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The methods of grief

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  • The methods of grief

    Since I lost my cat this weekend, Simba, who we had for 15 years this month, I went into overdrive and cleaned the house. I call it grief cleaning. I do it every time I am grieving about something. The house looks like a shiny new pin because nothing gets left out - fridge, stove, floors, walls, windows, furniture .... I need to work out my emotions and I take it out on the house. When I lose a horse, it's the barn that pays the price of my emotion and literally everything from floor to rafters feels my pain.

    What do you do when grieving about the loss of someone precious (human or pets/equine)?
    Practice! Patience! Persistence!
    http://www.mariposasporthorses.com/
    https://www.facebook.com/MariposaSportHorses/

  • #2
    I cry then I eat. Then I cry and eat. Then I eat while crying.

    Comment


    • #3
      I hold it together during the immediate parts (putting them down, etc), then break down and cry privately later. Then I work on remembering the good times. I probably "move on" to another animal faster than many people, not as a replacement, just as the next chapter. I have never "idled" well. I, too, work out thoughts and feelings by being productive and active.

      It can still affect you in odd ways even much later, though. My first Siamese, the Ultimate Cat (not only my opinion; everyone who knew her agreed that she was near otherworldly, an Einstein of felines), was the nearest thing I've ever met to a person in a cat suit. If she were a person, she'd have been me. If I were a cat, I'd have been her. To a T, we matched. When I lost her at 13, I held it together at the vet's office, then brought her home and dug her grave (in January) in the rose garden, and I was glad how difficult physically that process was in the frozen ground. Within a week, I was looking for Meezer #2, starting to browse catteries and consider litters of kittens. However, while I wanted another Siamese, no question, I could not stand the idea of one looking just like her and yet not being her. My one preference on the "color" section of the cattery application was, "Anything but chocolate point."

      I now 5 years later have 2 Meezers, a beautiful blue and a wickedly mischievous seal, both characters and exceptional cats in their own right. But to this day, I don't want a chocolate point. Maybe some day down the road. Not yet.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by dressagetraks View Post
        Then I work on remembering the good times. I probably "move on" to another animal faster than many people, not as a replacement, just as the next chapter. I have never "idled" well. I, too, work out thoughts and feelings by being productive and active.
        I'm the same way. My husband, unfortunately, is not. So when he lost his dog, he never wanted another one. I left it alone but when I lost my dog a few years later, he STILL didn't want another dog and I did. It was hard..
        Visit us at Bluebonnet Equine Humane Society - www.bluebonnetequine.org

        Want to get involved in rescue or start your own? Check out How to Start a Horse Rescue - www.howtostartarescue.com

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        • #5
          Originally posted by smokescreen View Post
          I cry then I eat. Then I cry and eat. Then I eat while crying.
          ^^^This.
          Shall I tell you what I find beautiful about you? You are at your very best when things are worst.
          Starman

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          • #6
            Know Where You Are ~ So Very Sorry ~

            Thoughts and prayers and Huge hugs for you ~ RIP Simba ~
            I just try to get through one day at a time ~ lost my two "sisters" O.J. & Hillary ( 15 yo) one year ago April for O.J. and will be a year August for Hillary ~ losing them only four months apart cut me off at the knees ~ must admit I am still not at peace with their passing ~ visit their grave sites twice daily.
            Zu Zu Bailey " IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE ! "

            Comment


            • #7
              I just lost two horses two weeks apart in March. I did ok with losing the first gelding who died of colic at the age of 19. I was able to accept his death as he had a long wonderful life and everyone who ever met him instantly fell in love with him.

              The second gelding was euthanized when his coffin bone collapsed and went through the sole of his foot.....he was 6 years old and my life. I am struggling with his death for sure. I think that I am going throught the steps of grief as normal but it is still hard. I am currently in the anger stage. Mad that my horse is dead even though I did everything I could to save him.

              I did go and buy a new horse a month after they both died........not to replace them or to try to get out of grieving but to give me something to look forward too.

