Sunday, November 10, 2013

What I've Learned

 The above link is to Abby's Gratefulness.Org website where her candles burn. I cannot tell you why but it bring much solace to see her candles burning. If you have a moment it would mean a lot if you could light one. Thank you.

It's been 90 days today. 3 months. There have been changes, some I saw coming, some I did not. As I look over the past I am apprised at being caught so unaware.Oh Abby, I did not realize the paralyzing fear gripping me those two weeks prior to your death. Only after you had gone did I see I had been frozen and clenched in fear. The fear was all over knowing I was losing you, the tide I was trying to hold back but could only hold at bay for two short weeks.That last day, those last hours we had together were the most intense I have ever had with anyone, ever in my life. I have hazy recollections and I think that is the way my mind protected me against the ultimate heartbreak it knew was coming and the one I feared the most. One thing I clearly remember were the deep conversations we had, and knowing our hearts had spoken each of our truths to one other. I am so grateful, eternally so, to have had those glorious hours with you, to be able to say it all, and have you hear me, and to have you respond back with so much of the same intensity. I know you were trying to give me all I needed to see me through. I know that now Abby. As you were leaving from this plane to the next, I told you it was OK to go and how much I loved you. I do remember repeating that over and over again.Then, after you left, I was stunned. Numbness took over. Being stunned and being in shock was the thing that allowed me to get through that first night and those first days as my total disbelief was held back that you had gone.Forever.

So these are some of the realizations I learned.

You do the very best you can with what you are given.

To know that everything you need will come at the right moment for your heart (not when your mind tells you it needs it).

That the world as you once knew it is over. But, a new one is beginning, but you can't see it, yet.

 During the absolute worst our minds protect us with the same numbing magic that pain medications do.

It is why things are so hazy and why we cannot understand or make clear decisions. My mind went numb. It was a good thing. One day many weeks later, I emerged from that haze and the disbelief. Reality began to seep in and acceptance followed. You were truly gone. Forever. There was so much sadness and the questions arose in me of whether I did or didn't do the right thing. That consumed me for sometime because for whatever the circumstance, I found fault with what I did or did not do. The Catch-22 is, I didn't do anything wrong, even though I wanted to find what was wrong and fix it. I couldn't. I had to surrender to the thought of acceptance of what was and when I did, it began to release it's vise grip on me.

There are tears. Still. Lots of tears. I let them flow. I have cried an ocean. The tears are cleansing. They release toxins that are tormenting my soul. I have felt the deepest pains I have ever felt.There were times I thought I was going crazy. This loss was that crucial and that critical to me.The love we shared was full and deep and meaningful. There may even be some disbelief that there is this much suffering over a cat but then I would say if someone doesn't understand the bond between us that's OK, I know what the bond was.This feeling is very real and powerful. My heart and soul had just been broken into a million jagged pieces by a completely unconditional loss of love. It's harder to understand how anyone could not be critically wounded and experiencing sorrow after feeling this much love.

I tried to find something to bring me comfort. Which is very difficult to do when the ground underneath your feet has rippled and cracked wide open. For me, it feels right to talk openly to Abby. I also found it therapeutic to create a memorial for her, a living one to be renewed each year. A spot in the garden to see beauty revive itself.Since I love photography, I also found a release in reediting her photos and compiling them into albums. It will be a long going process as I have so many of her to work on. But it makes me feel like I am still with her and it is preserving her memories.She still feels alive to me while I work on them. The most important thing I found for myself was writing about my feelings. In the early going it was the only way I could release the anguish and the deep sorrow, and as time passed, it was a way to explore how this grief monster was changing and morphing. It allowed me to be able to see visible progress away from the intense sadness. Yes, I still cry and probably always will, but now the tears are less and the sadness is not as strong as it once was.

Every one of us is so different. So going through this will be a unique process for everyone, this is just my experience. For  myself I needed to write it all down, just as I blogged each event of Abby's last few weeks. I needed to record it so that I remembered. I still haven't sat down and reread all the posts between July 28th and August 12th, one day I will, but it is till too soon.Too fresh.

 So many of the things that happened in early August have blurred in my mind, because there was too much happening and it was all so critical. The human mind can only handle so much and then it shuts down and protects itself. Harsh memories get suppressed because you don't want to remember them. But, there are things that are etched crystal clear like it just happened, but most are not.The best thing I have as my collective memory is this blog because it gives me a record of those events. Not just for myself, but for Abby too.

There was a part of me that knew what was going to happen,but I could not allow myself to think it, and I suspect that is where the fear came from.The deep dark place I didn't want to go to, was afraid to go to. But, when the worst happens,and you reach the end, there is such quiet. Stillness.The world suddenly stops moving. The frenetic pace immediately comes to an abrupt halt and you're left with all the accoutrements of the critical care unit you were operating under and it weighs down on you. Hard.

 After all the palliative care which is time consuming and emotion crushing, all that is left is stillness. There are no easy paths down this road and the main lesson I have learned is that it is never over. I am putting this together because 3 months from now I want to see how much further along Abby's journey I have traveled and  how my heart is healing with her guidance.I also hope in some small way this may serve to help someone else. Each journey is unique to each individual but so much of the process I can see is the same. If there is any nugget of wisdom anyone can find I gladly share my journey in hopes of letting you know that what you feel is absolutely normal. I would offer one piece of advise and that is to embrace the grief and lean into it. Let it wash over you. By doing so, you will allow it to become a part of you and also give your heart a good starting place into the healing process.

