StephanieW
Yesterday without much preparation, I had to put my cat Frinks to sleep.
 
I realise grieving takes time and I haven't properly processed this trauma but the devastation I feel is so incredibly painful. I know it hasn't even been twenty four hours yet but the effect of this loss tremors in me like I'm going to fall apart. I should note that I've never experienced loss or observed death. I would really like some advice, you can skip to the bottom paragraph for my problem, thank you.
 
We adopted Frinks when I was thirteen years old. He was a very shy kitten and would hardly play at first (a bit of a runt) but in time would become our very squishy indoor cat. Our relationship bloomed, having difficulty staying close to friends and going through puberty was challenging but he made it easier. Every teenage-girl drama I was going through, he'd bunt away the tears on my face. Once when locked out of my house, he cried endlessly at the door for me until my Dad arrived home to let me in. He was my world, my everything. Frinks was an exceptionally calm cat and incredibly trusting of me. If I were near him, he didn't fear water, loud noises or strangers typically. We were dependant on each other in a lot of ways. After all, we grew up together.
 
Frinks condition had worsened immensely since Sunday when he had thrown up. Throwing up was something that happened sometimes because of his medication and although unpleasant, wasn't constant. The medication was expected to lengthen his life but Sunday was different than a normal side effect. Since then he could not eat or drink, only sleep. For two days. Having hyperthyroid and asthma had effect on his body for all his life but this year was especially bad. His fur was matted, his body was feverish and all bone. He seemed so tired, on a rare occasion and out of habit he'd walk to his dish but he was never interested and would go back to bed. We took him to the vet on Tuesday after trying everything we could. He would usually bounce back by now. We waited for an analysis. The test came back that it was likely something more severe and to identify or treat it would require him to be nourished again. Unfortunately that meant him staying there over night (maybe longer) to force his feedings, water in take and place a catheter in him. The vet made it clear that this might not work to restore him and to further the tests, we'd have to be careful because of his age. The other option was to let him rest and put him to sleep. "If this was his last bit of life," I said to myself, "do I want to put him through that with no results? If he does gain one more month with me, will he be suffering during that time? Are these the memories I want us to have of each other during the end?". Ultimately, after hours of discussing it, me and mom agreed he needed peace and it should be soon. As selfishly as I wanted him one more day.
 
We went into the room, without a carrier. I could tell he was scared as he buried his face into my neck. We brought his bed and a blanket he liked and placed it on the table where we began to say our goodbyes. He was weak but knew we were there. They took him away for an instant to ready where they would inject him. Once back, the vet waited for us to be ready, advising us that she would only do it when we said. I would of never been ready... we sort of curled around him while he lay on his bed. I wanted to pick him up so badly but I didn't know if it would make him uncomfortable (these past few days he really seemed to like his bed). She injected him and for a moment I knew he could feel it. He raised his head slightly before slowly becoming limp. I cannot unsee this. Over and over AND over. I have no peace. He felt it. His eyes glazed as I stroked him. His body and muscles limp and warm but still radiating life that lived there. It's all I see. I watch a movie and I think of him reacting to the injection. I take a shower and I think of him lifeless. I try to sleep and I remember how he hid into my neck, trusting but fearful. We went to the vet three times that day, the last time to say goodbye. I'm haunted. I can't rest, I feel nauseous, I can't catch my breathe even when I'm not crying, my throat closes when there's food in my mouth. I can't let it go. I'm trying so hard to remember things that aren't dark and sad but I'm stuck. I have so many regrets like I should of talked to him more, held him more closely to feel my warmth. Should I have got someone to come to our house to do this? I'm broken. Even happy things, his death and the details spill over and dominate. I want to know if you kept replaying it in your head and how did you manage to cope? I fixate on his wet eyes and posture. Him going away from me and me being so distraught I can't even remember if I spoke to him. It's killing me. It was the hardest thing I'd ever have to do or see, I have no regrets making sure I was there but how do I live with it? Will it be like this always? Help?
sw
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Memories_of_Marmalade

Dear Stephanie,

I am very sorrow filled reading your heartfelt post about the loss of your beloved Frinks. Please know that you are not alone and that many of us here on the Rainbow Bridge forum understand exactly what you are feeling and going through, and that we are with you in comradeship and spirit.

