBD. In the past few days or so, the guilt seems less dominant than just missing her and still feeling shocked that she could possibly have died. I talk to her and write to her every day. I am grateful that forums like this exist, full of people who are understanding and who share their thoughts and feelings surrounding the mystery of death. It's beautiful that people here have so many different beliefs about what happens after death, but still find ways to come together and support each other.
  10. I am nervous about posting on this forum, since it's so public, but all I can think about is my baby girl. I don't even feel comfortable writing her name here at this point, but I do feel like I need to talk about what happened. I already see a therapist regularly, and that helps, but this is the most awful thing I have been through. I am afraid that most people would not understand because I am grieving a cat and not a person. There's no way I can look at the facts and not determine that her death is my fault. This is so hard to make sense of, since I spent so many years being extremely devoted to her and thinking of her health and safety always. She had a painful and scary death. I feel so sorry for her. This shouldn't have happened and we should still be together. I can't believe that I messed up so badly. We had a beautiful love and a beautiful life and I feel like I betrayed everything that we had. She was my everything. Such a special and wonderful kitty. I found her as a stray kitten and nursed her back to health. She was rascally, adventurous, and funny, but also the sweetest creature I have known. She played fetch and she came running to me when I called her. She would snuggle up under the blankets with me in winter. One time I was going through something difficult and she laid beside me and stroked my forehead with her paw- she was petting me! In 9 1/2 years, we moved 6 times- sometimes moves that were basically emergency situations (including an apartment we left because it became very moldy and was making her very sick). I brought her across the country with me twice to visit my family. When she was little, I used to bring her to the park on a leash. I have never been more connected to anyone or been through so much with anyone. She was with me through relationships and two major break-ups. She was with me throughout the long journey to begin my career after years of struggling with jobs that were dead ends and couldn't pay my bills. Through good times and bad, my favorite thing in the world was getting to snuggle with her. She was small, beautiful, and kitten-like (most likely owing to her disease), but had a glossy coat and an amazing personality until the end. The longest I was ever away from her was two weeks (if it was even that) when she was a kitten. It hurt my heart every time I left her, even if I was only away for a night. We had a perfect relationship and made each other so happy. She had the most amazing tiny shoulders, the sweetest meow, and she always smelled good. Since learning she had IBD, I'd been working with the vet on different ways to address it. We started with diet, which was a long process. Eventually a limited ingredient diet kept her weight up, but also gave her blood in her stool every single day. We tried other things, like Budesinide. It didn't help, so we upped the dosage. No change. It seemed to me like maybe it was making her a bit aggressive, but I don't know if that actually happens with that particular steroid. The vet's next recommendation was prednisone. Right or wrong (probably both) I was terrified of putting my baby on prednisone. I felt like that would be giving up. So I switched gears and was working on addressing the issue with a more holistic approach. We tried several raw diets, mixed with plant enzymes and an immune tincture. The blood never went away. And after several months I must have lost touch with the urgency of her disease. Because I was navigating a different approach, I didn’t have a qualified professional keeping tabs as closely as I now realize would have happened if I had put her on prednisone (which the vet would have wanted to monitor more closely). I also brought her in to the vet for other things (she tended to get saddled with other sicknesses from time to time). I know I brought her in this year for an inner ear infection. And something else (maybe the kidney stones were this year too, I'm not sure). But I waited to long to change the way we were addressing her IBD. Some people referred to her as a "sickly" cat, which never seemed right to me. Yes, she got sick more often than I think most cats do, but she was always so full of life, always silky and shiny, and she never acted, felt, or looked "sickly". In all these years I have mostly been very busy and stressed out (perhaps it's living in an expensive city and trying to begin a new career with a lot of debt), but I had never let that interfere with caring for my baby before. But this time I messed up. I knew I needed to change something about the way I was addressing her IBD. I do not regret my initial attempts to treat it holistically, just that at some point I stopped trying new things. And so we went for months without changing anything. The blood in her stool was worrisome, but at that point she'd had it for years. The vet was aware, but as far as I knew it looked scary and was definitely a concern but she was actually okay. Then in December or so I started wondering if maybe there was more blood in her stool than before. Things got really busy at work and I was afraid of losing my good job after spending the two previous years in an abusive working environment. Then I went on my yearly visit to my family for Christmas (one of the only times I ever leave town). When I got back she pooped in a few places around the house, which was unlike her but I thought maybe it was an emotional response to me being out of town (the cat sitter said it didn't happen while I was gone). For some reason I didn't bring her to the doctor right away even though I had probably been thinking about it for months. On MLK weekend I went to pick her up. She slowly weaseled out of my arms and then went limp. Then blood and poop oozed out of her body in a terrifying way and looked like nothing I'd ever seen come out of her body before. She weakly scrambled away and pooped some more thick, bloody stool on a purse I had on the floor. When I went to the kitchen to get things to clean up, I noticed she'd also peed on some plastic bags. I brought her to the vet immediately. She needed an emergency blood transfusion, so I had to leave her overnight. I had a visit with her before I went home and it was so terrifying how limp her body was. It was odd to be with her and talk to her in a way that felt like us when we were surrounded by strangers and I'd just been crying my eyes out in the vet's waiting room for a really long time. The vet explained that given the amount of blood loss there was likely an additional illness involved, perhaps lymphoma. She said we should start her on the prednisone and I said "absolutely". The next day I picked her up. I was so excited to bring her home. When they brought her to me she already had fresh blood in her carrier. I went back into the exam room with the vet to show her. The look I exchanged with the vet was worrisome, because we both knew this was not a good sign. And her blood count was still not as high as it should have been. And from there on out the fur on her back legs was caked with dried blood that she would mostly not allow me to clean off of her with baby