Coping With Grief

StrangeOtter

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You can never really recover from grief of death, but you can learn to somewhat cope with it.
I wonder if some of you would like to share their ways of coping after the loss of a pet. The loss of a pet is as painful as the loss of your closest friend or family member.

Some people have had the opportunity to get the ashes of their pet in a urn, or in this very beautiful photocase/urn/memory box. I wish I could have had something like that. But I wasn't able to make any decisions after she had been laid to rest, because I was completely devastated.
But I have had other ways to cope. It has helped to talk with people who understand grief of death.
During the night time I need distraction so I listen to quiet and calm instumental music. Preferably Skyrim ambience.
I have also written stories about her and drawn pictures and paintings because I don't want to forget her. And I have saved all of her favourite things.

How do you cope?
...Or do you?
 

Raven

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My cat that died this week got very ill looking and thin so I went through my photos and put two up on the fridge with him looking lovely and healthy.
 

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That's beautiful. I also have put up all of her pictures from when she was young.
I always say good night to her before I go to bed.
 

KLS52

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When my cat Thor died in 2012 I found it very difficult to move forward. I’ve had many cats over the years and loved them all deeply but he was special. He was my soul cat. After two months I decided to go to the shelter and rescue another cat. He was a special needs senior kitty. That helped me tremendously. At first I felt guilty, like I was trying to replace Thor, but I realize now that’s not the case. I think there is no greater way to honor the memory of one cat by rescuing another.

I know not everyone is up for that. Some people don’t want another pet after one dies because they don’t want to go through the heartbreak again. It’s different for everyone.
 

StrangeOtter

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When my cat Thor died in 2012 I found it very difficult to move forward. I’ve had many cats over the years and loved them all deeply but he was special. He was my soul cat. After two months I decided to go to the shelter and rescue another cat. He was a special needs senior kitty. That helped me tremendously. At first I felt guilty, like I was trying to replace Thor, but I realize now that’s not the case. I think there is no greater way to honor the memory of one cat by rescuing another.

I know not everyone is up for that. Some people don’t want another pet after one dies because they don’t want to go through the heartbreak again. It’s different for everyone.
I'm sorry for your loss.
Everyone deals with grief differently. I'm happy that you found some comfort from taking care of someone in need.

As for me, I'm not ready. I'm empty.
I can understand the guilt. It can drive you crazy.
But I believe that Thor would have wanted you to be happy and you don't have to feel guilty.

Sometimes I still feel very guilty. Especially when I notice how much time has passed. I feel like I don't deserve to enjoy life.
At first even trying to eat made me cry and choke.
She is still with me. She is looking after me. And she'll forever be.
 

Raven

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I think some people want a "replacement" animal soon afterwards as the home seems so quiet without the pet they lost. When my dog died when I was a kid I got a kitten quite soon afterwards as I felt so empty without a pet in my home.

My JRT was put in a rescue centre as the husband bought her to replace a dog that he and his wife had just lost. The wife couldn't handle having another dog so soon so they had to find her a home.
 
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StrangeOtter

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The tought of replacing your best friend, who has just passed away angers me.
But I can understand the enormous emptiness they leave behind.
 
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KLS52

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This is going to sound weird but sometimes I feel like the grief and feeling of loss when a person dies can be very similar to losing a loved one such as family member or friend. I’m not saying that you would value a pet more than a person, although some people do say that, but it’s more that you can love a pet so strongly and so deeply that the feeling of loss is very similar.

I was heartbroken when Ben died last year. Part of it was that he was so sick for two months. I fought so hard for a diagnosis without putting him through too much pain and suffering. We never got one. And then having to make the decision that enough is enough was very difficult. I think grief is made up of many different emotions.
 

StrangeOtter

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This is going to sound weird but sometimes I feel like the grief and feeling of loss when a person dies can be very similar to losing a loved one such as family member or friend. I’m not saying that you would value a pet more than a person, although some people do say that, but it’s more that you can love a pet so strongly and so deeply that the feeling of loss is very similar.

I was heartbroken when Ben died last year. Part of it was that he was so sick for two months. I fought so hard for a diagnosis without putting him through too much pain and suffering. We never got one. And then having to make the decision that enough is enough was very difficult. I think grief is made up of many different emotions.

I'm sorry you had to go through that. It's difficult when you have flashbacks of his sickness, but try to think about the good times that you two had when he was still young. You gave him good life and sounds like you really deeply loved him. He must have felt your love.

I think that grieving a loss of a pet is similar of grieving a loss of a child. You take care of them every day of the year, and especially if they get old and ill, that takes a toll on you.
But I wouldn't change those years to anything. I'm really glad that I had her, even when she got old and was diagnosed with diabetes.

