My daughter is deeply grieving loss of our cat

disneyworldsk

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jul 10, 2014
I’m so sorry. How are things going at your house?
thank you for asking. lots of ups and downs. i'm actually not sure if it's normal that my 17 year old son does not want to talk about it and is acting like nothing ever happened. he cried prior to her death , days leading up to it , but the second she died, nothing. is that normal idk and should i just give him space? i have no idea.
my daughter wants to buy herself a nice charm with Lucy's picture in it and i thought that was such a nice idea. like a charm necklace maybe. with her name on it. love that for her. We bought a plant online for her spot that we buried her and a cat statue.
my husband wants to run and buy another kitten!! I said no: we must grieve our Lucy first and not try to replace our loss and feelings with another. And I have Ricky who is 12 and will be stressed. Ricky seems to show no awareness she is gone which is weird too, but they didn't get along (not from same litter).
Thank you for asking. I love our community. It's the only space 'mommy' can vent. And today i'm 50 actually. melancholy bday for sure. i bought myself a disney gift though (haha): a piece of art work i ordered online from riviera resort for my dining room! no one else got me anything, so why not!
 

mommasita

DIS VETERAN
Moderator
Joined
Aug 3, 2004
First off Happy Birthday! (We are Birthday twins) Good on you for getting yourself something you wanted. Cancer people are the best. Lol
In my thoughts, boys can be ( not always) really different, and act like your son, and do act like nothing happened. I don’t think There is a right or wrong way, grief is grief, and we are all different. I do love your daughter’s idea of a charm necklace, that seems really sweet.
We had two cats, sadly lost both in a year, my oldest was 14 or 15, and I was so heartbroken, and the younger was 9. I understand how hard it is. I have yet to get any others.
Now enjoy your Birthday! Trust me, celebrate each year, each year is a gift that many don’t get.
 

disneyworldsk

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jul 10, 2014
First off Happy Birthday! (We are Birthday twins) Good on you for getting yourself something you wanted. Cancer people are the best. Lol
In my thoughts, boys can be ( not always) really different, and act like your son, and do act like nothing happened. I don’t think There is a right or wrong way, grief is grief, and we are all different. I do love your daughter’s idea of a charm necklace, that seems really sweet.
We had two cats, sadly lost both in a year, my oldest was 14 or 15, and I was so heartbroken, and the younger was 9. I understand how hard it is. I have yet to get any others.
Now enjoy your Birthday! Trust me, celebrate each year, each year is a gift that many don’t get.
thank you. yes, every birthday is a blessing indeed.
 

Disneyfan754321

DIS Veteran
Joined
Feb 19, 2019
I'm so sorry for you, I know it's hard to watch your baby be in this much pain. Have you considered getting her a kitten. My son was so sad when his cat died it was pathetic. He said no to a new pet... so I surprised him with a 4 month old kitten that someone found eating out of the trash. She was the first thing to bring him out of the fog. Kittens do that
 

disneyworldsk

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jul 10, 2014
I'm so sorry for you, I know it's hard to watch your baby be in this much pain. Have you considered getting her a kitten. My son was so sad when his cat died it was pathetic. He said no to a new pet... so I surprised him with a 4 month old kitten that someone found eating out of the trash. She was the first thing to bring him out of the fog. Kittens do that
i don't think a kitten would be a good match for the senior cat i still have around named Ricky. too bad though....
 

toesmom

DIS Veteran
Joined
Aug 24, 2002
My daughter is 23 and has always been one to feel deeply for animals. As a 4 year old she has a day long cry about a dead bug.
Last week we lost our 17 year old cat who was basically her best friend. I knew it would be very hard for her but I really was not expecting the depth of her grief.
The first few says she was having cycles of crying that were so intense she would start to physically spasm. These have slowly started to be less but yesterday she had a long talk with me and she was telling me how lonely she is. She just got her Masters degree and is basically out of university but has been at home with us and her brother because of the covid situation. She is really missing friends and she told me that the death of our cat has made her feel totally alone.

She says she feels nothing but despair and she has said to me a few times now she does not know how she will move forward from this and doesn't see the point. She also keeps saying she does not know what to do, which worries me immensely. It feels like a red flag.

She has talked to the doctor and was prescribed 5 days of a medication to help but she has not yet wanted to take it.
She keeps saying every area in the house reminds her of the cat and she wishes we could all just leave and never come back

At this point I am scared.