“It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it.”-Lena Horne 


  1. It's so very true that each heart knows its own pain and no one can truly share it.

    We feel for you, and are glad you're doing this as a part of your healing process.

    Lighting another candle now...

  2. She will always watch over you with love and caring.

  3. The lessons you have learned are true for us all, but I think that I will go through the same things again when it's the boys' turn to cross, unless they pass suddenly, without my having to intervene in any way, as Chumley did. It makes me sick to think about it, though, so I'm not going to.

    I'm glad you have this outlet for your grief, the blogging.

    Lots of hugs and universal Light.

  4. You've been so eloquent and honest and open about your journey after Abby. Thanks so much for sharing such an intimate part of your life.

  5. Dropping out of comment exodus to say how touching and eloquent all of your posts have been about Abby. As hard as this journey is for you, we're glad to hear that you're moving slowly into its next steps. It's a long process.

  6. We are all purring for you and for the memory of our dear furriend Abby.

    Mom stills has a hole in her heart that her beloved Morgan left. We all try to fill it but we know that there is no one who much as she adores us. Morgan departed this world in 1998 and time does make things easier but there are still days that are painful. On those days we purr on mom a bit more.

    You will always miss Abby, but the overwhelming grief will hopefully turn to days of sweet memories and one day you will be reunited again.

    xoxo Cory

  7. Dear Angel Abby wants you to be okay and she will try her very best to remind you of that from time to time. Hugs from all of us.

  8. Dear Angel Abby wants you to be okay and she will try her very best to remind you of that from time to time. Hugs from all of us.

  9. Oh all those things are so true and Abby will keep on watching you until you can join her.That was so well written about your feelings. It does help so much to put things in writing. At least I find that it helps. Take care.


    Mom keeps a pen and pad in the car.
    Most times when they are out and about Dad drives. When Mom is alone she waits until she gets to a stop light to write down plates. Often she sees more than one and tries to remember them.
    hugs madi your bfff

  11. Each loss is different, for even we are different each time we feel a loss. Abby was a very special girl and lucky to have you

  12. Purrs to you. We know each purrson deals with the passing of a beloved pet in their own way. Some pets touch us more than others, and Abby was a special girl.
    Your writing is your therapy and we can see the progress.Even when you are totally at peace with her passing,you will never forget her.
    Purrs Tillie and Georgia,
    Treasure,Tiger, JJ and Julie

  13. We would never feel the pain had we not felt the love. That's why our hearts ache, so.


  14. You have written so much and so eloquently of your journey with Abby. It has helped me with Eric's loss which came as a terrible shock to us. We knew something was wrong but not what, and didn't realise how serious it was until a few days before he left when he started to stagger a bit. It was only a few hours before his journey that he seemed so much better and we thought he was getting better. I so regret that we were not given the time to prepare ourselves and ask myself if we were too hasty. I know that we weren't but that doesn't stop me asking myself. I am just thankful that we had almost 13 years of loving him.
    I thank you for your posts because it has encouraged me to write my feelings down.
    I will go now and light another candle for Abby and Eric too.

  15. I said it before; it has been an honor to accompany you on this journey. You speak so well of loss and grief, and I think you should, in time, write something (like a book) about coping. You really, really speak to me about losses that I've been through.

    I will go light a candle.

    xx Trish

  16. As Miss Trish from Katnip Lounge said, and as Mom Linda and I have also said, you just simply must consider writing a book to help others on the journey that begins when one's companion animal, furramily member, begins the trip to the Bridge and then how to travel your own journey afterwards through the loss and grief. You write so movingly and make such sense. I am also off to light another candle, warm paw hugs, Savannah and Mom Linda

  17. We want you to know that we're all thinking of you. We have lit a candle for Abby.

    The Paw Relations

  18. I know that what you have written over the weeks and your honesty will be of great help to many others who go through the loss of a beloved furry! xox

  19. Thank you for sharing Abby with all of us, and your journey after she flew to the Bridge. It is an honor to accompany you, and we continue to send our purrs and prayers to you. Big hugs.

  20. I think Abby knows how you feel and knows that you'll love her forever even if you love the other cats.

  21. I lit another candle for your baby.

    I miss all of my fur babies so so much still and I will never ever stop missing them. They are an integral part of our lives and hearts. Close to the baseboard on one of the bedroom carpets are some Admiral prints still. :-) Not but a very few-- but a few. :-)

  22. Times such as these are the ones that make us into better beings.
    Times such as these are the ones that allow us to see the worth of all things living and past.
    Times such as these may break our hearts but hearts cannot grow until the shell breaks.
    Love from us all
    Timmy Dad and family

  23. Beautiful picture of Abby and beautiful, touching post.

  24. You write so beautifully friend. I think everyone has suggested a book and I couldn't not agree more. Your pictures are fantastic as is your writing. Abby will always love you and you will always love her. HUGS from M.


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