I still leave the curtain slightly open at night so that she can more easily jump on the windowsill.
There are some stains that her nose left on the window.
 
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StrangeOtter

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That decision is horrible to make.
But I think you somehow know when your loved one is about to go. And then you just have to gather up the courage to make the decision.
It's so wrong and horrible.
But in the end, the only merciful thing to do.

I think I knew a month or so before she passed away. I started the companion animal gratefulness thread mainly because of that. I wanted to cherish our time together instead of just routinely taking care of her.
She got so frail. It was horrible. One time it looked like she had trouble trying to stand up. I tried to live in denial, and for a while it was easy because even though she was getting frail and lost weight, she still enjoyed life. She loved to play, take naps and cuddle with me. And she loved food. But then she got really badly ill one day while I was at work. And there was no way to safe her.
 

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That decision is horrible to make.
But I think you somehow know when your loved one is about to go. And then you just have to gather up the courage to make the decision.
It's so wrong and horrible.
But in the end, the only merciful thing to do.

I think I knew a month or so before she passed away. I started the companion animal gratefulness thread mainly because of that. I wanted to cherish our time together instead of just routinely taking care of her.
She got so frail. It was horrible. One time it looked like she had trouble trying to stand up. I tried to live in denial, and for a while it was easy because even though she was getting frail and lost weight, she still enjoyed life. She loved to play, take naps and cuddle with me. And she loved food. But then she got really badly ill one day while I was at work. And there was no way to safe her.
So sorry. 😢💔
 

StrangeOtter

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I hope that you both are well.

One person shared this The Pet Loss Support page with me and I thought that it could be useful for others as well.
I haven't read it fully yet, but am going to. It's about guilt, which is very common with pet grief. Because they rely on us on everyhting, it's easy to feel like we have let them down even if we did everything we could. And the excruciating what ifs and hindsights...

There is also this book that I'd love to read called Buddhism for pet lovers by David Michie.
The Buddhists believe that if there are animals you have a particularly close connection with, it is likely you have known one another in a previous life experience and are likely to be together again.

"The bonds we share with our pets go beyond words and are often deeper than many of our human relationships. What is the nature of these close connections? And what if our influence on pets, both in life and especially through sickness and death, is far more powerful than we ever conceived? David Michie draws on ancient Buddhist wisdom, supported by contemporary science, to provide fascinating insights into animal consciousness. He proposes that the pets with whom we share our lives are not there by accident. Whether your animal companion has fur, feathers or fins, he offers a treasury of practical tools to enhance your relationship with them in everyday life, as well as during times of challenge. Written with humour and compassion, and including extraordinary true stories from around the world, Buddhism for Pet Lovers reveals how our animal companions may indeed be among our most precious partners. For in helping them, our own lives are incomparably enriched too.'If you have ever deeply loved an animal, this is, without doubt, the book for you.' Gail Pope, BrightHaven"
 
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nobody

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I just lost my most beloved pet, a cat who was always by my side for the past 5 years, to renal disease, and got over it in about a week. This is due in part to the fact that I still have 6 other animals in the house but it is also due to my metaphysical views, because with prior views I used to hold it would take me like two years to get over something like this.

So I will explain the metaphysical part. I will break it down into "what this is" and "what we are" according to my current view.

1. What this is: This has to do with what the universe/reality is. Metaphysical materialists say only the material world is real, so when your cat dies, you'll never see her again. Metaphysical dualists say the material world is real and there is also an immaterial spirit world, Heaven, which is real, so right now you and the cat are separated but you will be reunited with her when you die.

Those two metaphysical views are incorrect. The correct metaphysical view is metaphysical idealism. There is only an immaterial spirit world, which we cannot observe, but the deceased can. The living are not experiencing a material world. The world we are experiencing is made of information, just as much as your surroundings when you are dreaming are, except that the perception of a common 'real' world is shared by us all and consistent.

2. What we are: at a deep level of reality there exists something we can call, loosely, consciousness itself, knowing itself, awareness itself or observation itself, and that is where all things and beings are one. We are only individuated at a surface lavel.

Here is an analogy. People and animals are like sentient waves on an ocean. So a metaphysical materialist wave would say only the surface (of the ocean) is real. The surface is self-existent and there is nothing under the surface. When a wave crashes into the beach, it is gone forever. A metaphysical dualist wave believes the surface of the ocean has its own existence and could conceivably exist without there being anything underneath if a creator put it in place. But this wave believes there also exists a secondary world below the surface. In this wave's view, when a companion wave crashes into the beach it goes "Below", to be joined when this wave itself crashes into the beach.

