Our Meow was 1 month shy of turning 18 when we put her to sleep on 8/28/19. I called her my daughter’s twin. They both grew up together, my daughter being 1 month older.
We knew the kidney failure had reached unforgiving limits and my daughter finally agreed to saying goodbye.
Words cannot explain how painful that day was. The headaches, the stomach aches, the sleepless nights, the anxiety some of us went through after her passing.
My husband and I felt we lost a child, my daughter felt she lost her best friend, and our other 4 kids felt they lost their sister. Some of the kids took it harder then others and the youngest one (5) still asks when we’re bringing her back from the vet.
We had Meow cremated and we have her placed on a shelf with her picture, a candle and flowers. Our grief got better once we had her ashes back, but now with Christmas coming I’ve fallen back into despair. I cry at random. I find my son (12) crying at times also.
My eldest, 20, lives down the hall (literally) and adopted a kitten about 2 months ago. We babysit while she’s at work. It’s bought some form of healing but sometimes I cry while I hold him, wishing so much I still had Meow to cuddle.
Christmas was her favorite time of year. She’d watch as we put together our tree and then wait patiently to take down some of the freshly placed ornaments. She loved sleeping on the gifts and chewed on the bristles (fake tree luckily). Her favorite place to sleep was on the couch directly across from the twinkling Christmas tree lights. She had her reserved spot with her favorite blankie. If any of the younger kids took her spot, she’d give them the evil eye and meow at them until they moved out of her spot. Now that I remember all these things, I smile through year filled eyes, and realize she was quite spoiled.
Our house feels empty. Part of our family is missing. My husband is not ready to adopt another fur baby. He’s voiced it a few times that he wishes to never go through that heartbreak again. But I reply, “we were so lucky to have her share her life with us and us with her. Think of all those innocent lives wishing for a family like ours and the opportunity to be loved. And if they’re adopted from a shelter, they’ll love you twice as hard.” This seems to have tugged on his heart strings a bit.
My concern for now is what do I do or how do I go about openly discussing our feelings about Meow with the kids? (My girls are 20,18 & 5, my boys are 12 & 9) Will I unintentionally bring them sorrow? Will I open up a wound that has already begun to heal? How do I explain her not coming back or what her ashes are?
We planned ahead that we would make a temporary shelf for Meow’s ashes across from the Christmas tree so she can enjoy the twinkling lights even in eternal sleep. And the poster I had printed of her will also be moved there. That poster was another difficult story full of tears, buggers & all! That was a tough one but I got it done.
Thank you to anyone that has made it all the way through my tears and words, even if only a few lines. Any support is more than greatly appreciated. Be well. Sending warm hugs and light.
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@ Shirley, my deepest condolences for the loss of Meow. Loving her as a child is certainly a feeling I can relate to. Discussing feelings with the kids my suggestion would be to address them in age groups at first. 20 and 18 together, 12 and 9 together and then your 5 year old. Bcs of the different ages I think each group will have a different level of understanding of death and of their own emotions. Not to mention the discussion with your husband should def be one on one. Eventually a whole family discussion can be arranged as part of the healing. Taking into consideration of course that grief manifests differently in each person and the healing stages themselves vary as well.

On a slightly diff note; the collage of Meow is absolutely beautiful. All the different scenes show how loved she truly was. You gave her a good life. Sending warm hugs your way.
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Time is all I can tell you. Please remember that time will not erase them, time will heal most of the pain. It’s been a year and a half since Angel succumbed to age/Cancer... but even still when I think of her I feel some pain, even though most of my memories and thoughts are good ones.... but the sadness is still there.

It just takes time.
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@Gingers_Mommy thank you so much for your thoughtful words. And thank you for the idea 💡 on splitting the kids up into age appropriate groups. Meow had so many siblings that loves her. We were all fortunate to share her life. 💗
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@AngelsGift my condolences on the loss of your Angel. I hang on tight to the hope that time will heal this heartache. And as a mom I pray even harder for the kids. Seeing them cry makes the hurt so much more painful. I thank you for your kind words. I appreciate your thoughts. 🌟
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Your description  of everything that your family has gone through after the sad loss of  your precious Meow is a very clear description of what it is like to lose a beloved family pet. I have been in this forum since I lost my sweet baby Lenny cat (age 16) in February.  I have read many, many posts and responded to some of them.  The suffering, grieving, emptiness and feelings of loss that exist in this group are overwhelming sometimes.   Everyone  who comes here loved deeply and when we love deeply we grief deeply when the inevitable end comes.

Your situation is more complex since you are dealing with multiple family members.  But you are all in it together which is positive. So many families and relationships are destroyed by grief when one (or more) members seem to discount and minimize the feelings of others.

You also bring up two other major issues which people struggle with--the holidays and when to get another pet.  When you feel able to you can read through some of the posts and get a sense of the struggles of others and decisions different people make around these issues.

There are no simple, absolute answers.  You know your family the best and will make whatever decisions seem to work best for them.  I can tell you that there is tremendous support in this group and you count on people here to understand your feelings and be with you in your grief.

I had to let my precious Lenny go in February of this year.  I went through deep grief, it improved, then it started to cycle back again and that process has continued.  Right now I am very aware that Lenny was still with us last Christmas and he won't be here this Christmas. That has stirred up a lot of feelings and longings for me.  I have debated the issue of whether to get another cat.  I have always had one.  But my husband and I are elderly now and I don't want to get a cat who might  live longer than we do--which would probably be a kitten.  But I also don't want to get an older cat who may start having health problems and then we would have to go through the problems and eventual loss again.  So for now I long for a cat who would jump into bed with me, knock off the ornaments on the Christmas tree and play with  them and all the other things that cats do.  And that is just where I am at this time.  There will always be a special place in my heart for Lenny.  He is "with me" in the cedar box by the window with the plant next to it in the room where he spent much of his time.  I feel his presence but it is nothing like having the alive Lenny.

I cannot give good answers for questions you have raised. I hope though that you will stay in this group with us as we all continue to go through this grief journey together.

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