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Chandlers_Dad

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Reply with quote  #1 

Good afternoon, everyone,

I am forever thankful that I happened to find this forum, and have spent hours reading the many posts and the compassionate replies, and absorbing the love you all obviously feel for your loved ones. Of all the many feelings I've experienced over the last week, there's not one of them I haven't found in at least one (and usually many more) of your posts and replies. But two things really stand out about what I've read: 1) Pet Grief is absolutely normal, individualized per person, and not a source of shame; and 2) The road ahead could be long, indeed.

Although I can write about him pretty well, I still can't even speak when someone asks me about Chandler just yet. My voice cracks and my eyes well with tears. On June 26, I had to say goodbye to quite possibly the best buddy I've ever had in my life, my 12-year-old orange tabby. More of a dog in a cat's body, Chandler was intelligent, playful, spirited, unbelievably affectionate and quite the nurturer. When he was only a couple of weeks old, he ventured from his mother's guard (I still have his mother, as well as a sister born 10 minutes before he was), found his way to my comforter, climbed up it, and nestled under my chin. This was the loving locale he preferred for the next 12 years. He was by my side nonstop after I was diagnosed with MS and began having mobility issues, he sat by me any (every) time I watched television, he waited for me if I left the room for any reason, and generally was my better half.

A very big boy, Chandler topped out at 25 solid pounds. But in June, I noticed he was getting thinner -- except his stomach, which seemed larger and harder. Hospitalization revealed liver cancer. Two liters (yes, liters) of fluid were drained from him, my big boy now down to only 8 pounds. The vet gave me medicine for him to make him comfortable for whatever time he had left. He perked up the very next day. The vet was quite pleased at his checkup a few days later, so I desperately hoped this meant he'd be with me for a little while yet.

Over the next 2 weeks, Chandler became more increasingly listless. He ate and drank less, and eventually not at all. No meowing, no purring, and what hurt the most is that he didn't even want to be under my chin anymore. On the morning of June 26, Chandler could no longer stand. He cried for me to hold him, so I put him on my chest and we nuzzled one another. I couldn't get him in to the vet until late that afternoon, so I held him for hours.

About an hour before the appointment, Chandler turned his face to me. He stared at me for what seemed like forever, and finally gave me a series of "kitty kisses" before we rubbed our faces together. He then lost responsiveness, went somewhat limp, and just stared at the floor. I like to think that he had been telling me good bye, and that he loved me, before he sort of "checked out". He still wasn't really conscious when I took him to the vet to help him over the rainbow bridge, but I'm not sure if that's better or worse. He felt no pain or fear, that's for sure, but his suffering had so quickly gotten to this that I felt guilty. I held him, kissed him, and cried quietly while he slipped away.

Today, only 10 days later, I'm still in a fog. My heart hurts in unimaginable ways. I've lost my parents and a brother, and have a sister dying of ALS as I write this, but for some reason this grief is on its own plane. It's crushing, it's agonizing, and it's unrelenting - at least right now. I don't know how to move on, but I see the possibilities now after reading this forum. I just need to let myself grieve, and let myself take all the time I need to do it.

Thanks again, everyone. I appreciate all of you so much.

Bruce

Chandler 1.JPG  Chandler 2.JPG  Chandler 3.JPG 


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lettersatlarge

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Reply with quote  #2 

What a precious kitty, your Chandler. I got misty eyed at the part you wrote about him giving you kisses before checking out. I believe he knew his time was nearing and he asked for you to hold him, and he enjoyed his favorite spot with his favorite person in his last fully conscious moments. It reminded me of the last few walks I had with my Dante. He was a very affectionate pup his whole life but he wasn't partial to licking my face or anyone's face for that matter. One of those last walks, which is still my favorite to this date, I was carrying him back home (at this point he was okay to walk halfway, and would get tired for the walk back), and the sun was setting, it was beautiful and the sky was turning orange and pink, and he rested his little head on my shoulder, and then turned to lick my face. We sat on our porch, he in my lap. It was unusual that he wouldn't run straight back inside for his after-walk treat, but I soaked it in. He was calm, and looked out and seemed to take it all in. He left us a few days later. Now, my vet said he was looking better, and for all intents and purposes, he looked to be perking back up, but my gut told me I wouldn't have long with my friend, and looking back on that walk, I feel like he knew as well, and spent those moments enjoying each other's company and the world around us.

How sweet that you could be there for each other, that he saw you as a source of comfort and knew he'd be safe with you as he began crossing over. I believe you were very important to him because most cats I've had that passed away due to illness or injury would instinctively hide away from us. Instead, he leaned on you.

 

It sounds like you were very good to Chandler, and he lived a life of love and comfort, and that you two were meant to be. I'm sorry for your loss. It hurts differently because its different from friends and family, who you don't necessarily choose, and you grow to love through routine and familiarity and inevitable closeness, we choose our pets, or they choose us, and you're together because you bond and you actively want to be together. I wish you the best during your grieving process.

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Chandlers_Dad

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Reply with quote  #3 

Thank you so much for that beautiful reply. Please accept my sympathies over the loss of Dante. It seems like we both were able to share a meaningful farewell with our babies -- a realization of what was to come, and an unspoken permission that "it's okay." I think Chandler and Dante were both, in their own ways, trying to comfort us as we had tried to do with them. Pets are more insightful and complex than some people think, and I fully believe they have the ability to think way beyond just "food/scratch/pee/sleep." They care for us for more than that, don't you think?

I am thankful this forum is here. Thanks again for your support, and I hope to be in touch again in the future. Please feel free to contact me anytime.

