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TKH

A terrible start to the new year

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I applogize that this might be a long story but I figure that this is a place that I can share my feelings. I’m suffering so much and I don’t know what to do. 

Yesterday (January 3rd, 2018) I suddenly lost my cat named K-Lee. It’s an odd way to spell her name but my dad chose to spell it like that. From what I remember, he was joking about something to do with canines/K-9 but of course she was a cat and we wanted a name similar to the cat we had years ago named Cali. As a result, somehow, K-Lee became her name. 

The night before she passed, she was fine. She came to me when I was watching a movie on my laptop and curled up in my blankets next to me. She vomitted an hour or so ago but honestly it wasn’t uncommon. I don’t remember what the actual name of this condition was, but from what I remember our vet informed us a few years ago she was allergic to some sort of bacteria in her mouth (or around her teeth) which could upset her stomach and eventually over time she would lose her teeth. And it happened, but she still seemed fine and ate her food despite the lack of her teeth to help chew.

Before I went to bed that night she snuggled up next to me. And the thing about her, she never really did that unless she was cold or not feeling well. But with how she was acting after vomitting, she seemed fine and was purring and sleeping peacefully. And despite living in Hawaii, it was a chilly night and I just thought things were like they normally were. When I woke up however, my life changed so much. I didn’t get woken up from her knocking down my things. 

Inssteas, I heard my brother come out of his room as she made a loud meow. She was so tiny that it was the first time I’ve ever heard her meow so loud. My dad tried to comfort her as best as he could but he had to leave for work soon. Her eyes were large, her breathing was heavy, she couldn’t move or walk. It was the worst thing seeing her like that. My dad was able to contact the vet and my brother and I took her as he had to go to work. When we were finally able to see the vet, she couldn’t move, her arms were stretched out in front of her and she made another painful meow as they tried to get her weight. Even during the car ride there, she couldn’t move and would flop over in her cage when my brother made his turns. I saw them give her multiple shots to help her breathe since her breathing sounded horrible. The vet then said it might have been a blood clot, a seizure, or a stroke. They took her away to get some x-rays done and we were sent to wait outside. It felt like forever waiting to be called back and I shed a few tears but I was hopeful things would be okay.

When they showed us the x-rays they said she seemed fine. Nothing was wrong with her lungs or anything. Her potassium levels were low and her blood sugar was high but they were going to give her an IV to help her as she was dehydrated as well. She also said it might have been a stroke or some sort of neurological issue. After that I honestly thought she was in good hands. The vet said she had to stay in the pet hospital and we could visit any time or call for updates. But it was at that moment I made the worse mistake of my life. It’s something I regret so much. I should have asked to see her before we left because an hour or two later I woke up from a nap and received the devastating call from my dad that she had passed. 

I was alone at home and cried my eyes out. I was mad at myself, I questioned why she was gone and what I could have done. I wished I had stayed up longer that night and maybe I could have been there when she was experiencing her stroke or whatever happened to her. I could have gotten her to the vet immediately. She was only 10 years old and I wasn’t prepared for this. I thought I had a few more years left with her. I look around my house and all I see is the places that she used to sleep or walk or sit on. My room had her food bowls and her litter box and it’s hard to be in there. 

The same day she passed I went to see her one last time. I was always worried about forgetting how she felt or smelt like. But when I got to hold her deceased body it wasn’t the same. I could barely smell her past the chemical smell from the area where they inserted the IV into her paw. She felt so hard and the colors on her paw pads were white. My parents said she looked like she could be sleeping or could wake up at any moment since one of her eyes was slightly opened. I cried and kissed her and couldn’t believe that she was fine yesterday and gone the next. Her eyes were slightly watery too and my tears kept falling on her face. 

It’s the start of the new year and I’m torn apart. Next week I start my last semester of college before I graduate and I don’t know how to feel. I cry and cry and miss her so much. I don’t know how to deal with all this. I lost my baby yesterday and I don’t know how to carry on. Everything hurts. My back hurts, my chest hurts, my heart hurts and I feel like I can’t wait to live out my entire life to see her again. I’m only 22 and it feels like torture to have to go on and not see her in my room or in the house. We’re having her cremated and we plan on having her in my room but still...it hurts. I try to think positive thoughts and I try to tell myself that everything l do will be in memory of her but it’s still so hard. 