When you chose to show your beloved mercy, you agreed to end his pain & suffering and absorb it onto yourself. Now that energy needs to be defused. And the only way that can occur is for you to go through the grieving process. The seemingly endless 2nd guessing, the feeling of needing to pay penance by self-punishing yourself, the guilt, the regret, the remorse, the sadness, the sorrow and deep depression and the frustration, are ALL part of the grieving process. There appears to be no way around it. It is built into each of us. As humans it is our way to process grief. The passage of time is unfortunately a key component.

We must, each of us, continue to just travel through time and allow our built-in healing mechanism (which is each of our birthright) to work. And it will. "This too shall pass." This is evidenced by all of the posts from our veteran members here on the grief forum, who went through the same exact things that we are currently experiencing and made it through to the other side.

I am 5 months 1 week into my grieving process for the loss of my dear boy, my cat Marmalade. Like you I felt I had to make that choice to let him go and put him to sleep. He was my only true friend and remaining family. He was my brother, my son, my comrade in arms, my love and the light in my life. But I could simply no longer allow him to experience pain & suffering. I owned him that much. I owed him a dignified, peaceful passing. I knew it would destroy me, but I had to think about his needs, not my own, the way that you had to put Frinks needs over your own in the end. 

Eventually the fond, joy-filled and cherished memories that you have of your boy will resurface and be more prominent than your memories of his last moments. This occurring, as impossible as it may seem now, as evidenced / supported by posts here on the grief forum from our veteran members WILL occur.  It WILL happen for you, as it will happen for me, as it has for many of the others who came before us here to share their stories.

My kindest regards & sincerest condolences,
James
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Lu
I'm so sorry to hear about Frinks. I lost my dog about three weeks ago and it is so very hard. I was also obsessing and could not get the last images of my pup out of my head. Hang in there, it will get better. Although it has only been a few weeks, the painful images are fading into the background a bit and growing fuzzier. It has been a bit easier to focus on happier memories. Until I was able to to that, it REALLY helped to look at photos of her, luckily I have a lot. It helped to overshadow the bad images. The first few days it hurt a lot to look at photos and I would just cry. I still do but I am able to hold it together much better. I put together a photo book online. I'm also going to make a collage or shadow box with photos, her pet tag, etc. I didn't think these little rituals would help, but they do. I put her photo by my bed and on the vanity mirror to look at while I get ready in the morning. It will be hard. There are moments when I am distracted and I feel like I am fine. Then it hits me and I start crying and just want her back and nothing else will do. Hang in there, it will get better. Anyway, the main reason for my reply is to tell you that I didn't think I would ever get those sad images out of my head and it has been better. We will never forget entirely, but like I said they will fade and appear in our heads less and less often as time goes by.  Again, I am so sorry about Frinks. You did the right thing, it is just a very hard thing to do! Wishing you some peace during this difficult time in your life. 
lea
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StephanieW

James,

I'm unable to express how much your words mean to me. I was moved and comforted by them and I wish I wasn't so fragile right now so I could properly thank you. It's been a really hard day as it's still so fresh but you've made it a bit easier with your message to me. My heart is full knowing I'm not alone and your reassurance is what I needed. I believe you when you say happy memories will come again. Thank you for sharing your story with me and taking the time to write me this. Marmalade was so lucky to have someone as caring and thoughtful as you.

In time, I hope when I think of Frinks, I'll think of all the good instead of just the bad. 

Thank you again so much. 

sw
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StephanieW

Lea,

Thank you for sharing your pain with me and allowing me the opportunity to learn and relate. I'm sorry that we have to endure this together but I'm happy that we aren't alone. It's very hard by yourself. I can't begin to tell you how much I appreciate your advice and perspective. I've never grieved before and hearing your process makes me believe I can get through this by embracing it. The photo suggestion is a wonderful idea and something I think I'll be able to manage in another day or two maybe. Thank you so much for your kindness, it's treasured.

sw
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Lu
Aww, you are so welcome. You are definitely not alone. Hugs to you. 
lea
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Memories_of_Marmalade


Dear Stephanie, 

Thank you for your comment. You are more than welcome. And on the contrary, your thank you note was quite eloquent and heartfelt. Welcome again to the forum, despite the unfortunate circumstances. I have found it cathartic to try and help others here as I can, through their sadness and grief. It seems to give more meaning to my own loss. I do so in memory of my wonderful cat Marmalade. Who saved me countless times.

All best,
James
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