Grief is so very personal, and tough to share with others. It is a natural for people who care about you to try and cheer you up, make you feel better, and bless them all for being so kind and loving… but really, the healthiest thing ultimately is not to be cheered up, to sit with it, to feel the pain, to cry, to sob, to ache like there is a huge hole in your chest… and there is. I now truly understand what the word “inconsolable” means.
A little over two weeks ago, I had to agree to let go of my cat. I have no logical doubt I did the right thing. He was not going to rally. He was not going to have any decent quality of life. My wife and I stayed with him while the vet ended his illness and his life. In many, many ways too involved to detail here, Uncle Faff was sacred to us, and one of our soulmates. He was a peer.
I like to think of myself as a maturing and evolving person. I feel I have gotten better through the years in terms of learning to feel, handle and cope with my emotions. But grief never gets any easier. As a matter of fact, the more you hurt and suffer, the better you are coping… it just doesn’t quite feel like I am coping…I am surprised how often it can sneak up on you. Sure, when I am looking at pictures of Uncle Faff, or when I am doing things at home that he was always involved in, I expect to get choked up and cry… but sometimes, for no apparent reason, maybe waiting for a subway, or waiting to pick up some take-out, or waiting on a street corner to meet my wife, it just comes rushing in and I am devastated again. I know… well… I keep telling myself… that time will help soften it… and I logically believe that, but I don’t feel that way. Right now, I just put one foot in front of the other and figure that sooner or later I will start to walk a little lighter.
With grief, I feel I am simultaneously right here right now in a really intense way, and yet swirling through the past too. I feel the joys and memories of all my past experiences with Uncle Faff, and I feel the pain of not having him here and now.
And I know this is all about me. I know Faff is fine where he is. I know we survive death. I know we exist before birth. And I know vets told us when he was 2 that with his heart disease, he would probably not live past 5, but he lived a robust life, with a short period of illness, and died at 12. My wife and I know our love and care kept him here longer, so I find great comfort and some flattery in that. He obviously enjoyed us, too.
I often try to make my blog postings universal, and not just all about me, but mourning and grief are very personal, even though we all experience them at some point. I can’t really offer any advice or suggestions, other than stay with it. Feel what you can. It will hurt, and then after a bit, it will hurt less.
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APOLOGIES: The last few weeks have been a little chaotic for me, with a tremendous amount of work, and a few emotional surprises like a friend’s suicide and the death of my beloved cat. I apologize to my readers for missing so many weeks, and will be getting back to weekly postings now.