9D5950E4-45A5-4E68-B6F5-9ABCC7D5E7AC.jpeg

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Hi @TKH I am glad you got this story out and shared here. I am so so sorry for your loss. It's an awful thing to go through. I have lost 3 cats in my life, 2 were "expected" (with lengthy illnesses) and the last one passed away very suddenly on Aug 12. The sudden loss was way worse for me. Like you, our cat was fine until he got violently sick and we put him down as all of his organs were starting to fail. 

I know you are in agony and also worrying about what you could have done. Something went extremely wrong w/ your sweet cat and you did the best you could at every turn. Sadly, she was taken from you too early. We just never know when these things will happen or exactly why. :( 

You are very new to your loss, maybe still in shock. After we lost our cat, I didn't eat much or sleep well. I ran over and over the whole awful scenes - his sickness. It just takes some time for your brain to process what has happened and deal with the loss. I feel like the physical pains we have are tied to the emotional pain.

Please try to take care of yourself. I promise these terrible days will not last forever and eventually you will have nothing but all the wonderful memories instead of just sadness.    

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I am so sorry for the loss of your baby, your little girl.  I remember when I was 19, I was on my own, and my mom called to tell me they put my dog to sleep.  I'd had him since I was five, but when I left home at 17 they wouldn't let me take him with me, they said he was a "family dog" even though he'd always been mine and they got him for me when I was five.  I was shocked, they hadn't told me of any problems, he was just getting old, they hadn't given me a chance to say goodbye or tell him how much I loved him.

Death is like that, it leaves unfinished business, we always want more time with them, no matter how long we get.  And we often blame ourselves for imagined wrongs, all of the "should haves" and "what ifs", but that's a normal part of grief, it's like we're trying to rewrite the ending so we can have a different outcome.  The truth is, we were good pet owners, parents, if you will.  We loved them and they loved us and we gave them the best lives we could.  These articles express this subject much better than I could hope to:

http://media.wix.com/ugd/0dd4a5_e934e7f92d104d31bcb334d6c6d63974.pdf 

http://www.pet-loss.net/guilt.shtml

Your little girl was ten, and that with physical problems, she did pretty good considering.  But that still doesn't feel like enough time, does it.  I feel your grief, your pain.  Try to focus on your schooling in the bit of time you have left, but let yourself grieve at the end of the day when your schoolwork is done, go ahead and cry, feel the pain, shed the tears, it's all part of processing our grief, and that's oddly enough what propels us through this.  Avoiding it doesn't work, it's still there at the end of the day, but I've heard some people try to "schedule" their grief so they can function during the day, and if a person can do that, more power to them.  Me, grief always seemed to find me and haunt me and not let me go!  But I lost my husband 12 1/2 years ago, and that was the start of losing many pets since, somehow I've managed to hold down jobs and do what I needed to do during that time, looking back I don't know how.  Determination and no choice I guess.  I know there've been times I didn't feel like it, more often than not.  By now I've gotten more used to this thing we call grief.  I carry it inside of me, kind of like a sadness, but also a strength, and I've learned I can reach inside for that person or pet and receive not only the good memories but comfort and strength from having had them in my life.  They still exist, albeit spirit form, and I believe with all my heart we'll be together again.  That hope propels me.

I wrote this article based on my twelve years journey since losing my husband and most of it can apply to any grief loss.  I hope you find something in it that can be of help to you.

TIPS TO MAKE YOUR WAY THROUGH GRIEF

There's no way to sum up how to go on in a simple easy answer, but I encourage you to read the other threads here, little by little you will learn how to make your way through this.  I do want to give you some pointers though, of some things I've learned on my journey.