wipes. The rest is so hard to talk about. I may write more later. She was weak, but she was still so sweet. She still jumped onto little perches in our home. She asked for and received affection. I tried to lift her up to look at the mirror with me, which she always loved, but she didn't want to look. Then her weakness concerned me more. I called the vet and tried to explain, but they said what I described seemed normal after a transfusion. I felt relieved, though I must have been too freaked out to realize I'd only talked to the receptionist and should have talked to the vet. Around 11PM she went limp again, peed, and this weird thing was happening with her breathing. I called the emergency animal hospital (since her regular place was closed) and tried to explain what was happening. This time I spoke with a veterinarian. He seemed to think this was normal after a transfusion, but that if I wanted to I was welcome to bring her in any time. He said they'd take her blood, but that they wouldn't have access to her other records from her vet until the morning. "Or you can sit with her", he said, or something like it. She seemed so traumatized by this last vet visit. They said she hissed and lashed out a lot (very rare for her) with them as soon as she had enough strength. I knew she was happy to be at home and with me. I didn't know what to do. I don't think I knew she was dying, but I also knew that if she was I didn't want her to die in a cold, unknown place where I couldn't be with her. I didn't know what to do. I just wanted to be with her, so much so that it didn't even occur to me to call someone else and get advice from a friend or family member. So I sat with her and pet her, telling her I was right there with her and I wasn't going anywhere. Then she suddenly jumped up and ran to another part of the room. It reassured me that she had the energy to do this. She curled up by the heater because she was very cold. This concerned me, because the vet kept telling me how cold she'd been the day/night of the transfusion. I put her in a cat bed that had previously not had much use, covered her, and put a hot water bottle next to her. Some more blood came out of her body. Based on my last conversation with her vet after seeing the blood in her carrier and what I should watch out for, I wasn't sure whether or not this was something I should rush her in for. I pulled up some blankets and my sleeping bag and laid beside her all night, with one hand on her so that we could be together and she could know I was there, but also to make sure she was breathing. If I was ever unsure, I'd call her name and she'd wag her tail with so much energy and her personality, even though she didn't want to move from her spot. Around 7AM things became terrifying. She jumped up, vomited what little food she had eaten, and tried to run. Her body was so weak that her body just kind of flopped around like something in a horror movie. Then she collapsed again, just like the night before. But it went on for longer. I called the vet, which was open now, and said I was bringing her in. She yeowled and I struggled to pick up her limp body safely and she was thrashing a bit. I got off the phone. Holding her in my arms I struggled to put some clothes on. And then she stopped. One of my first thoughts was cpr and I put my mouth over her nose and mouth and breathed one pathetic breath before I realized that even if I knew what I was doing it probably wouldn't help. Even though I was pretty sure she was gone, I went into the street with my baby quasi-wrapped in a towel. The cab took forever. I sat in the backseat with my greatest love, dead in my arms, not knowing what to do. They confirmed it in an exam room. I sat alone with her for awhile, petting her and talking to her. She still felt like my baby. She was still so soft and so wonderful. A week or two later I talked to the vet on the phone. She thinks she probably had lymphoma and had an intestinal tumor that was sucking up all of her blood, and that the tumor probably bursted. For a day or two, it was comforting to think that my failure to bring her in and put her on prednisone months ago may not have caused this. But since then I learned that the prednisone may have stopped her from developing lymphoma or at least help treat it if she already had it. And even though prednisone often causes additional health problems, I don't think she would have had such a painful, panic-filled, and sudden death. I respect many different levels of care that people are willing and able to provide for their animal friends and companions. But for me, I failed to live up to my own standards and to the level of care that I had established for my baby throughout our years. I am absolutely devastated and I will have to live with this failure of mine for the rest of my life. I am also just so angry at myself that I lost the most important part of my life because of procrastination. And I miss her so very terribly. I still say hello to her (through sobs) every time I walk into our home, I talk to her, I hold her ashes close to me when I'm at home. I write to her. I spend all day functioning (at a lower level than normal) on the surface while all I can think about is how I want my baby back and about how I can possibly reconcile the fact that I failed the one I love most. I talk to the few people I know will listen and I'm like a broken record. They still will sometimes tell me to stop blaming myself, but I think after I explain it they kind of get it. I was working so hard, yet I failed to help the most important friend in my life at a time when she really needed it. I was consumed by my job (ironically, trying to create more stability and a better life for me and my baby) and I was afraid of the choices I would have to make regarding the next treatment options. I always knew if was going to be absolutely horrible when she died someday, but it's all the more heartbreaking that it happened like this. The purity of what we had was a constant source of joy and inspiration to me, and now I no longer have my baby to come home to nor can I claim that I did everything I could do. She gave me so much. She deserved more. It feels very wrong that this happened.
  11. How Do I Get Past the Guilt?

    I am so sorry for what Starbuck went through and for your loss. I understand feeling guilty but, even though I don't know the specifics of your situation, this sounds like an instance where it really wasn't your fault. My sweet love died on January 16th and it was also a very un-peaceful death that keeps replaying in my mind. One thing I can say is that you, Starbuck, and your family were lucky to be together through this and that it takes a great amount of love to bear witness and try to offer comfort during something so painful. I feel horrible guilt, but for very different reasons. It's too many awful things at once: losing someone wonderful who you truly love, the feeling (justified or not) that you are in some way to blame, and knowing your baby did not go in a way you would have wished for them. Without my best friend, I now live alone- which means I can still keep talking to her and saying all the things I need to say, including tons of "I love you" and "I'm so sorry". I also write letters to her in my journal. Maybe writing to him would seem right to you. "Feeling better" is not something I'm even seeking right now, which I suspect is true for many others experiencing grief and guilt. I just do things that I feel like I need to do or should do, for whatever reason
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