I'm in my early 40's a single childless woman who spent her days and nights during the traditional "family rearing years" raising and caring for rescued animals while working and living an otherwise "typical" urban life. The one part of my life that was not typical, and usually not well understood by outsiders, was my decision to raise rescues over building a human family. It was a choice for me, a decision to in some small way do good. One downfall of that decision, fur-kids don't outlive you, empty-nester syndrome comes on far too early. I don't know how to live without my babies. they were my family.
Over the past 3 years I've had to say goodbye to 3 of 4 - my rescued at 11yrs old cat (passed to CKF at 18yrs old), my 19yr old senior cat who had been with me for nearly half my life (again CKF) and last month my rock, my soul dog, my sweet loving reason for being boy of 13yrs. I have one left, a rescued at 4 yrs old dog who is now 12.5 yrs with heart and lung disease...we are living day to day.
I truly believe raising animals is just as valid a form of motherhood and with as strong a bond as having human children. I'm very sorry for your great loss. xx