Earlier this year, we had to say goodbye to our old buddy. He was 19 when he died, which is quite an accomplishment for a cat with several serious conditions.
Losing him was very difficult because he was a part of our lives for so long.
When I got an SMS from the vet, that Oscar’s urn was ready to be picked up, I read the beginning of the message in the notifications before swiping it right back up where it came from and put my phone down.
I couldn’t decide if I wanted to rush out and go pick it up right away or just ignore it altogether. Oscar’s absence was still so palpable around the house that I didn’t want to admit that he wasn’t coming back.
When I finally did go, I had such a hard time wrapping my head around how Oscar, my fluffy, raggedy, grumpy old boy, was in this tiny little box now. He was supposed to be fuzzy and warm and constantly trying to sit on me to the point of annoyance.
As I was driving home the song on the radio was almost exclusively made up of the words “and you never come back” set to a repetitive electro-dance beat and that was a very long 5 minutes that I struggled to keep it together.
I made it home clenching my jaw and staring intently at the road. I felt numb when I took the paper bag with the urn out of the car and walked home thinking how ironic it was that the bag had a picture of the cutest, fluffiest little blue-eyed kitten on it.
And inside was my… yeah. Still can’t finish that thought.
I went in, grabbed the basement keys and gently placed the bag on top of his carry box that sat immediately inside the rickety little basement cubby door. Putting him in the basement felt odd but I simply couldn’t imagine having this box in the house – this box that both was and was not him.
I kept thinking, how could such a small box hold such a huge part of my life? It felt like a part of me had died with him.
This whole ordeal got me thinking that, though the loss of a pet is hard for anyone, especially sensitive people and empaths can experience that loss more deeply.
We may also take longer to recover from it, and having people say to you “it was just a cat” doesn’t make the grieving process go any faster for us.
Learning how to cope with loss and allowing yourself to grieve is the only way you can move through the sorrow and continue that cherished relationship in your heart.
In order to find some stillness underneath all the emotional turmoil, you need to learn how to sit with scary and uncomfortable emotions because you experience them so deeply.
Here I put together some thoughts about why losing a pet is especially challenging for sensitive people and some tips on what you can do to cope with this kind of loss.Continue Reading