pannklaus
I have written about Lenny in messages to  others but haven't posted his story since it is so much like what others are going through.  Also  I was on a path of gradually improving and thought I was moving along through the grief journey.  But after four months I have hit a bump in that road.  The permanence of the loss has now started a new round of grieving.  

After Lenny first died, I was relieved that he was no longer suffering.  He had been through so many illnesses and there had been several times when it looked like we were at the end.  He would stop eating, lose weight and become inactive.  But just about the time that I would  expect to be making a final trip to the vet, he would start eating again, gain weight and go back to being his old self.  This last time though it was pretty clear to me that he was in the dying process.  He had never before withdrawn to a private area, just wanted to lay down all the time and didn't respond to anyone who wanted to pet him or give him attention.  We had hoped he would make it to  his sixteenth birthday but he died a few weeks before that.

Now we are without a cat in our lives and I don't want to get another cat.  A kitten would be too demanding for us to handle and I like an older cat who is not too active and fits into the lifestyle of older people.  But an older cat comes with frequent illnesses, trips to the  vet and eventually having to make the same decision we had to make for Lenny and other older cats.  I want another Lenny but there isn't another one.  As I have written to others, pets are not replaceable.  You can start with a new pet and learn to love that one but it will not be like the one you lost.

So now I am going through a secondary round of grieving which, in many ways is more difficult than the first time.  I expected the grief immediately after his death.  I didn't expect to start the process over again now.  I now understand people who write in the forum for the first time many months or years after the death occurs.  Grief is a difficult process and doesn't just go in a straight line, although I wish it would.
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https://www.rainbowsbridge.com/residents/LENNY011/Resident.htm
Patsy
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Living_with_tragedy
Hi Patsy,

I wonder what could have stirred up emotions to make you feel sad again.  Does the nice weather stir up memories?  I'm sorry you are again going through emotions of loss. It seems when we feel we are going to be okay, then it hits us again, and like a new loss.  

Patsy, you have provided positive insight to so many people. I want to let you know I am thinking about you and I hope the emotional pain eases up and you can return to moving through your grief journey with a positive outcome. I may not be the right person to give advice since I have become experienced at grieving daily for almost 6 months, but I can offer thoughts of comfort.  I feel you will have much better days going forward.  You are a pillar of strength for many people on this forum.

Wishing you all the best,

~Parker's Mom (Tina)






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pannklaus
Hi Tina,

Thank you for your kind words.  This new round of grief started when I began to think about getting another cat and realized that the only cat I want is Lenny.   He fit so well into our household and was such a central part of our daily routines.  No other cat would be like him, which I already knew.  But knowing that I can't have any of that back has started a new round of grief.   

When we lost other cats, we would usually get a new cat after awhile.  Now it is clear that Lenny was our last cat and I want him back--which is of course impossible. So now it is a  combination of missing him and missing everything I had with him--having him in my lap while I watched TV, having him jump in bed with us and all the rest.  So I will go down the same grief road again which is discouraging but that is the way it is.
Patsy
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Memories_of_Marmalade

Dear Patsy,

I am sorry you are still grieving. I have read many of your kind, compassionate, understanding and supporting messages you have posted here on this message board to others, and you can see what a loving, sweet, caring & warm individual you are. Thank you for all you do here to help others who are in grief.

I totally relate to your feelings across the board. Sadly I too will not have another cat in my lifetime. I am 57 years old. A male. As it was I did not have anyone who would (without a doubt) have adopted my Marmalade, if something had happened to me. This was a deep concern for me. Would he have ended up in a shelter? If I died?

If I adopted another cat now or in the near future, he could outlive me, or he could become ill and I might have to make another call to put another cat down. : ( Then I would be forced to endure another period of grief, regret, guilt and remorse, and I am not even sure I am going to survive what I am experiencing currently with the loss of Marmalade. I do not think my heart & mind and body could take another round of these emotions.

It had been 20 years without my having a cat (due to my ex and I having to put down our beloved Dusty Cat and the grief thereafter) until Marmalade and my paths crossed when they did 4.2 years ago. I don't regret it, I thank God our paths crossed. I saved Marmalade and he saved me. But I can not and will not open my heart to another pet. Not in this lifetime. I don't think I would survive it. Sorry to say. It is a tremendous loss of company. I just can't go through this again.

Kind regards,
James
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dmenesq
Dear Patsy,

Your message really struck a cord with me as I have been having many of the same thoughts.  I have had quite a few cats in my adult life and generally, when one would pass away, I would get another.  Actually, for the past 15 years or so I have had always had at least two cats at a time and have added a new one before one of the older ones passed on, which I think helped soften the blow when it occurred.  Most recently, I have had six cats and when one of them died a couple of years ago, her loss was almost immediately followed by my inheriting a cat when my daughter's friend passed unexpectedly.  Intellectually, I knew I had a house of aging animals and I thought that I was prepared to gradually lose them over the years.  I even thought to myself that the youngest (the one I "inherited") would be the one that would follow me into my retirement in a few years.  However, I unexpectedly lost my "favorite" cat a few months ago  (I say favorite and feel guilty as I say it) under circumstances that I will not go into except to say that his loss has really thrown me for a loop.  I grieve his loss every day.  Although my oldest cat died a couple of weeks later, I accepted that loss more in the way I have accepted them in the past.  Now I find myself realizing that, due to my age, a kitten might not be the best choice for me -- even if I could adopt another cat right now, which, due to some personal reasons, I am not able to do right now.  My other cats do not fill the void that the loss of my boy has created because I am keenly aware that they are not him.  As a result, I have realized that this time is different and that, even a new cat may not fill the void, but may only serve to accentuate it.  I have thought about volunteering in the future with a rescue organization or no-kill shelter to see if I would fall in love with an adult cat there, whose personality would mesh with mine, but I am reluctant to adopt a senior lest I be faced with health issues and loss too soon.  I am now mourning not only the loss of my boy, but the possibility that my current cats will be my last cats and that this void will not ever be filled.  Time is not on my side in reaching a different conclusion.  These thoughts compound my grief.
Dee
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pannklaus
To James and Dee,

Thank you both for your kind messages.  Age is definitely a factor in my decision not to get another cat since we are both in our late 70's.  We have children who would take a cat.  But they have very active, lively households and a cat used to a quiet household might not adjust well to that situation. Mostly, though, it comes down to the fact that I would want an older cat.  And with an older cat comes the medical problems, vet visits and having to again make the decision to let another cat go.  Knowing that Lenny was our last cat makes the loss harder now that it is clear to me that it isn't practical to get another cat.  And another cat would not be Lenny.  This didn't matter so much when I was younger but it does now.  Going through this decision process has started another grieving cycle.   Life gets very different when you are older.
Patsy
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