              I still feel consumed by his death and I usually use my half hour commute everyday to have a good cry I am looking forward to the day that I can look at pictures of him again. Right now I feel like throwing up when I see old pictures of him
              RIP Sucha Smooth Whiskey
              May 17,2004 - March 29, 2010
              RIP San Lena Peppy
              May 3, 1991 - March 11, 2010

              Comment


              • #8
                I stay busy. I have a full time job as well as a 5 acre farmette, and 3 horses, a Great Dane, and 3 barn cats to care for.

                It's during the quiet times when I grieve. Any other time, I'm just too busy and I'm glad for the distractions and physical exertion.

                Like dressagetraks, when I lose a particularly special critter, I deliberately avoid getting another one who looks like my lost companion.

                When Conny died, I completely avoided looking at small, bay, Arabian geldings.

                My new heart horse? A chestnut TB gelding. He's nothing like Conny except for his obvious love of humans, and I'm not just okay with that, I find it preferable.

                JJ isn't a replacement; he's a completely different animal and I think that's the way it's supposed to be.
                Homeopathy claims water can cure you since it once held medicine. That's like saying you can get sustenance from an empty plate because it once held food.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I write a lot. Mostly emails, some letters, sometimes just jotting stuff down on a scrap of paper just to get it out of my head.

                  It's not that it feels "good" to talk about it and dwell on it and write about it, but it feels peaceful. Like, all day I'm at work going about my daily routine but there's this congnitive dissonance because in my heart I'm falling apart. Then I get home and write and cry and it feels fulfilling - even though it's painful, at least my heart and my head are aligned.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Funny the things we have in common... Ro, so sorry for the recent loss.

                    I *wish* I cleaned. I am a clutter person. I wish I wasn't, but it's not important enough. That's time I could be spending doing other things.

                    Like DT & arab, I will go out of my way to get something OPPOSITE the creature I lost, *if* I'm actively looking. When I lost my Great big black dog (closest thing to a significant other I'll ever have) I wanted a yellow or golden. O'Malley was all bold (in a good way) with little fear, a love of everyone and everything in life... I ended up with a rescue pup, Vizsla x Lab/sharpei (yes, really ) who at 3mos already had a broken rib and parvo. Malnourished and timid as hell. With O'Malley everything was "No, Leave it, Down, Off." With Shenanigan everything was "goooooood girl... its ok.... " said quietly.

                    I think what I find most odd about animal grief, is that it is so difficult to express. They touch that part of us beyond words... so words don't adequately express the loss.

                    As others have said, the quiet times, often driving, will have me crying for my Best Girl, even now, 5 years later. The long drive down to my teacher's (5 hrs) gets me, probably because it should be *her* in the trailer. With the older girls, it still catches me... but not like with her.

                    When people die, other people get it. They have a reference point. But when you are like us (those posting right here) and you lose one of the creatures that has a piece of your heart, many folks just don't get it. Some even disparage it. "Just" an animal... they have no idea...
                    InnisFailte Pinto Sporthorses & Coloured Cobs
                    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

                    Bits are like cats, what's one more? (Petstorejunkie)

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      When the time comes around for when both my sister's death (July 17th) and my son's death (April 29th) I really find myself sleeping a lot. I try to sleep the pain away. I also seclude myself which I am not sure is good. Time is suppose to make it better but it seems to be worse. My sister died in 1999 and my son 2006. It still hurts and grieveing sucks.

                      Soon my sister's 11yr death is coming up and I caught my mother sitting on the couch rocking and crying That hurt me sooo bad but I kept it together because I did not want to cry and make her feel worse.

                      My mother went through grief councling and is on an anti-depressant. I haven't done anything but maybe I should.

