Pets give so much love and take so much from us when they die. They can be more than just part of the family: they can be a life-line; a constant, providing support; are there just when we need them. They don’t criticise or judge. They love us unconditionally.
My husband and I had two cats. I have to say had now, as Tabatha died on 14 May and weâ€™re in shock. I feel as though I’ve been hit by a juggernaut. I’m not physically injured but my heart has shattered into a thousand million pieces.Â We’ve been promised two weeks of sun in the UK but our world is covered by a dark cloud of sadness.
Our home is a black hole of grief. Her lifelong companion Tinkerbelle has been pining for three days, searching, whining and needing comfort herself. Her mothering instincts extended to Tabatha’s last morning when she tried to comfort her.
Now we are racked with guilt. Why didnâ€™t we see the signs? But how were we to know. She’d had two attempts at her tablet, as normal. She lay down on the kitchen floor, as normal. But that day was far from normal and stretched our emotions and resilience to the limit.
The journey to the vet was the most agonising time of my life; I prayed weâ€™d get there quickly, yet wanted to avoid every bump in the road that caused her to whimper-she was weak and I thought at one point weâ€™d lost her. When we arrived she was still alive, but there was nothing they could do and she died before we could make the decision to end her life.
As I write this through a heavy net of tears that increase every time I see her favourite spot, or remember how she’d pull on my trouser leg for a cuddle, I wonder if it will ever get easier. I feel so alone. Even my husband canâ€™t comprehend my sadness-he has his own to deal with. So who can you talk to at a time like this?
Searching the internet I found this website
Sometimes it helps to share your feelings with someone who knows from personal experience how distressing the loss of a pet can be, and who will listen with compassion and without judgement.
The Pet Bereavement Support Service (PBSS) is a telephone helpline and email service that offers such support to bereaved pet owners, through a national network of trained volunteer befrienders.
Telephone: 0800 096 6606 (seven days a week 8.30am-8.30pm)
Valerie was just the person I needed to speak to. Everyone at PBSS has been through pet bereavement so understands first-hand the trauma and distress owners go through. “Give yourself time.” she said. “Remember the amount of grief you have is measured by how much you loved her. And remember the gift Tabatha gave you by teaching you how to deal with other traumas in your life.”
And that’s comforting to know. There are countless organisations out there supporting those who’ve lost a child, partner or relative. But the grief that comes with losing a pet can be all-encompassing and just as hard to bear. PBSS supports bereaved owners by listening and being impartial. They know exactly what to say and can sense when you want to cry or laugh fondly about your pet.
It may take weeks, months, even years for us to stop grieving for Tabatha but not having her at all would have made our lives less rich.
Tabatha Cattermole 31 July 1994 – 14 May 2010Tags: cat death, pet bereavement