Working through grief in 3 steps

We all remember the moments in our lives that have had the biggest impact. We can remember the time, the feel, the smell and the aura that enveloped us with its presence. One year ago today our cat, Herbert, that we only had for just over a year lost a painful battle with urinary crystals. We tried three times to unblock him and on the final time his kidneys had had enough.
The whole week leading up to it was incredibly hard. My husband was working away and our son was only 6 months old. I had grown accostumed to not driving and my first time driving in years was the day I had to take Herbert back to the vet. He had to stay for 2 nights. I went and visited him both nights. He seemed to be in good spirits but as most are when under care. He had an IV and was on a high dose of pain medications. You could already see how the illness was changing him. We waited 3 days (the vet wanted us to wait a week before retesting) and on the third day when I went down to check on him (he was kept seperate so we could monitor his litter use) I knew it was time. Opening the door he opened his eyes but there was no moisture left in his body. His eye lids stuck to his eyes and you could see the tired look on his face. As my hubby bundled him up in the wee early hours of the morning I remember thinking this would be the last time I would see him. Just like we all would do I gave him a pat and told him to hurry back home. The test results revealed he had no functioning kidneys and it was time. Before making the decision my husband called me. Life was going to change as we had become accustomed too.
On that Sunday we went for a walk even though it was raining. We even decided to take one of the cats in our cat backpack. We went and got munchies and went home. Watched movies as a family until my husband left for work at 4am the next day. Being so incredibly compassionate and empathic my grief consummed me. I knew I had to find a way to bring it together and quick. I needed to do more than just provide for my son I need to have a happy, healthy life that we could both thrive on. I found a way to change what was becoming my weakness into one of my strenghts. Somehow I was able to absorb my grief and make it work in my favour instead of against me. For the first while I only allowed myself to cry in the shower, which as a new mom are very quick and rare. Then one day my life was filled with such immense happiness even though my heart ached for what was happening around me. I found a way to function while grieving by brightening others days. I found these three factors to be the most important while trying to find your purpose.
1. Feel Your Pain: The only way to truly get over something is to accept the way it feels. Like anything that becomes familiar it becomes alot easier to handle. I don’t like the idea of removing somebody or something from my heart. Sometimes the best feelings in the world are from memories. I am not saying to live in the past I am saying to recharge your batteries with those memories that at one time made you smile. Sure it’s going to hurt but it hurts alot less than trying to convince yourself that those memories never happened in the first place. During the day when I am busy cleaning or folding laundry I like to throw on a lil Cold Play. I like to abosrb the words and feel all the feels. I close my eyes and reach up to the sky like maybe the answers are there for me to pick up. I have mastered silent crying, even silent crying with a smile. My days have become alot more driven and focused when I embrace each and everyday for the authenticity that it is.
2. Know Your Truth: Once you know what truly makes you tick you can embrace it like a hungry Tigress. Watching my Herbert suffer I knew I was never going to stop loving another animal because it hurt too much. Truthfully I knew I had the capacity to be able to function even after experiencing heartache. I have accepted and acknowledged that some people may not be able to handle seeing animals in horrendous conditions. I knew that I could so I had to reach out and start making a difference in that way. We all are great at something and I know now mine is loving and caring for our furbabies
3. Find a Purpose: Nothing helps you get over grief faster than having a purpose. I had my son to care for and of course my husband. We had 5 cats at the time but I needed more. I tried going back to work but the only thing that quenched that desire was helping animals. The animals that others had given up on those are the ones I needed to help. We started fostering for awhile but me and my husband are both animal people so we ended up keeping most of the cats we fostered. Dogs were easier to adopt out because there is a huge committment. Cats love to lounge, cuddle, play and can even forgive you if left in the care of a family member for a week. We still plan on help foster in the winter when the need for warm foster homes is essential in the cold winter months. Starting up my non-profit made the perfect sense. It combined my Business Degree and my love for animals. 100% of everything I do is to raise funds for animals in need. I may not be able to adopt every single one I fall in love with but I can help shelters and rescue agencies.
The Prairie Passion for Pets Foundation is everything I have dreamed. Every dollar I raise is one more than was raised the day before. I get to be creative, outgoing, community driven all while helping these animals that I love. I turned my grief into something super positive. My sweet Herbert never died that day. He inspires me and helps me give birth to crazy ideas to make a difference in animals lives. He changed the way I look at the world in just over a year. For me the outlook I have on my life now is priceless. He was worth every penny AARC’s invested in him that day and it is for this reason I have a desire to help our local animal shelters.

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