                      I have had pets die and it hurts soooo bad. My once in a lifetime dog died and I had dreams about her forever. It was very weird. The feelings between pet, sibling and son's passing have been VERY VERY different. At least I can relate with my parents some about the feeling eventhough Terri was 32 (cancer) and my son was 6 (encephalitis)
                      Draumr Hesta Farm
                      "Wenn Du denkst es geht nicht mehr, kommt von irgendwo ein kleines Licht daher"
                      Member of the COTH Ignorant Disrepectful F-bombs!*- 2Dogs Farm

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by arabhorse2 View Post

                        JJ isn't a replacement; he's a completely different animal and I think that's the way it's supposed to be.
                        This is how I feel too. The vet is coming tonight for my Petey, it's time. He has a stage 4 Mast Cell tumor that ulcerated Friday. He had a year of love without pain since being diagnosed so I am grateful.

                        Yesterday I was offered a Great Dane and a Golden. I lost my Golden in january and I have always wanted a Great Dane. I just can't do it though. When Petey goes across the bridge tonight he will be the 4th dog I have lost in two years, add in my Dumplin' and my heart hurts too much to breathe.

                        I know there will be another who needs me, and I will keep my heart open to that.

                        Tonight I will take Petey, Bodie and Cap and we will go out for a long walk and cry. The dogs always say goodbye before the vet comes and then I separate them. When they pass I bring them back in. I will never forget how frantic Ralph and Cap were when my dear labs didn't come home from the vet. And the way Cap mourned for Dumplin' was heartbreaking. Even Troops looked for Bonks every am and pm at feeding time for almost a month. They always shared his grain I won't make that mistake again, of not letting companions say their goodbyes. Anyone who says animals don't mourn for their companions is a twit. Come to my house...I'll prove it to you.
                        I Loff My Quarter Horse & I love Fenway Bartholomule cliques

                        Just somebody with a positive outlook on life...go ahead...hate me for that.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Thoughts and prayers & hugs ~

                          Originally posted by equineartworks View Post
                          This is how I feel too. The vet is coming tonight for my Petey, it's time. He has a stage 4 Mast Cell tumor that ulcerated Friday. He had a year of love without pain since being diagnosed so I am grateful.

                          Yesterday I was offered a Great Dane and a Golden. I lost my Golden in january and I have always wanted a Great Dane. I just can't do it though. When Petey goes across the bridge tonight he will be the 4th dog I have lost in two years, add in my Dumplin' and my heart hurts too much to breathe.

                          I know there will be another who needs me, and I will keep my heart open to that.

                          Tonight I will take Petey, Bodie and Cap and we will go out for a long walk and cry. The dogs always say goodbye before the vet comes and then I separate them. When they pass I bring them back in. I will never forget how frantic Ralph and Cap were when my dear labs didn't come home from the vet. And the way Cap mourned for Dumplin' was heartbreaking. Even Troops looked for Bonks every am and pm at feeding time for almost a month. They always shared his grain I won't make that mistake again, of not letting companions say their goodbyes. Anyone who says animals don't mourn for their companions is a twit. Come to my house...I'll prove it to you.
                          Thoughts and prayers and huge hugs for you and your family ~ Godspeed Petey.
                          Zu Zu Bailey " IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE ! "

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            EA, (((hugs))) peace & strength to you tonight. Nootka, I'll be thinking of you the next few weeks. I remember when you lost your son. I can't imagine... (((strength & peace)))

                            I had an odd thought not too long ago.

                            First of all, I have to start by admitting that while I've no idea about *souls* per se, I do believe that God creates all creatures, and that the animal friends in our lives ARE creatures of light, merely wearing an animal suit for now, and that we WILL see them and know them someday...

                            Meanwhile, on this side of eternity, I have always thought that some of them, we are not allowed to have any longer, because we wouldn't be able to bear their leaving... (Bounce, Integrity...) While others, we loved well, and learned from, or were healed by, or helped...

                            But some of us seem to be 'blessed' with more creatures than others. Every time I lose one, I say I'm not going to do it again, KNOWING I should outlive them. And yet, they seem to find me. And sometimes I think it's because I HAVE LOVE. I have joy. Yes, I have sorrow, and grief (weeping like a baby as I type this... ) for those lost, but that does not take away from the love of another. It doesn't REPLACE it, there is always a unique hole in the heart for each, that no one else quite fits in, but I think if there is capacity for love, then we are given creatures to fill that capacity. Some cannot bear as much stretching as others--that is not a fault by any means. Some just can't bear more pain because the love they knew was so perfect.

