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Dealing with grief after beloved pet dies

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Old 06-05-2014, 11:58 AM   #1
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Unhappy Dealing with grief after beloved pet dies

My cat Cinna was hit by a car last week and passed away. Cinna was a wonderful cat, and my husband and I both loved him very much. We are both devastated, but last week I had to go out of town the day after it happened, and now that I'm back I'm just overwhelmed with sadness and guilt. My husband had a chance to grieve while I was away, and while I grieved the day it happened, I feel that now that I"m back I'm just overwhelmed. I'm having trouble completing my work or even caring about work when I'm there, and when I'm home I'm just... sad, and reaching for food.

The other day, my friend showed us a stray that needs a home she has been feeding at her house named Gimli. My husband wanted to take him home (and honestly so did I, but I don't think I was thinking logically at the time). So, we took the cat (Gimli) home, and he is adorable, unfortunately he is an orange tabby just like Cinna was. Now I feel horribly guilty watching Gimli on Cinna's cat tree, eating out of his foodbowl... I just feel like we have betrayed him by letting this other cat into our hearts and our home. I still miss Cinna so much, and it's very hard seeing a cat that looks so much like him, but isn't him. I already love GImli's little quirks, he has a very different personality, I'm afraid that I'm going to forget Cinna and that it will be like he never died at all, like we are disrespecting his memory. At the same time, I really just want to give this sweet cat a loving home, I'm just still grieving and don't know how to help myself move on without feeling like I have abandoned or not appreciated this cat that I loved very much.
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Old 06-05-2014, 12:06 PM   #2
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sorry for your loss. It will get easier with time, it is very nice that you are giving a new home to the new cat, he will grow on you, he will certainly win your heart. Think about all the nice memories you have those wont go away.
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Old 06-05-2014, 12:25 PM   #3
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I am so sorry for your loss. Cinna wasn't just a cat, he was a family member. You have to allow yourself the time to grieve. That's different for everyone, and maybe you don't even know what that entails for you, but you need to figure it out and allow it to happen. Have you spoken with your husband about how you feel? Have you asked him how he feels? Maybe talking more openly about it will allow you to process the pain and begin to take steps to move forward.

Was Cinna cremated? Were you able to bury him anywhere? Maybe you can plant a tree in his memory, or some flowers to care for, that will allow you to spend time reflecting on him.

It was probably too soon to bring Gimli into your home, but he's there now and I am sure he will provide you with joy and love. You know he's not the same as Cinna. If you can afford it, it may be helpful for you to donate Cinna's old items to a shelter, and replace with new ones for Gimli.

Thinking of you and I'm so sorry again for your loss
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Old 06-05-2014, 01:09 PM   #4
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I'm so sorry for your loss of Cinna. But you have not betrayed him in any way. Nothing can ever replace him, and you're not trying to replace him. He will always have a singular place in your heart, you will never forget him! Every dog and cat I've ever loved and lost has their own, special, unique, permanent place in my heart.

Opening your heart to another kitty in need is such a kind, brave, beautiful, life-affirming thing to do. I swear, loving animals makes your heart grow BIGGER and BIGGER. It's their magic.

Hugs to you, Cinna was obviously SO LUCKY to be so loved by you! And Gimli is so lucky as well!
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Old 06-05-2014, 01:37 PM   #5
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Gimli is NOT replacing Cinna. Gimli is getting his own place in your heart, not overtaking Cinna's place.

We have had three collies. I will always love them each in a unique way, and no one new dog will ever replace one that has walked over that Rainbow Bridge. You don't have a finite amount of love to give, you have an unlimited supply!
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Old 06-05-2014, 02:11 PM   #6
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I'm so sorry for you loss, ClayGirl1518. May each day heal your grief a little more.

I actually think one of the greatest tributes we can give to our departed furry friends is to take in another critter who needs a home. But I understand that right now there are a lot of tough feelings involved in helping Gimli settle in.

