Review: Grieving the Death of a Pet (by Betty J. Carmack)

“It is true we mourned, but it is also true we found comfort. Hear and trust the enduring wisdom of the scripture passage, “…Blessed are they that mourn for they will be comforted…”…a time to heal…a time for peace…(Betty J Carmack)

For those that have been following you know that my journey to enlightenment began with the lost of my beloved. I also believed that he was our soul mate. Sent to watch over us and guide us through this time in our life. Looking back at his presence in his life it was clear that he was only meant to be with us a short time. Leading up to his death it was hard what to know what to do. The pain felt immense and the whole that was left behind huge. If there ever was an angel who was sent to save us it was him. He was always one to watch us from the sidelines and would sneak in for snuggles in the wee hours of the morning. He may have been the glue that held us all together. You see right before he came into our lives me and my husband (boyfriend at the time) had a huge fight on the eve before I was to leave for New York. My husband in my absence would frequent the pet stores. He loved to spoil our furbabies and with us having a spat it gave him comfort. When he found Herbert he had just recovered from surgery where they amputated his front paw. I remember the first moment I met him. His emerald green eyes locked into mine and the rest they say is history. Recently it was his one year anniersary. I had his ashes blown into an emerald green cat eye that I wear around my neck. Right now it is on a chain but one day I hope to make it into a Pin-Up style beaded necklace so I rarely have to take it off. I chose to finally read “Grieving the Death of a Pet”, by Betty J Carmack as I wanted to educated myself with the grieving process. I wanted to be prepared for anybody who reached out to me in our community. With passion comes knowledge and for me to be an asset to both our furbabies and their parents I decided to educate myself on one of the most painful times in my life. There are 5 main steps one should consider when having sharing your life with a pet. Although their time with us short the lessons we learn from them are huge. They are not only our protector in our lives but they serve as our companion and guide. They make the hard times seem bearable and they always keep our secrets.

A Time to Love: The love one shares with their furry companion is something that no human can replicate. To be loved unconditionally for all your flaws and no judgement is something we all long for. In a world where we may never fit in we will always fit in with our furbabies. Not to mention when you join the pet parent club it is like you join an army of pet advocates (for the most part). Not all pet parents are the same. Some see their pet just as they would as a child, others see them as nothing more than a furry companion “a wingman” and others see their pet as just that an animal on legs. We all provide the basic necessities for our animal to thrive and that is where the connection is formed. They expect us to feed them, play with them, exercise them and provide emotional support. In return they show you undying devotion that never waivers in their super short lives. I believe a pet comes into our life to help us overcome our challenges. When you consider our household 9 cats, 5 budgies and 1 dog that seems like alot of obstacles. Each one came into our lives for different reasons. Each one has their own unique personalities and attitudes that brighten up everyday. Yes it is a housefull but it is a housefull of unconditional love. There is never a time when I feel broken without at least feeling loved as well.

A Time to Get Ready: It is impossible to ever make the right decision regarding an animal who is old, sick or in need. We all have the desire to have our pets with us forever. Forever is never an option so it leaves us to weigh out the options. First of all the well being of the animal is considered. When you first discover your animal may be suffering you start to watch them more closely. I am very attentive to all animals and their habits. As the matriach of the household I do feel it is my responsibility. I should be the first to nitice if their habits have changed. Recently we had a 10th cat. I remember saying to my husband that I didn’t think he was eating. My husband thought that he had seen him eating at night. Cats are known to be notcurnal and having 9 other companion friends when you were locked in a small room could be overwhelming. I kept a close eye on him and sure enough the morning came when I looked into his eyes and the sparkle was gone. When you live with a being for any amount of time you can sense and feel the desire for life. It is one of the hardest things to do but if you ever have wondered what your pet is thinking or feeling, take a look in their eyes. That sparkle and smile is their indication to you that they are ok. Oh and as a side note never take their purring as a sign they are ok. Cats purring is at the exact frequency required for healing. Be more concerned in the inability to sing that tells you that even they know that their time has run out. There are so many variables that one should consider. Quality and health of your furbaby in the long run should be first. Of course is your family able to financially afford to care for your pet in the long term