  • Take one day at a time.  The Bible says each day has enough trouble of it's own, I've found that to be true, so don't bite off more than you can chew.  It can be challenging enough just to tackle today.  I tell myself, I only have to get through today.  Then I get up tomorrow and do it all over again.  To think about the "rest of my life" invites anxiety.
  • Don't be afraid, grief may not end but it evolves.  The intensity lessens eventually.
  • Visit your doctor.  Tell them about your loss, any troubles sleeping, suicidal thoughts, anxiety attacks.  They need to know these things in order to help you through it...this is all part of grief.
  • Suicidal thoughts are common in early grief.  If they're reoccurring, call a suicide hotline.  I felt that way early on, but then realized it wasn't that I wanted to die so much as I didn't want to go through what I'd have to face if I lived.  Back to taking a day at a time.
  • Try not to isolate too much.  
  • There's a balance to reach between taking time to process our grief, and avoiding it...it's good to find that balance for yourself.  We can't keep so busy as to avoid our grief, it has a way of haunting us, finding us, and demanding we pay attention to it!  Some people set aside time every day to grieve.  I didn't have to, it searched and found me!
  • Self-care is extremely important, more so than ever.  That person that would have cared for you is gone, now you're it...learn to be your own best friend, your own advocate, practice self-care.  You'll need it more than ever.
  • Recognize that your doctor isn't trained in grief, find a professional grief counselor that is.  We need help finding ourselves through this maze of grief, knowing where to start, etc.  They have not only the knowledge, but the resources.]
  • In time, consider a grief support group.  If your friends have not been through it themselves, they may not understand what you're going through, it helps to find someone somewhere who DOES "get it". 
  • Be patient, give yourself time.  There's no hurry or timetable about cleaning out belongings, etc.  They can wait, you can take a year, ten years, or never deal with it.  It's okay, it's what YOU are comfortable with that matters.  
  • Know that what we are comfortable with may change from time to time.  That first couple of years I put his pictures up, took them down, up, down, depending on whether it made me feel better or worse.  Finally, they were up to stay.
  • Consider a pet.  Not everyone is a pet fan, but I've found that my dog helps immensely.  It's someone to love, someone to come home to, someone happy to see me, someone that gives me a purpose...I have to come home and feed him.  Besides, they're known to relieve stress.  Well maybe not in the puppy stage when they're chewing up everything, but there's older ones to adopt if you don't relish that stage.
  • Make yourself get out now and then.  You may not feel interest in anything, things that interested you before seem to feel flat now.  That's normal.  Push yourself out of your comfort zone just a wee bit now and then.  Eating out alone, going to a movie alone or church alone, all of these things are hard to do at first.  You may feel you flunked at it, cried throughout, that's okay, you did it, you tried, and eventually you get a little better at it.  If I waited until I had someone to do things with I'd be stuck at home a lot.
  • Keep coming here.  We've been through it and we're all going through this together.
  • Look for joy in every day.  It will be hard to find at first, but in practicing this, it will change your focus so you can embrace what IS rather than merely focusing on what ISN'T.  It teaches you to live in the present and appreciate fully.  You have lost your big joy in life, and all other small joys may seem insignificant in comparison, but rather than compare what used to be to what is, learn the ability to appreciate each and every small thing that comes your way...a rainbow, a phone call from a friend, unexpected money, a stranger smiling at you, whatever the small joy, embrace it.  It's an art that takes practice and is life changing if you continue it.
  • Eventually consider volunteering.  It helps us when we're outward focused, it's a win/win.

(((hugs))) Praying for you today.

And maybe this isn't exactly how it is, but it brings me comfort to think of it this way:

 

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On 04/01/2018 at 11:06 PM, TKH said:

I applogize that this might be a long story but I figure that this is a place that I can share my feelings. I’m suffering so much and I don’t know what to do. 

Yesterday (January 3rd, 2018) I suddenly lost my cat named K-Lee. It’s an odd way to spell her name but my dad chose to spell it like that. From what I remember, he was joking about something to do with canines/K-9 but of course she was a cat and we wanted a name similar to the cat we had years ago named Cali. As a result, somehow, K-Lee became her name. 

The night before she passed, she was fine. She came to me when I was watching a movie on my laptop and curled up in my blankets next to me. She vomitted an hour or so ago but honestly it wasn’t uncommon. I don’t remember what the actual name of this condition was, but from what I remember our vet informed us a few years ago she was allergic to some sort of bacteria in her mouth (or around her teeth) which could upset her stomach and eventually over time she would lose her teeth. And it happened, but she still seemed fine and ate her food despite the lack of her teeth to help chew.