I agree with nonameslob about having a little ritual for Cinna if you haven't already. Do you have a photo of him that you could display in your home to help remember him?
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Old 06-05-2014, 07:00 PM   #7
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We had Cinna cremated and I got a nice urn for him. He loved the garden I have planted out front and Im going to place him in the garden he loved. I think I will plant some catmint for him that I can take care of as well. I've tried talking with Franklin about Cinna, he seems better now and said he doesn't feel guilty about taking Gimli in. Franklin has always had trouble expressing emotions, and i know he suffered greatly finding cinna the way he did. I had never seen him cry before that day. I know he grieved while i was gone, and i think it might be that he can't revisit that pain. I feel less guilty than I did yesterday, but sometimes I look at Gimli and can't help but think of cinna and miss him terribly. I have some wonderful pictures of Cinna, I think I will get them framed and put them in the house to help me know he will never be forgotten, and he is still a part of our family even though he isn't with us anymore.

Thank you all so much for your support, it helps me to know that you understand, it's hard to explain to people who don't have pets (or like them) why it's so hard to lose one. Thank you for all your thoughts and support.
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Old 06-05-2014, 07:08 PM   #8
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I'm so, so sorry about your loss. I know what it's like to lose an irreplaceable friend. I think it's very honorable that you are giving Gimli a home.
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Old 06-05-2014, 07:26 PM   #9
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I'm so sorry for your loss, I know how hard it is to lose one that has been so much a part of your life. What has helped me is writing down all the special moments and quirks on a piece of notepaper; it reassures me that I won't forget all those unique things (as if one really could!). Maybe this would help you? The catmint and pictures are a wonderful idea.
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Old 06-05-2014, 11:14 PM   #10
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I have tears in my eyes just reading this thread. I am so sorry for everything you are going through. I am a cat fanatic and I know that the loss of a pet takes a long time to heal.

As others have said, Cinna was luckier than a lot of animals: he had kind people to love him and care for him.

I ache inside for homeless animals who don't have that. Giving Gimli a chance for a full life with a loving family will fill your heart in a new way while you can still hold on to the love you have for Cinna.

I am sending you hugs and wishing you comfort in your grief.
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Old 06-06-2014, 01:53 AM   #11
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In my life (I'm 60) I've had many cats and I still remember so clearly those that are gone. I can still get tears in my eyes remembering by Balinese cat that died in 2005. She was so special to me. And, yet, I acquired another Balinese only a month or so after her death, and he is now very special to me. But, they are different cats. Loving him doesn't take away from loving her.

It is perfectly natural to feel grief for the death of Cinna. You will never forget Cinna. But, you can also end up loving Gimli for Gimli's sake. There may be times that Gimli will cause you to remember something about Cinna, but that is also OK.
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Old 06-06-2014, 07:06 AM   #12
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I am so sorry for your loss. This year, I lost a hamster and it was the most wrenching pain emotionally. I empathize with you. What helped me was to know in my heart that I did the right things for her, I have her ashes now and that brings me a lot of comfort. About a week after Cashmere, my hamster died, I got another pet, Snickers, a male guinea pig. He is the apple of my eye and I love him to pieces. At first I kept thinking, 'Is this the right thing?' But I know it is.

Hugs to you, message me if you like.

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Old 06-06-2014, 08:12 PM   #13
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I'm so sorry for your loss. I think BettyBooty was right on the money when she said,

Quote:
Originally Posted by BettyBooty View Post
Gimli is NOT replacing Cinna. Gimli is getting his own place in your heart, not overtaking Cinna's place.
I've had 4 dogs in my life (3 have passed away), and each one has a special place in my heart. I've never forgotten or stopped loving any one of them. I don't believe that there's a finite pool of love in your heart, that in order to make place for something new you have to stop loving something that you used to love.

I think giving an animal a loving home is a beautiful thing to do. Kudos to you.
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Old 06-06-2014, 08:42 PM   #14
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I am very sorry for your loss. I think you did the best thing by adopting this new cat who needed a home. I am on my 5th dog since 1977. Sometimes we had 2 at a time. The best way to recouperate from the loss of a pet is to get another one. You never forget the other one who passed away, any more than you forget family members who pass away. All my dogs had different personalities. DH and I frequently reminisce about them and the different things they did. I mostly miss my little Shih Tzu, Mikey. He was the sweetest loving little dog. May they all rest in peace!
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Old 06-06-2014, 10:46 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Claygirl1518 View Post
We had Cinna cremated and I got a nice urn for him. He loved the garden I have planted out front and Im going to place him in the garden he loved. I think I will plant some catmint for him that I can take care of as well.
That's a very sweet idea.
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