One of our cats died this week. She was old. I wish I felt sadder then I do because, well, I didn’t really like her that much. She wasn’t very friendly, spent most of her time hiding under our bed and when she did venture forth, it was to pee on the floor and not in the litter box. Needless to say, I am enjoying not having to clean up after a cat that wasn’t much of a pet.
My son, however, is quite sad. Sally, was a very beautiful cat. She looked like a Russian Blue/Dilute Torti mix. She was seriously a beautiful cat. Too bad she rarely let anyone pet her. That is, up until the end. As she neared the end of her life she started to come out more and she even allowed my son to pet her and give her love. He was thrilled!!!
And then she died. And he cried. Which brings me to today’s topic of grief. Grief follows very similar processes regardless of who died. It is the same for a cat or for a human. The only difference is intensity.
So, to help our son, we obviously did not tell him he is going to see Sally again. The urge to ease his pain is strong but we resisted as we felt that would do more harm then good. We also refused to replace her with another pet as that would be cheating. She can’t be replaced and the sooner he came to terms with the reality of her death, the sooner he would be forced to experience his grief and eventually come to terms with it.
Like pretty much everyone who has lost a loved one, he at first tried to deny our cat’s death by hoping she would resurrect and then when that wasn’t an option, he hoped she could re-incarnate. He cried a lot and was sad. We told him he would never forget her and that it was ok to be sad and to cry. And now, three days later, he mentions that he misses her in passing but he has basically gotten on with the business of living his life. He didn’t even cry himself to sleep tonight, as he preferred to discuss our plans for the weekend.
And that is grief in a nutshell. Deny it, come to terms with it, feel bad about it and then get on with your life never forgetting the one you loved and lost.