Thursday, August 23, 2018

Saying Goodbye is Hard ~ Loosing a Pet

About a week ago we found ourselves faced with saying goodbye to one of our beloved kitties.  Izzers had been a part of our family for 12 years.  She passed away, in the middle of the night, unexpectedly.

She had no issues that were known.  But we believe that being a fourteen year old cat, it was old age and a sudden heart attack.

It doesn't matter if it is a person or a pet we are saying goodbye to, saying goodbye is a hard thing to do.  Add in having to explain it all to the kids what had happened, where she was going to go, and about a thousand other questions.

I, though having grown up with pets, have not had to say goodbye to a pet or been faced with being the one there when they died.  All of our pets faced old age and at the end euthanizing was decided upon.  However, I was not at home for most them being away at college or out on my own.  My mom and dad walked this path and then told us about it.

And yes, the first person I called was mom when we found Izzers.  I had know idea what to do, but also new my oldest would be awake in a half hour.  We were not expecting any of this.

Leaving us to wonder why.  Why now.

In some ways, we were able to help relate it to the passing of my hubby's grandma, the kids' great grandma.  However, we were all able to say goodbye and knew it was only a matter of time.  She had chosen to be cremated.  We went to her funeral to finish saying goodbye.  All during this time our oldest was asking questions, but yet had an ability to really understand, even for only being almost 5.

We talked about heaven before and so we talked about how she was up in heaven now.  Still got a handful of questions over time, but they slowly stopped.  More recently, we found out that my parents' cat had died.  So when we told the kids (because they like to see him when visit or when we chat on skype) that Corky had died, he was in heaven.

So when Izzers died, we could relate some of the things back to path we had walked.  My hubby and I had loaded up Izzers into her carrier before the kids got up.  So when my oldest came down, he asked why the carrier.  We explained we were taking Izzers to the vet because she had died.  He made the choice to have her ashes returned to us.  At this point we haven't gotten them back yet and don't know where they will go once we do.  But it was something he had asked for.  We said Corky and Izzers were together, and maybe even Great Grandma was holding them both.

We also used the book, which we have read many times, "Chester Raccoon: An Acorn Full of Memories" to help guide us in a direction.  In the book, Chester looses his friend Skiddle Squirrel because he was in an accident.  Chester's Mom showed him and the other forest friends how to make a memory of Skiddle.  So, I made the suggest to my oldest that we make a memory.  His choice was a stuff animal cat that he felt reminds him of Izzers. 

It has only been a week, but the "I miss Izzers Mom" has faded away.  I think it will take me a bit longer to adjust because of how long she had been with us and the routines that we had set up that are now changed.

I know, I have two kids.  My youngest hasn't been mentioned much in this post.  That is because, being 2 1/2, as of now, he doesn't seemed concerned by any of it.  He has asked a few questions or has said, when Izzers comes home. But for the most part he has just kept right on going as if nothing had changed.

That being said, when the day comes that we loose our other cat, we will be faced with a different reaction I am guessing.  You see, Izzers was our kitty who would generally hide away when the kids were up.  She would be on a different floor from them.  They rarely got to pet her, maybe once or twice total.  Cole on the other hand, he is our more social, pet me, snuggle me, I want to hang out with you type of cat.  So, while we do things similar, there may need to be a few tweaks made and even a longer process time.

Saying goodbye is hard.  Dealing with grief is tough.  How do you help your kids work through their grief?  How do you face having to say goodbye for the last time?

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