When Melissa first shared the sad news, I was stung with disbelief. Wasn’t Truffles healthy and happy only yesterday? She wasn’t old….was she? Then I thought of my own lost loves; Bubba who chased a squirrel for the first time in his life…straight into the road, Maisie, who couldn’t beat a fatal disease and Runtie and Lucy…who I loved for almost 17 years.
I drew strength from nurturing my old guys. They needed me more than ever. The hardest call I ever made was to my vet when Lucy’s cancer could no longer be ignored. Runt’s time was easier. But both times, I had some control in the final days.
The sudden loss of a young, healthy cat, though, feels like being stabbed in the heart. After the initial shock, a flood of emotions and questions with no answers torture us as we struggle to make sense of a senseless loss. Yet, with time, and a little intervention by the Cat God….heart wounds do heal.
Melissa, this is for you and Tara and Truffles….The following is excerpted from my book, CAT SKILLS: Loving Care for Cats. Leslie Goodwin
After losing a loved one, we're haunted by a terrifying thought: I'll never love or be loved as deeply again. We are burdened with regrets--baggage we lug along on our grief trip: Why did he have to get sick? Why didn't I see it coming? Why couldn't I have saved him? Why did I wait so long to put him down? Should I have waited longer?
We can invent dozens of woulda, coulda, shouldas that serve only as guides for the future but do nothing to change the past. Somehow, we forget the many happy years together and focus on a few difficult days, weeks, or months.
Loss can leave us feeling numb, paralyzed, broken beyond repair...yet deep inside flickers a pilot light of hope. Sadness is one color in a whole rainbow of emotions that are our privilege and burden as mere humans.
The challenge after loss is to banish regrets, reject fearful thoughts and stow that oppressive cargo. Relief comes from believing that love is perennial. The supply is never-ending. Love grows where it is planted and thrives where it is nurtured.
Fear not. When you are ready, the Cat God will be waiting to match you again with the perfect feline friend. You can never replace a loved one...but you can carry on a beautiful tradition with your new loved ones.
This is part one of two. Copyright by Leslie Goodwin. Excerpted from CAT SKILLS: Loving Care for Cats by Leslie Goodwin..available on Amazon.com http://goo.gl/tqTpxx