Before I went to bed that night she snuggled up next to me. And the thing about her, she never really did that unless she was cold or not feeling well. But with how she was acting after vomitting, she seemed fine and was purring and sleeping peacefully. And despite living in Hawaii, it was a chilly night and I just thought things were like they normally were. When I woke up however, my life changed so much. I didn’t get woken up from her knocking down my things. 

Inssteas, I heard my brother come out of his room as she made a loud meow. She was so tiny that it was the first time I’ve ever heard her meow so loud. My dad tried to comfort her as best as he could but he had to leave for work soon. Her eyes were large, her breathing was heavy, she couldn’t move or walk. It was the worst thing seeing her like that. My dad was able to contact the vet and my brother and I took her as he had to go to work. When we were finally able to see the vet, she couldn’t move, her arms were stretched out in front of her and she made another painful meow as they tried to get her weight. Even during the car ride there, she couldn’t move and would flop over in her cage when my brother made his turns. I saw them give her multiple shots to help her breathe since her breathing sounded horrible. The vet then said it might have been a blood clot, a seizure, or a stroke. They took her away to get some x-rays done and we were sent to wait outside. It felt like forever waiting to be called back and I shed a few tears but I was hopeful things would be okay.

When they showed us the x-rays they said she seemed fine. Nothing was wrong with her lungs or anything. Her potassium levels were low and her blood sugar was high but they were going to give her an IV to help her as she was dehydrated as well. She also said it might have been a stroke or some sort of neurological issue. After that I honestly thought she was in good hands. The vet said she had to stay in the pet hospital and we could visit any time or call for updates. But it was at that moment I made the worse mistake of my life. It’s something I regret so much. I should have asked to see her before we left because an hour or two later I woke up from a nap and received the devastating call from my dad that she had passed. 

I was alone at home and cried my eyes out. I was mad at myself, I questioned why she was gone and what I could have done. I wished I had stayed up longer that night and maybe I could have been there when she was experiencing her stroke or whatever happened to her. I could have gotten her to the vet immediately. She was only 10 years old and I wasn’t prepared for this. I thought I had a few more years left with her. I look around my house and all I see is the places that she used to sleep or walk or sit on. My room had her food bowls and her litter box and it’s hard to be in there. 

The same day she passed I went to see her one last time. I was always worried about forgetting how she felt or smelt like. But when I got to hold her deceased body it wasn’t the same. I could barely smell her past the chemical smell from the area where they inserted the IV into her paw. She felt so hard and the colors on her paw pads were white. My parents said she looked like she could be sleeping or could wake up at any moment since one of her eyes was slightly opened. I cried and kissed her and couldn’t believe that she was fine yesterday and gone the next. Her eyes were slightly watery too and my tears kept falling on her face. 

It’s the start of the new year and I’m torn apart. Next week I start my last semester of college before I graduate and I don’t know how to feel. I cry and cry and miss her so much. I don’t know how to deal with all this. I lost my baby yesterday and I don’t know how to carry on. Everything hurts. My back hurts, my chest hurts, my heart hurts and I feel like I can’t wait to live out my entire life to see her again. I’m only 22 and it feels like torture to have to go on and not see her in my room or in the house. We’re having her cremated and we plan on having her in my room but still...it hurts. I try to think positive thoughts and I try to tell myself that everything l do will be in memory of her but it’s still so hard. 

9D5950E4-45A5-4E68-B6F5-9ABCC7D5E7AC.jpeg

This is such a sad story and I know how you feel.

Wednesday night my best friend at the vets just shut himself down whilst we were talking about what to do next. All his xrays came back fine too. His bloods were remarkable they said for 13 years. But yet last 2 weeks breathing not as good ....losing weight and looking not well.  

Start to the new year is dreadful timing and I feel your pain. I can't stop crying.

I still have his brother but Mak was my shadow and my best friend. Alfie has always been a loner. The house is not the same and I hate it. I'm making a fuss of Alfie and he just doesn' seem to be bothered but he is 13 too.