But both types of waves are mistaken about their true identity and the nature of their reality. Ultimately, they're not waves, they're the ocean itself. Ultimately, we're not people or cats, we're knowing itself.

The illusion of being an individual does persist past death but from what I have heard, the dead are able to access the interconnected shared being of all things in a way the living aren't. For my cat who died, I don't see her as being a separate being from me who is in Heaven watching me. That idea makes our "separate being-ness" very real, but it is not real. What is actually going on is that both the cat and I are under the impression that we are mammals but she is also very in touch with the interconnected nature of all things since she is dead, whereas I can't see it.

For this, here is another analogy There is a tree growing by a stream and twigs are dipping into the water. In this analogy, the living are like fish under the water. They see each twig as an individual and can't see the tree growing above the surface. The dead are like frogs who have risen and breached the surface - they are still aware of the twiggy individuated aspect of things, but they can see how everything is connected and can look at any part of the tree from their perspective above the water. I believe my cat has access to any bodily sensation or emotion I or anyone else experiences or has experienced or ever will experience (due to the illusory nature of space and time) and just thinking that she has the option to tune into my experience, or maybe is even acutely aware of my experience at all times even more than I am, makes me feel really close to her. Like now in death, we are sharing life in a much more complete way than before when both of us were experiencing the limitations associated with the perception of embodiment.
 

StrangeOtter

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I just lost my most beloved pet, a cat who was always by my side for the past 5 years, to renal disease, and got over it in about a week. This is due in part to the fact that I still have 6 other animals in the house but it is also due to my metaphysical views, because with prior views I used to hold it would take me like two years to get over something like this.

So I will explain the metaphysical part. I will break it down into "what this is" and "what we are" according to my current view.

1. What this is: This has to do with what the universe/reality is. Metaphysical materialists say only the material world is real, so when your cat dies, you'll never see her again. Metaphysical dualists say the material world is real and there is also an immaterial spirit world, Heaven, which is real, so right now you and the cat are separated but you will be reunited with her when you die.

Those two metaphysical views are incorrect. The correct metaphysical view is metaphysical idealism. There is only an immaterial spirit world, which we cannot observe, but the deceased can. The living are not experiencing a material world. The world we are experiencing is made of information, just as much as your surroundings when you are dreaming are, except that the perception of a common 'real' world is shared by us all and consistent.

2. What we are: at a deep level of reality there exists something we can call, loosely, consciousness itself, knowing itself, awareness itself or observation itself, and that is where all things and beings are one. We are only individuated at a surface lavel.

Here is an analogy. People and animals are like sentient waves on an ocean. So a metaphysical materialist wave would say only the surface (of the ocean) is real. The surface is self-existent and there is nothing under the surface. When a wave crashes into the beach, it is gone forever. A metaphysical dualist wave believes the surface of the ocean has its own existence and could conceivably exist without there being anything underneath if a creator put it in place. But this wave believes there also exists a secondary world below the surface. In this wave's view, when a companion wave crashes into the beach it goes "Below", to be joined when this wave itself crashes into the beach.

But both types of waves are mistaken about their true identity and the nature of their reality. Ultimately, they're not waves, they're the ocean itself. Ultimately, we're not people or cats, we're knowing itself.

The illusion of being an individual does persist past death but from what I have heard, the dead are able to access the interconnected shared being of all things in a way the living aren't. For my cat who died, I don't see her as being a separate being from me who is in Heaven watching me. That idea makes our "separate being-ness" very real, but it is not real. What is actually going on is that both the cat and I are under the impression that we are mammals but she is also very in touch with the interconnected nature of all things since she is dead, whereas I can't see it.

For this, here is another analogy There is a tree growing by a stream and twigs are dipping into the water. In this analogy, the living are like fish under the water. They see each twig as an individual and can't see the tree growing above the surface. The dead are like frogs who have risen and breached the surface - they are still aware of the twiggy individuated aspect of things, but they can see how everything is connected and can look at any part of the tree from their perspective above the water. I believe my cat has access to any bodily sensation or emotion I or anyone else experiences or has experienced or ever will experience (due to the illusory nature of space and time) and just thinking that she has the option to tune into my experience, or maybe is even acutely aware of my experience at all times even more than I am, makes me feel really close to her. Like now in death, we are sharing life in a much more complete way than before when both of us were experiencing the limitations associated with the perception of embodiment.
Thank you for sharing what has helped you. And I'm glad to hear that you have found a way to not only to cope, but also to get over grief.

I think I'm going to need to get away for a while. I'll come back after a few weeks or a month.
 
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KLS52

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@nobody I’m sorry for your loss.
Your post is Interesting and I’m glad you found something that helped you.