I think she should perhaps talk to a grief counsellor who might be able to help her work through these feelings and I am working on finding one.

I am posting to this area of the Disboards because I hope some of you might have some ideas of what to say to her, how I can help her and anything else.
My husband lost most of his family when we were in our 20's and he is totally shutting down on this as it is churning up his own repressed sadness.

I have been sure to be in the house as much as I can. I initiate conversations if I feel she needs them and back off if I feel that is what she wants. I have let her sleep in my bed and cry on my shoulder any time she wants.

I am open to any suggestions you might have to help my daughter cope with this and truly appreciate any help you can give.
hopefully this all worked out!
 
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crazymomof4

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jan 12, 2003
ETA- Sorry, just realized this is an older thread that was resurrected. My reply was to the OP but I guess some of what I wrote could be applicable to and helpful for others who come here who are dealing with similar, so I'll not delete it. ----
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Your post hit home with me on soo many levels! I feel for your family as we are a family of cat-lovers. I feel for you as a mom and for your daughter as I am mom to a very sensitive daughter who just turned 21.
I just know this is going to be long so I might as well start at the beginning. From age 6 I started begging for a cat. Took me 4 years to wear my Dad down. I loved him deeply. He was there at the foot of my bed through the end of elementary school, middle school, high-school and nursing school/college (I lived at home and commuted). On my wedding day, in my gown, I had my pic taken with him . We moved into the house next to my parents, so I still saw him daily and he was as comfortable in my home as in my parent's. He was there still when our first and second children were born!! He passed away when I was 28 and he was 18. To say I was attached doesn't begin to describe what I felt for him! He was my heart-cat, like your's was for your DD.
Now I'm 57 and I've been mom to 8 more cats..... anywhere from 1 to 4 at a time, currently 4. We LOVE our cats. They are family to us. We are the family who will take a pic of a cat and text it to other family who are not currently home, captioned "look how cute!" I have one snuggled next to me as I type this. They are each so special to us. Each and every cat that we've lost I swore I would NEVER get over the loss. I feel this about the ones we have now!! But over the decades and losing some really terrific cats, I've gained a perspective and learned a lot about my relationship with our pets. #1- They never really leave us. I still tell stories about my first cat, and as a family we so often we will recall sweet things about cats who died 12-13 years ago! We have their pix framed and in our living areas in the house. I look at them and the part of my heart where they live swells a little... but its a good heart-feeling, not pain. #2- they live on in future pets you allow into your life. I swear each cat we have now has traits and tendencies of cats from the past. For me, it's like a little part of the past cats are still with us in the form of ones living with us now! It's comforting to me. But of course, they are their own individuals too! and that's point #3- Allowing a new little life into your heart is a healing balm.... when the time is right OF COURSE! (and that's different for everyone). I hope you take this the right way. I'm not saying "go replace the cat and everything will be ok!". I'm way too much of an animal lover to ever suggest that will fix how your daughter feels now. But knowing that eventually that painful void, that empty ache CAN be filled gives *hope* and having hope is very encouraging. I remember when I tried to comfort my SIL (who seems hell-bent on reading negativity into my words whenever she can) after the loss of her dog. She thought I was suggesting just "replacing the dog". That's not what I meant. I meant your heart can love again! Well a year later, they had adopted another puppy and her exact words were, "I never thought I could ever love a dog this much again!". I've felt this way over and over. Each one has been so special and so loved and I never thought I'd love another in the same way and then.... I DO! I literally get teary thinking about how much I love these 4 we have now.... but that takes NOTHING away from how much I loved those who've passed. Life finds a way of renewing itself. That was something that took me a long time to realize.
Now to the grief your DD is dealing with. I know it all too well. And I know how much seeing her grieving hurts YOU! When my DD had just turned 17 her life-long best friend (like a sister to her) was diagnosed with brain cancer. She died when my DD was 18. In a 14 month span DD lost her best friend, her favorite aunt (DH's sister) and her grandmom (my mom, who DD grew up living right nextdoor to). It was rough! Really rough, especially for one so young! The crying with spasms you describe-- I know exactly what you mean. I thought DD was going to turn herself inside-out sometimes she cried so hard.
What did we do? We talked. A lot! Often into the wee hours of the night. DD said that it wasn't anything "magical" that I said to her but more so just her getting out how she felt to someone who understood her pain. As much as I could, I got her out of the house for both routine errands with me and day trips to fun places. We did some homeopathic calming things, calming teas (bc DD didn't want prescription meds- but I would have been fine if she had wanted to take a med!). Therapy was next on our list to try but she started to feel better just before that step. I would definitely say try a grief counselor if your DD is open to that. She turned 21 a few weeks ago and she's been feeling better for about a year now. So it took some time. That old cliche about time healing wounds has been around for a reason. The passing of time helps. Of course, during that "time", DO take measures to help your DD!
My heart hurts for your DD. Sorry this is so long, but I care! I'll be thinking about her! Please let us know how she's doing.
 
