The Funny Thing About Grief

Author Note: This post was written a few days ago in, well, a random round of tears and hurting that just hit out of nowhere. It’s taken a great deal of courage to post this while it’s still fresh, but I’m doing it because I know how few sources there are out there for people grieving the loss of pets. So hopefully, it helps someone besides me somewhere along the way.

It never ends. Or so it seems. And that part isn’t funny at all.

It’s been six months since I had to let Tabby go, and the first few months were really, really hard.

There are a lot of hard moments. And I still have really, really hard days. They’re just not back-to-back anymore. Not usually, anyways.

I still wake up some mornings expecting to find him staring at me from the nightstand, waiting to be fed. Or to feel him on the back of the sofa, stretched out and leaning across my shoulders. Never mind the fact that the sofa we have now isn’t one he ever sat on. (Did I mention that we got a new-to-us sofa about a month ago? I can’t remember…)

Sometimes it’s really hard to look at Winnie, our other cat, because she’s now older than Tabby ever was, even though she was the younger of the two (only by a matter of months, though), and she’s still healthy and energetic and oh-so-active. (So active, good gracious. If I could bottle her energy and sell it, I’d be rich.)

But Tabby’s gone.

And sometimes I wonder if it’s this hard because I spent so much time taking care of him at the end. We bonded more during those last few months, and not that he didn’t stick to my side before that anyways, but it was definitely that bond that got me from “I’ll do what I have to so you can stay happy and comfortable for however much longer you have.” to “I will hold you in my arms as you take your last breaths and your heart stops beating because you’ve fought so hard for my sake. How can I leave you alone at the end?”

Grief is a funny thing. Because it hurts, but there are times I welcome it, because it means I haven’t forgotten him. It means that, in one way, he’s still here, because the memories are still fresh.

Because I’ve lost enough pets over the years to know that many times forgetting hurts just as much as remembering.

But sometimes, even when it’s been long enough that you think you have forgotten, the grief will hit you again, and the memories will come back. But it doesn’t ache quite the same way anymore. Instead of being like shards of glass shoved in your heart, it’s bittersweet. Because it means while the memories may not be fresh anymore, the memories are still there.

Grief is the price we pay for love by CGP Grey
Grief is the price we pay for love by CGP Grey

Recent Comments

  • Rebecca Bradley
    June 21, 2014 - 3:30 am · Reply

    I understand this so much. I lost my ten year old Springer Spaniel in January really suddenly. I miss her terribly. The house felt as though it had lost it’s soul.

    Only a month later I was put on long term sick – unrelated – and my family, unable to bear the empty house, no feeding bowls or bed in the kitchen, no sound of padding paws following us around, pleaded for a puppy. I didn’t want one. I didn’t want to replace her but they couldn’t cope so I had stipulations. Not the same colouring but a similar dog.

    We have a golden Cockerpoo now. And he’s a boy! Which I didn’t expect. Totally different but with those spaniel ears 🙂

    I miss Bobbie. I see her every day. She’s my phone wallpaper and my laptop wallpaper, but having a new dog in the house is lovely. You may not think you’re ready, but you have love to give and you’ll never ever forget the one you lost. Ever. He will always be in your heart x

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About Rebekah

Rebekah Loper writes character-driven epic fantasy featuring resilient women in trying and impossible circumstances who just want to save themselves but usually end up saving the world, often while falling in love.
She lives in Tulsa, OK with her husband, dog, two formerly feral cats, a small flock of feathered dragons (...chickens. They're chickens), and an extensive tea collection. When she's not writing, she battles the Oklahoma elements in an effort to create a productive, permaculture urban homestead.