*Sigh*. The last two weeks have been the hardest I’ve faced in a long time. I normally don’t like to get all super “real” about “real life stuff” here on my writing/reading blog, but today…I’ve just got to get it all out. My pet rats are very ill and I have been very emotional in dealing with it all. My husband tells me that I’ve been healthily dealing with the stress, grief, etc., what have you, but I’m still feeling very “raw” and sad.

When you lose a pet as a child, it can be devastating, yes, but I’m convinced (in my experience) that losing a pet as an adult may be far worse. I read an article somewhere once that said the relationship between a human and pet is so close in part because it is filled with wholly unconditional love that is strengthened (usually) by the absence of relational complications. I thought that was right on. I love my pets so much and finding out that both of them were sick unhinged me. I have cried so much in the last few days.

I’m tired. I’m burnt out. My house is a mess and I have this urge to stop everything and just clean it within an inch of its life. I haven’t written in days. My allergies are going nuts with all this springtime pollen nonsense. I feel sick. I’m…just tired.

Sorry to be so “down” today, but it’s gotten too hard to keep up the brave face and the productivity. Yesterday all I could manage was a blog post and my Maiedae work. Today, I’m not entirely sure what all I’ll get done, but I will still try to work. I had no idea that watching my sweet, precious furry babies wind down their lives would upset me so much. I should have known, I suppose. I have an enormous heart and love for animals. I’m a bit in denial that it’s happening; that soon, my sweet rats may not be here with me anymore. I won’t always see their happy little faces jump to the walls of their house to see me when I walk into my office.

It’s too much.

It’s too hard.

But…as too much and too hard as it is…I know that this is the way of things. The natural end of all living creatures is death. I have tried my best to give them as wonderful a life as I could. I wish, now, that I’d held them more (though I played with them every day). I wish, now, that I’d given them more treats. I wish, I wish, I wish. I blame myself for missing signs. I blame myself for not doing enough. In the end, though, I know that this is natural. There is nothing more I could have done, most likely. It is what it is.

As sad and tired as I am today. It’s not over. There are decisions to be made. Last night, I might have held one of my rats for the last time (she’s too weak to be picked up today). There are goodbyes to be said. Tears to be shed. As much grief as I’m feeling now, the end hasn’t come yet and there will be more grieving ahead.

Since I know it’s Wednesday, but I can’t muster the will to post normal, writerly things, here are some posts related to pets and letting them go when it’s their time:

Dealing with illness in or the death of a pet:

>> Dealing with terminal illness and grief

>> Anticipating the loss of a pet

>> Coping with the death of your pet

I know many of you have been here before. You’ve gone through it and come out on the other side. I appreciate your wisdom and words of comfort. For any of you who are going through this pain now, I am there with you. I pray that your sweeties will not suffer in their final days and that the end of their journey will be peaceful. I pray the same for my dear ones.

Let’s Get Real // Wednesday Wanderment
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  • I’m so sorry. I know how hard it is to lose pets. In the last two years we’ve lost a cat, two dogs, and two gerbils. It’s been hard every time, for the whole family. And I agree–the pets I’ve lost as an adult have been harder than the ones when I was a kid.

    It sounds like what you need is a break! You need to give yourself permission to not feel guilty about not writing, too. I did that last January–I gave myself a month off. I spent the whole month deep-cleaning and organizing my house and didn’t write at all, except for a few blog posts. It did me so much good!

    • Thank you for your sweet words, Kat! I think you may be right. I think today, I’m going to focus on resting, cleaning, and taking a break.

  • Losing a pet is hard. Back in 2010, I lost a cat I’d had since I was a child and… even now after 3 years I have trouble thinking about it with a clear mind. She was old, she was very sick, and in the end, I had no choice but to put her to sleep before she suffered any more than she had. I went through a period of blaming myself. If only I’d brought her to the vet sooner, if only I hadn’t moved with her to a new apartment when I knew the move would stress her out, if only I hadn’t accepted for my roomate to also bring her cat (which stressed my poor cat even more and probably led to a quicker decline… maybe). But in the end, the truth is it was her time to go. She gave me 17 years of unconditionnal love and affection and it was my gift to her to let her go. But you mourn the loss of a pet the way you would the death of a person. It takes time. You cry; you blame yourself; you try telling yourself you should be fine. And you heal. Taking walks help. Not being afraid to cry also helps. Writing helps. And, most of all, time helps.

    I still dream of my sweet cat once in a while.

    • I’m so sorry about your sweet cat! I actually just got back from a walk. I agree that they do help and I may have to take many more in the near future…

  • Strange how much we love and miss the animals who come and go in our lives. My fish pond became the victim of a misdirected lawn sprinkler that ran in too much chlorinated water. I cried like a baby when I cleared out the dead fish and realized I had come to know each individual in the five years they came to the surface to greet me every morning when I brought their food. Our little 13 year old Maltese died a couple of weeks ago and we still tear up when we talk about him. I’m sure there are people who don’t understand this depth of attachment to non-human creatures, but it’s very real. Sending empathy as you go through this with your rats.

    • Thank you, Holly. I’m so sorry about your fish and your precious dog!

  • Kelli

    Oh Ms. Leah!
    so sorry to hear of your sadness!

    Praying for peace & comfort as you grieve.
    Sending you love and warm thoughts.

    • Thank you, Mrs. Kelli! I’m hoping it will be over soon and she’ll be at peace.


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