Getting My Head On Straight

Moonshyne on my shoulder, her favorite sleeping spot.

Moonshyne on my shoulder, her favorite sleeping spot.

I took a bit of a break from blogging.  Not on purpose.  It’s just that I couldn’t seem to get my head on straight.

My cat, Moonshyne, died on May 25.  She was 18-years-old, and I had her for almost half my life.

I’ve dealt with other pets dying of course, but none that had been such a constant companion.  For 18 years, she was there every time I came home.  She would curl up in my lap or on my shoulder when I sat down, and slept with me many nights.

I’ve dealt with human loved ones dying, but in those situations, my grief was never the most immediate.  It was always someone else whose need was greater, so I managed those much differently.

I thought I was prepared to lose her.  After all, 18-years-old is by far, the oldest cat I’ve ever had.  As people have said to try to be supportive, “That’s a long time for a cat.”  She obviously wasn’t the oldest cat in existence.  Some cats live to 20 or even 25, while others die much younger.

I wasn’t prepared for my level of grief or for the fog I went through afterward.  Being trained as a therapist, and having done work as a grief therapist, I know about it, of course.  I know that it’s a pretty typical grief reaction, which actually doesn’t make it any easier.  It wasn’t that I felt depressed or that I was tearful or anything like that.  I just literally couldn’t get motivated to do anything.  Or if I would get motivated, I’d get sidetracked.  Everything seemed to take much longer to do than it should have.

Then, on top of that, I broke my finger.  I was so irritated at first!  But as I’ve developed a 9 finger typing method, I’ve realized it’s not such a big deal after all.  It’s only a finger.

When I’m stressed out or upset, I read.  (I know, big shock, right?)  But I don’t read just anything; mostly I want to re-read.  I call them “comfort books” which I’d prefer to comfort foods any day.  This time around, I’ve been reading through JD Robb’s In Death series, starting from the beginning.  I realized that I started feeling better before I was aware that I had been feeling bad.

It’s always interesting when I live out lessons from therapy.  I knew that the magnitude of the loss doesn’t necessarily predict the reaction, and that when you don’t deal with other losses, sometimes they come back and hit you, forcing you to deal with them when you least expect them.  This time around, it was my turn to deal with something difficult, more difficult than I expected.  At least I knew what to do: treat myself kindly.  So that’s what I’ve been doing.  I treated myself kindly, and I think I (mostly) have my head on straight again.

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4 comments on “Getting My Head On Straight

  1. lovetotrav says:

    I can completely relate to the fog and grief. I had to put down my dog a few weeks ago and since then, I can barely look at another dog. I feel the guilt of having to do it and the question of whether it was right or not. It comes out of nowhere and hits me when I don’t expect it. Some days I feel better and others not. I knew it would be terrible but it is hard to prepare yourself for this. Take care and know that you are doing the right things for yourself. I have had to make myself too.

    • doreeweller says:

      I’m so sorry you’re going through this too! I think that no matter what we do, we question ourselves. I’m glad you’re taking care of yourself too.

  2. I don’t have pets, but I can understand the loss of someone/something that you’ve come to depend on and build a bond with.

    Just take it one day at a time.

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