Absolutely Devastated

Absolutely Devastated

by Karin Baltzell, Ph.d

Dear Karin,

I am writing because I just lost my beloved, beautiful marmalade kitty, my companion of 22 years, 3 days ago. I am ABSOLUTELY devastated. He had been a VERY healthy and active older cat for many years, but last year,he showed signs of kidney failure.After the vet treated him with a short series of IV meds, he returned almost fully, to his healthy status of before. But, the Vet, kindly told me that Marmalade’s only problem was ‘old age’, and as they did not have a ‘pill’ for that, he was able to prolong his life for ‘3-6 months, maybe a bit more’. Well, I was blessed to share another 14+ months, and just the last week or so, he began to show the same signs as previously. He lost his ability to walk and was pulling himself around. He had lost his appetite and was eating almost nothing, as well as drinking constantly, again signs of kidney failure.

It just broke my heart. In his prime, he was 26 pounds, a gorgeous, muscular beautiful specimen as well as the sweetest and most genteel of cats. To see him lose this ability to ambulate with such coordination and precision, as well as dignity …… it was VERY hard to see. And, the way he looked at me …… I knew it was time to let him go. He could not have been happy, AND he had lost the will to eat, and I’m sure was full of poison, related to his failing kidneys. You could just see he did not feel well and could not understand what was happening. I called a number of Vets in the area, and found one who would make a house call. She came and I held my precious Angel once more, along with my husband – nearby, and we told him how MUCH we loved him and appreciated being allowed the privilage to share our lives with him for all these years.

Of course, I was crying and my heart was just breaking. The Vet gave him the shot, and he left me so peacefully. But, I have not been able to hardly even think since those moments of 3 days ago. I am absolutely heart-broken. EVERYTHING I have done in the past 22 years, has included Marmalade and his needs, his joys, his desires, his LIFE. I cannot believe he is really gone. Both my husband and I have seen his ‘shadow’ and heard him descend the stairs to be with us each evening since he left. I have cried and cried, and am reminiscing almost constantly about the many, many multitudes of memories I have shared with my dear SWEET Kitty. I am writing to ask ….. when does this pain leave? Will I see him again? How can I deal with my loss so that it doesn’t devastate me until I am no longer able to do anything else?

able to do anything else? I have a very loving and caring family, a husband who loves me and even both my parents are still living ….. both in their 80s. I have MUCH to live for, but I am REALLY hurting and missing my PRECIOUS angel kitty. One point of interest -I have no children, so I am sure dear Marmalade was and IS my child – the son who I will never have, and I’m also sure that is another reason this hurts that much more intensely.)

Today, I spent the day reviewing and going over the pictures of my precious

Dolly, and even went to the store to purchase an extra nice photo album, in which I can put all the pictures of him to treasure. My husband said that is a bit ‘odd’, but then we all deal with loss in our own way. I just found your website, from some info my sister gave me. I appreciate reading your responses and ideas and opinions in regards to the loss and grieveing of our pets. Please share with me some ways in which I can help myself and in the same time, honor and continue to show respect and the deep deep love I have for my dear companion, Marmalade.

I am a Registered Nurse, and have worked in Home Care for over 15 years, following many years as a cardiac nurse, working in Intensive Care. I care for the elderly, almost exclusively, so death and dying are not new to me. I have lost family members who have meant the world to me, but never before, have I experienced THIS amount of pain, and loss. I’m sure it is due to the fact that Marmalade was a DAILY part of my life, and one who I cherished far more than some realized.

I’d appreciate any responses or help and suggestions as I learn to live withOUT my dear, Sweet Marmalade.

Dear Reader,

We were touched that you wrote Beyond Indigo seeking help with your sadness and grief. Of course, we are so very sorry to hear about your loss of Marmalade. It is a very hard to thing to lose a pet, especially one that has been with you for so many years, and that has been your child in so many ways.

It would seem that you gave him many good years, and also that you were fortunate to give him and “extra” 14 months.

It would be so “easy” to tell you some number of days, months or weeks that you will feel such pain at the loss of your kitty, but there really is no formula…everyone does have different experiences because of different relationships with their pets. But what I can tell you is that everyone hurts, and the recovery time varies.

We have heard of other people making photo albums/scrap books of their pets, and that does seem to help people. I would suggest you log into the Beyond Indigo message boards. You may find someone “out there” who totally is in the same position you are…and you can share with each other.

My guess is that the acute pain you felt five days ago is somewhat less now than it was then, but again, not to worry if it is not.

You asked some questions:

I am writing to ask ….. when does this pain leave? [This can vary, but gets less raw as the weeks go on…] Will I see him again? [It would seem that you already are! How wonderful that you are so tuned into Marmalade that you can hear him come down the stairs, and feel him close to you. We often have pet

owners tell us that they see their animals curled up in a favorite spot, or that they get a new pet, and just “know” that new pet is really their former one! So, I would say, from what we hear from others that yes, you will know your pet again, but perhaps in a different way!]

How can I deal with my loss so that it doesn’t devastate me until I am no longer able to do anything else?[Is this any better yet? Every time you think of your pet, think about the happy times, not the time you have now that is about loss.

Think back to happy times, and KNOW without a doubt that your cat is happier now that he was in his last days. He knew it was time to go, and you did the best you could for him. Comfort yourself with this thought.]

I have a very loving and caring family, a husband who loves me and even both my parents are still living. [this is so fortunate for you. Continue to lean on them for love and support, and also GIVE love, as that is what you did so much of when Marmalade was with you in a physical body.]

Another way to honor your Marmalade would be to give/donate some books to the library about cats…perhaps to the children’s section….or plant a tree or bush in his honor someplace. Or, you could go to the Humane Society and donate money so that someone might be able to get a cat there that couldn’t afford to do it any other way. That way, you would be giving someone else the opportunity to love a cat the way you were able to.

Let us know how you are doing! We care!

Karin at Beyond Indigo…

Karin is a staff writer and editor for Beyond Indigo. She holds her Ph.D in Psychology.