A Time to Let Go: Making the decision to finally let go is the hardest decision to make. Nobody wants to admit that they have exhausted all options and it is time. You feel this undeniable guilt that you failed your baby. Still there is a very hard decision to make. One that carries long term consequences. When my husband was told that he had exhausted all options and Herbert’s liver had completed failed it was time. He called me at 5 am on a Sunday (I was already awake and our newborn was asleep) to tell me it was time. He wanted to call me to tell me the decision. The devestation in his voice was apparent and the guilt in my heart sank in. I never thought when I woke my husband that morning that the result would end his life. I saw his eyes the absence of life and how they were filled with pain. He could barely open his eyes because they were sticky like glue. Even now when I write this I fill with tears. I miss him. I wish I said goodbye. My last words to him were to hurry back home. My husband stayed by his side as he crossed over the rainbow bridge. After reading “Grieving the Death of a Pet” I wish I was there. In the time he needed me most I wasn’t strong enough. Nobody knows what happens to us or our pets when we crossover. What I do know is I wish I was his anchor in his time of death just like he was to me in his time of life.

A Time to Grieve: We all grieve in our own unique ways. For me it felt like pure devestation. My heart feel like it was going to rip out of my chest. I thought the tears and pain would never stop. I cried everyday in the shower while my son slept. The hot water on my skin washed away my tears as I grieved. It is so hard to explain the loss. It becomes so hard to remember the good times as guilt begins to take over. I know we did all that we could for him and he understand that. My guilt comes from pure selfishness. I wish I spent more time loving him. That is the lesson I learned from Herbert’s departure. I still love him. He was(is) one of the best lil guys I have ever met I am thankful for him in my life.

A Time to Heal: Healing also happens at a different rate for all of us. I remember for months I was overcome with sadness. It was apparent to all that knew us. Alot of our friends would tell my husband months after Herbert’s death that they were worried about me. I could barely talk without being reduced to tears. I longed for my sweet love again. My lil portly bowling ball who I had nicknamed Pins. Cremation was the only option as we needed to bring Herbert home. My husband picked out a beautiful urn and had his paw print put onto a ceramic plaque. Most pet parents get both front paws, we could only get one. I reached out to the rescue to let them know the devastation that went through our family with the loss of Herbert. They mentioned they had a special little guy who they deemed unadoptable. He was deformed and spent the first half of his life unable to walk. He had multiple surgeries to correct his breathing and they were finally able to get his hips popped in so he would walk. Stanley’s mother was poisoned while Stanley and his siblings were in utero. It would seem that his previous owners had no desire for more cats. Even when all the animals had persihed Stanley had found a way to survive. Hearing Stanley storey my husband was an immediate yes. I couldn’t find it in my heart to want to replace Herbert. I agreed to meet Stanley just to see. Well four cats later, a dog and the budgies we have a full house. Herbert helped me to heal and showed me that I can make a difference by providing unconditional love to all these furbabies. He is the reason why I have no fear in my campaign to raise funds for local shelters. I do not need to profit anything as I am truly blessed with just the ability of being able to help. That is what helps heal my heart. I know there will be a time when I will have to face more loss. That day will be another day of complete devasation but I know that time is our best medicine. That and of course be kind and patient with yourself. It is 100% ok to grieve for the loss of a love so pure and unconditional. I know that feeling of loss. What I have gained from this book is that we need a community to come to grieve together. To talk about the loss and celebrate our pets lives. They truly are our commpanions and help us guide through this life and onto the next. They teach us lessons that nobody else can teach. They love us for all that we are, were and will be. Isn’t that what we all truly want? To be accepted for who we truly are at the end of each day. All a pet wants is you. You will always be enough in their world so let their lives be a celebration of all that they were. And how that even in loss they gave us the strenght to go on.herbert
RIP Sweet Herbert March 17, 2017 till April 30, 2018. Unconditional Love-Inconsolable

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