Jemma92

My pet rat passed away last month and it's hurting so bad not having him with me. I love all my rats but he was my heart rat and the first to pass.
He was sick for about a week before he passed with no improvement from his meds and left in my arms. It all felt a bit unreal, mainly due to the lack of sleep beforehand, but I've never cried so hard in my life. For the next few days I couldn't eat or smile and since then just I've just felt numb. I guess my mind just blocked him out, I didn't really think about him much or look at photos and I felt guilty for doing so, it just hurt too much.

A month later and it's like it has just hit me. I can't stop crying and I feel so much anxiety whenever I think about him. It's so hard not having him near. I always said I wanted him cremated so I could keep the ashes with me, but at the time I just couldn't do it. My mum put thoughts into my head of not getting him all back and that they just give you bits of any animal, even though it stated individual. Due to covid-19 I also wouldn't have been able to go with him, he would have been picked up and took on his own and I couldn't do that, he wouldn't have wanted that.
Instead, he is buried in the garden and I can't even go out to visit his grave. I feel so bad for leaving him there alone, but I just can't. I keep wanting to dig him back up just to see him and stroke him again. I keep imagining that he'll look the same still wrapped in his blanket, but I know this would not be the case and I'd regret it if I did. 

I also just can't seem to think of the happy times, I know there were many, but It's like they've been erased from my mind. All I see is the look on his face before he passed and how ill he was. I try to look at photos/videos and I break down.

Is this all normal?
I really wish I could be happy thinking about him. I think I'm still very attached to his physical body too. The thought of him buried is really getting to me. Deep down I do know it isn't actually him though.

Sorry if I'm rambling at all. I just don't know what else to do. I feel like absolute garbage :/

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Memories_of_Marmalade

Dear Jemma92,

Firstly I want to tell you how sorry I am to read of your loss. You can easily tell just how much you loved your pet rat in all of your words. It sounds like he was your "Spirit Animal." 

Yes, everything you are experiencing, all the feelings you have endured are completely natural. They are just a part of the grieving process.

It's fine that you are not ready to visit your beloved's grave yet. But eventually you will. Know that his resting place is Holy and sacred. As your love for your pet rat and his love for you was Holy and sacred. When you go to honor him perhaps you can lay down some flowers, or a flower, or something he would have enjoyed as a tribute to him. An offering of love if you will. Whether we bury our loved ones or have their ashes, either way is fitting and equally Holy and sacred.

I am glad that your beloved knew great love and care during his lifetime with one such as you.

My sincerest condolences and kindest regards,
James


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fvernon
I'm so sorry to hear about your precious little rat, they really are such gorgeous little creatures and it sounds like he was very loved indeed.  My cat was PTS last month (I couldn't be there due to Covid 19) but I am still feeling much the same as you and was an absolute state the first week and I still have days where I feel miserable.  I had him cremated (which I hated the thought of) and I have hidden his ashes away so I do totally understand how you feel.  Like you say, it isn't really him anymore.  Everything you're going through is normal, I also can't think about the happy memories as it just makes me feel really sad and miss him even more.  Take care of yourself and don't feel bad about not being able to visit his grave yet.

Take care,
Fliss
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Peach
Someone in my past had put that same idea in my head too, that if you get your pet cremated they don't really give you back the proper ashes. But despite that I went ahead with a private cremation for my furbabies. It felt like the right thing to do. And like you I also struggled with the thought of them being burned, it was a horrid mental picture but they aren't inside those bodies anymore so what is happening during a cremation or after a burial really doesn't matter. Reminding myself that did help. 

Grief doesn't follow any sort of system, the Kubler Ross model's five stages of grief was originally written for the dying, and not the survivors of loss even though it does fit us survivors. I've lost three furbabies in a 15 month time span, and each time my grief was very different. Like for example, when I lost my soulmate Beck, it hit me hard - like a giant wave came crashing down on me, then the storm settled. And with my little girl Sphinx, the pain seemed more tolerable but spread out over a larger amount of time (I'm still stuck in a storm of the five stages with her) It sounds dumb, but the best way I can describe the two is like peanut butter over a piece of toast... one was just a giant glob and the other was neatly spread out. 

I'm sorry for your loss of your rat. Be gentle with yourself, you will know in your heart when you are ready to visit his grave. 
 
“Until one has loved an animal, a part of ones soul remains unawakened” ~ Anatole France
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Memories_of_Marmalade

I did some research on this topic.

When mass cremation occurs they lay the animals together on a tray bed and slide it in. When individual cremation occurs, all they do is place a tray divider between the animals and each section is numbered and it is slid in. And then the individual ashes gathered accordingly.  It is not complicated for the facility, and is actually very easy and they make a considerable profit from providing that service. So there is no real need to fake it. And some pet parents insist on being present during the cremation process to witness it. So it would be considered risky in some ways to deceive grieving pet parents. I personally found my crematorium staff very compassionate, sensitive and understanding. And their cemetary is beautiful. Although I choose to keep my beloved's ashes with me at home.

Just giving you some input based upon what I have learned.

Cremation goes back tens of thousands of years. It is sacred and holy as is burial. No matter what method you choose, it is good to honor those who have departed that we love, through the ancient ways.

Kind regards,
James
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Monroegirl
I'm very sorry for the loss of your beloved rat. (((Hugs)))
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Peach

I did some research on this topic.

When mass cremation occurs they lay the animals together on a tray bed and slide it in. When individual cremation occurs, all they do is place a tray divider between the animals and each section is numbered and it is slid in. And then the individual ashes gathered accordingly.  It is not complicated for the facility, and is actually very easy and they make a considerable profit from providint that service. So there is no real need to fake it. And some pet parents insist on being present during the cremation process to witness it. So it would be considered risky in some ways to deceive grieving pet parents. I personally found my crematorium staff very compassionate, sensitive and understanding. And their cemetary is beautiful. Although I choose to keep my beloved's ashes with me.

Just giving you some input based upon what I have learned.

Cremation goes back tens of thousands of years. It is sacred and holy as is burial. No matter what method you choose, it is good to honor those who have departed that we love.

Kind regards,
James

Thank you for posting this. I'm very glad to understand the procedure a little better.
One thing that made me feel better too is when I had Beck cremated, he came with a metal tag that I can only assume was attached to his body to make sure there is no room for error. It was a different company that cremated my ladies, Cleo and Sphinx. Even their ashes had a different consistency, and there was no tags. The company used depends on which vet I go to, but I know now that going forward I will try and get any cremations done through that first company.
“Until one has loved an animal, a part of ones soul remains unawakened” ~ Anatole France
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Memories_of_Marmalade
It depends on the equipment used. There have been major developments over the years evidently. The amount of heat generated etc. So that may explain the different consistency.

James
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