Horrible horrible time at the minute 

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Thank you so much @AJWCat and my condolences for your loss as well.
As of today, its been about a week since she’s passed and I still feel like I’m missing something in my life. Like I mentioned before, I'm a university student, so I think focusing on school has kind of kept my mind busy. I tend to be hyper focused on school work in order to get the grades I want so I almost feel a bit...guilty in some ways. I think its because I’m so focused on school that its like I’m not...grieving enough for her if that makes sense. I know she’s not home and it bothers me so much that I haven’t been able to sleep in my bedroom. But I feel like I should still be mourning over her passing but because my school mode has kicked in I can’t. It seems like only when I finish my studies and stop to think about her that I get sad. And if I continue to think about the day I lost her or the last thing I did with her the night before her passing, it makes me cry.

We still haven't received her cremated remains back and we were told we would get them by today. That in itself just upsets me more as I just want her to be home. Prior to the start of school, I started creating a scrapbook for her and in the process of printing photos, I realized we didn't even have any photos of her in the house. So now we do and it's nice to look back at her pictures from when she was a kitten up until now. I used to think I took too many photos of her but I'm so glad that I did. At first I thought scrapbooking and looking at her photos helped me heal a just a little bit. But there's still a long road ahead.

 

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Thank you so so much @KayC for the words of advice and for showing me that video. When I received a text from my aunt a few days ago, she mentioned the rainbow bridge and I wasn’t quite sure what she meant. At first I just thought it was something nice to say but after watching that video, it made me tear up a lot.

Because school has started, I’ve shifted back into my school mode, where all I can think about is the work that I need to do. When I’m just thinking of school, I feel like how I was before K-Lee passed. But whenever I come home, and especially when I think of her absence, it hits me a bit hard. It’s been a week since she’s left and I feel so conflicted because this semester is definitely the most stressful one I’ve had my entire college journey. But at the same, I just realized how her presence has always been a source of comfort for me during these stressful times. I have a golden retriever named Molli still here but it’s not the same. I love Molli as well but I know that between cats and dogs, I lean towards cats just a bit more. So not having a cat at home pains me a lot.

I don’t really have a lot of friends who have cats or a cat that I can just…pet or hold. One of my best friends that’s still here in my town does have her family’s cat but he’s not very sociable and the fact that he’s 15+ years old just makes me feel slightly envious…which also makes me feel guilty for being envious of his longevity. I know I’m not ready to raise and love another cat just yet, as it’s only been a week, but I’m just so lost. And I’m constantly worried that I’ll forget all my memories with her too. I keep looking at photos of her on my phone but it bothers me that its only now, after she's gone, that I'm noticing the dates that I took all these older photos. It bothers me when I see a photo of her and realize that today, a year or two ago, on this particular date she was still around.

Tomorrow I have an appointment with a counselor at school so I’m hoping that something hopeful can come out of it.

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@Ruby40 I’m so sorry to hear that. You’re definitely not alone when it comes to this kind of loss. And I’m sure like a lot of the other kind people on these forums, you definitely have the support of myself and others to lean on during this tough time.

I too am going through something similar to you when it comes to our other pets. Aside from my cat, K-Lee, I also have an 8 year old golden retriever named Molli and I feel like a terrible mom. I feel like I’m not paying that much attention to her. When I would…yknow cry about K-Lee, it almost seemed like Molli wasn’t too bothered at all. I think over time she’s noticed K-Lee’s absence from the home. But I also would like to think that maybe...just maybe, she can see K-Lee's spirit wandering around the house and that's why she doesn't seem to be too affected by her absence. I love Molli as much as I love K-Lee but I think because K-Lee was my first pet that I raised and because she was always near me, our relationship was like you and Mak. It's just so hard to deal with something like this.

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I am actually happy you have a distraction and that you are able to focus on school. It is no reflection on your love for K-Lee. There is no "you should be grieving more now" or in some time frame. As you said, you are on the path to healing but it is different for us all. And it takes time for sure. A week is so new still. It's still hard to grasp even after a week for most of us. 

I look at photos from this time last year and know, my cat was there, I was happy then. It's painful. It gets better so slowly. I think about the cats I lost 10 years ago... and now I have nothing but wonderful memories, no heartache, and I have never forgotten them either. I won't ever forget the one I just lost. It was the worst loss ever.   

I also love your post about Molli sensing your kitty's presence, maybe that is true.   

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I think what you say about having had K-Lee first made a difference.  Perhaps in time you'll be as close to Molli.  Where we are in our lives can greatly affect our relationship with our pets.

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