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  • alohamom

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 31, 2003
    hopefully this all worked out!
    My heart hurts for your DD. Sorry this is so long, but I care! I'll be thinking about her! Please let us know how she's doing.
    Thank you to everyone once again for all you care and honest compassion, it was so good to be able to share my situation here and to have it met with solid advice, care and love.
    I guess what I can say at this point is that it feels like not only have we lost the cat but part of my daughter too. She isn't the same as she was and that is ok, it just still hurts my heart to know she is sad.
    Time has helped in so far as every day dealing with it but she says there are moments when she gets suddenly washed over with grief and needs to cry.
    I talked to her about some counselling and I found a couple in our area for her to choose from but she ended up pushing away from the idea.
    If and when she brings it up (which isn't too often) I try to tell her that I see and acknowledge her processing her feeling/grief and that is good for the long run.
    I think sometimes grief and it's by-products like chronic sadness, depression etc are seen as being weak in our society so I keep telling her how proud I am of her for working through these things and learning from them.

    She has just started a PhD program at UMass and we are Canadian so this is meant leaving home.
    We were not sure if she was going to go but she did.
    It has taken the last two weeks for her to settle in and she has had only one major meltdown.
    Keep in mind she is 24 now and has lived away from home for undergrad.
    I actually think being away is going to be good for her.
    I know getting ready to go, planning her new apartment space etc distracted her and allowed her some guilt free joy.
    She was visiting a friend who had a new kitten in early August and she came home to tell me she really isn't ready for any new pets.
    I thought this was good that she recognized this and was able to say it to me without crying.

    So the bottom line is things are progressing forward.
    Thanks once again to @mommasita for doing such an amazing job moderating this very special area of the Dis and to all of you who contributed to help me out when it first happened.
    I truly appreciate it!
     

    crazymomof4

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 12, 2003
    I think sometimes grief and it's by-products like chronic sadness, depression etc are seen as being weak in our society so I keep telling her how proud I am of her for working through these things and learning from them.
    This is so true and I think it's even more difficult for males, who still are viewed by society as staying strong and unaffected by emotions. I say this having also been the major support person through 2 episodes of severe depression in my oldest son.
    It's so so hard watching your child suffer mentally. They are always our "babies", no matter what their age. We cared for them and protected them through their stomach bugs and scraped knees and mommy always fixed things and made them well again! But trying to *nurse* them through something that is purely mental/emotional leaves us feeling so very HELPLESS!! I'm tearing up now, remembering how I felt back then. Someone once said, "You are only as happy as your least happy child.". I find this to be so true! For now, we are doing well and it's good to look back and know we came out of the darkness. But honestly, I don't think these things go away forever. The next trigger is out there, months or years away. The bright side is that each time someone works their way through it and comes out on the other side, they've built up their own set of "weapons" to use to prevent and treat those feelings should they encounter another trigger. So it's still hard, but a little easier having been successful in the past and knowing what works.
    Please remember to take care of YOU too. This is hard on you. Often, as caregivers to others, we let self-care slide.
     

    mommasita

    DIS VETERAN
    Moderator
    Joined
    Aug 3, 2004
    I have mixed emotions reading the update. I’m glad your daughter is getting her PHD, how wonderful, and what a strong and loving Mother you are! Your daughter is both smart and brave enough to know she isn’t ready for a new pet, boy don’t we wish some adults could be that smart sometimes.
    I am so far from being an expert, but you seem to be handling it wonderfully, aNd supporting her, which is the thing to do. I wish her great success on her journey,

    Hugs sweet Mama 👩‍❤️‍💋‍👩
     


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