Bruce

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miztina249

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Reply with quote  #4 
Oh Bruce I am so very sorry for the loss of Chandler, what a touching, lovely and sad story. It takes nothing to make me weep these days, Your experience with this grief being on its own plane is similar to how I feel. I'd not admit it to many people but I am grieving harder for my beloved Polo than I did when my father and brother died. Polo was like my child, part of every day of my life for 13 years. He depended on me completely and gave love unconditionally and unselfishly. Don't get me wrong I loved my father and brother dearly, but our relationships were complicated. It is what it is, I make no apologies for grieving such a special little being with the heart of a giant.

You'll find there are many compassionate people on this board who relate, it is a great source of support and a great outlet for your grief.
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Chandlers_Dad

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Reply with quote  #5 
Miztina,

Thank you so much for your reply, and please accept my sympathies for you loss of Polo. I understand about the unconditional love. I think that's what I miss so much. When Chandler was under my chin, on my chest, or next to my head on the pillow, he was loving on me... not just wanting petted. His mother and sister are very sweet, but it's more on their terms!

I am also sorry about your father and brother, but I do believe I understand. Again, it's on a completely different plane.

If you ever want to share about Polo, don't hesitate to reach out to me anytime.

Bruce
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Chandlers_Dad

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Reply with quote  #6 
I am trying so hard to be strong. I can't express how much I miss my baby boy. Not that anyone knows, but I cry every night. Sometimes I close my office door at work and cry. I have Chandler's mother and sister, and I truly love them. They have been loving and affectionate, but they want me to love on them. Chandler, on the other hand, always seemed to want not only for me to love on him, but he wanted to love on me, as well. I think of him constantly and try to think of anything at all to give me comfort.

At the very least, I don't feel guilty about letting him go. I also don't worry that he left this world not knowing how much I loved and adored him. He was spoiled -- I admit that proudly. What's left is an excruciating emptiness and the painful amount of missing him. And I never even cared much about cats until his mother adopted me (Yes, you read that correctly).

I know you have been through this, or you wouldn't be here. Whatever your story, I would love to hear it. It's sad, but knowing others feel the same way gives me comfort. Let's be there for each other.

God Bless,
Bruce

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Kaddagh

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Reply with quote  #7 
Bruce I am so sorry for the loss of your sweet boy Chandler u can see in the photos the love you had for each other after having to make the decision 3 days ago for my lil old buddy Kaddagh I find myself racked with guilt searching the internet for answers and like you, I found this forum and find hope and peace in everyone's comments and stories knowing I'm not alone is helping, I'm looking forward to reading more beautiful legacy's left behind by out furry angels thank you for sharing your story of Chandler 🐈
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Chandlers_Dad

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Reply with quote  #8 
I am so sorry for your loss of Kaddagh, and my heart goes out to you. You are definitely not alone. I have been comforted in knowing my love for Chandler isn't so unusual. It is only 12 days since he died, and yet I feel like it was tonight. Many legacies here, and I am thrilled so many people love their babies like we have. Wish I could comfort you more, but please rely on this forum. You will realize that many others share what you are feeling. Take care and God bless.
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Chandlers_Dad

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Reply with quote  #9 
Funny how I could have a couple of decent days -- able to breathe deeply and think I will be fine -- and then have a day where I feel kicked in the stomach by a mule all over again. Anyone else have this?
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Chandlers_Dad

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Reply with quote  #10 
I miss you so much, Chandler...
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Ozziemom

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Reply with quote  #11 
Bruce so sorry for your loss of Chandler please accept my condolences I have many ups and downs almost daily grief creeps it's way in there when you don't expect it. 1 step forward 2 steps back or vise versa. On Friday it was 1 month losing Ozzie and I have been quite upset for 3 days like it was the first day all over again lots of liquid love flowing. I had Ozzie for 14 years a lot of memories there but still my mind is clouded with grief. I know it will take time but this feeling is awful....we just have to push through it day by day....hugs to you we are all in this together I am so thankful for this forum I don't feel so alone in my feelings

Sincerely Amy
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Marie123

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Reply with quote  #12 
Your Chandler is absolutely beautiful! I'm so sorry for your loss. I've been without my Raven for 3 months now. I had a similar experience with her before I helped her on her journey to Rainbow Bridge. I think they know, I really do. You are in all of our prayers. Thank God we've all got this site. It just helps to know you're not alone in this
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Marie123

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Reply with quote  #13 
Yes! I've had the same thing. I'll have a couple ok days (That's about as good as it gets anymore) and then BOOM it hits me again! Perfectly normal although it feels like you've had a piano dropped on you
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Sunshineambi

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Reply with quote  #14 
So sorry for your loss of Chandler, such a beautiful boy. I lost my kitty on the 24th June and feel similar, there's times when I feel okay now, but also times when it hits me so hard. I never thought losing a pet would hit me so hard, but they become so integrated in our lives. I was driving home from work a few days ago and felt this excited feeling, I realised the excited feeling is something I used to get on my way home because I was looking forward to being greeted at the door by her. So now that excitement is misplaced as she doesn't greet me anymore. That's hard to deal with, i know she's gone, but part of me still hasn't fully processed it.
Sending you thoughts of strength.
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Marie123

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Reply with quote  #15 
Same here. I still catch myself worrying about Raven like I did when I had to leave her when she got bad. Then I remember and it hits me again. I'm getting to where I hate leaving my other pets for any reason and worrying about them now too. I wonder if its just paranoia or my nerves?
Blessings to you all
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