                            And some of us just have to keep loving. Like wiggling a loose tooth--you know it will hurt, but you are compelled anyway.

                            I walked out this afternoon, and was just overhwhelmed with the joy and beauty of my horses, dogs and cats. I was SO NOT a cat person, and yet the four felines in my life right now quite possibly saved my life--and definitely saved my sanity--last year when I lost my job. Even though Bounce is gone... he was just too perfect. He had nothing to learn in this life. He reminded me of the purity of joy, of moving just to move, of laying in the sun to absorb it's warmth, of the simplicity and purity of just loving life.

                            I don't know if I'm even making any sense. I can't really spell out what it is that came to me. Just that as long as I have love, and am willing to risk the pain, I know there will be creatures to share this awful, beautiful life with me.

                            <shrugs>
                            InnisFailte Pinto Sporthorses & Coloured Cobs
                            ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

                            Bits are like cats, what's one more? (Petstorejunkie)

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Thank you, EAW

                              I couldn't have said it any better! Yes, you captured the bond between people and their animals.

                              I adore my family members, who now include multigenerational representatives who are dynamic and inspirational. We have ALL had experiences with family pets that have forged deep connections with us.

                              PP, your posts are food for the soul! Continued jingles for Bounce to come home, damn cat.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by pintopiaffe View Post
                                EA, (((hugs))) peace & strength to you tonight. Nootka, I'll be thinking of you the next few weeks. I remember when you lost your son. I can't imagine... (((strength & peace))) >
                                thank you very much COTH was the best support group for that time
                                Draumr Hesta Farm
                                "Wenn Du denkst es geht nicht mehr, kommt von irgendwo ein kleines Licht daher"
                                Member of the COTH Ignorant Disrepectful F-bombs!*- 2Dogs Farm

                                Comment

                                • Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  Originally posted by equineartworks View Post
                                  Tonight I will take Petey, Bodie and Cap and we will go out for a long walk and cry. The dogs always say goodbye before the vet comes and then I separate them. When they pass I bring them back in. I will never forget how frantic Ralph and Cap were when my dear labs didn't come home from the vet. And the way Cap mourned for Dumplin' was heartbreaking. Even Troops looked for Bonks every am and pm at feeding time for almost a month. They always shared his grain I won't make that mistake again, of not letting companions say their goodbyes. Anyone who says animals don't mourn for their companions is a twit. Come to my house...I'll prove it to you.
                                  <<Hugs to you for your loss.>>

                                  I firmly believe animals mourn. When I had to put down my gelding, the mares seemed to be disordered. He was the boss and leader, and they seemed out of sorts without his guidance. It took a good couple months for them to settle into a new routine.

                                  I, too, cry in my quiet moments. I need to be alone to do this, but at first, I have a drive to get busy... really, really busy. Then, once all that energy is expended I can release and cry. If there are people around I can't. Afterwards, I feel exhausted for a good week. Someone mentioned dreams... oh yes, I get those too.

                                  We buried Simba in the grassy roundabout in front of the barn. We are planning on planting an ornamental crab tree beside him. It's a good place for a tree. He would have loved to lay in the shade underneath it.

                                  Our other kitty, Caesar, seems a bit lost. He is really missing his cuddle-buddy. They used to sleep together in the rocker chair and now Caesar seems lost without Simba. We did show him Simba's body, but Caesar is only 1-1/2 years old, and I don't think he quite understood what it meant. We also notice that if we are getting ready to go outside, Caesar gets a little anxious as if he is worried that we might not come back (like Simba did not come back) and he constantly meows and wraps around our legs. Then when we come back in the door, he runs to us and meows, as if very relieved we're home safely.

                                  It's nice to share our stories and I'm glad I'm not the only one that takes it really hard when I lose one of my 4-legged friends.
                                  Practice! Patience! Persistence!
                                  http://www.mariposasporthorses.com/
                                  https://www.facebook.com/MariposaSportHorses/

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