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By Chandrama Anderson

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About this blog: I am a LMFT specializing in couples counseling and have lived in and around Palo Alto since 1969. I worked in high-tech at Apple, Stanford University, and in Silicon Valley for 15 years before becoming a therapist. My background i...  (More)

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Our Cat Died

Uploaded: Oct 13, 2016
Our beloved cat, Little, died. He was 14. While I try to remember all the sweet and loving times with him purring in my lap - and I do part of the time - I remember the last day when I found him and he was nearly dead already. I was shaking so badly I wasn’t sure I could drive him to the vet. But like a good mom, I managed.

He was fine the night before. And then he was gone. All of his intestines were enlarged and he had sepsis in his belly.

The thing about new grief is that is brings up old grief. The old grief is stimulated – physiologically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. As I mentioned recently, it’s been 18 years since my daughter died. And less than two years since mom died. And I miss my grandparents who died when I was in my 40s (I was lucky to have them so long). It brings up the grief of miscarriages. And so on. I miss my son, who is alive and well, and at college.

What we do when grieving is take really good care of ourselves. Say yes or no when those answers are the best self-care. Allow others to care for and support us. Being really, really, really close to my husband is a huge help. His physical presence, love, and warmth calms me even though he is sad, too. As a couple it is imperative that we are in each others’ care. In the good times, and the hard times. Keeping in close contact with my son helps us both.

I’ve been working with an endocrinologist to get my thyroid levels corrected. He was so caring on the phone yesterday when we had a regular appointment to talk about my health. We ended up talking about Little, and he acknowledged the love and bond, and that it’s losing part of the family. He talked about grief affecting hormone levels in the body, too.

Good friends of mine have been doing an annual Day of the Dead grief ritual for nearly 20 years. It’s on November 5th. You can get further information.

Our culture doesn’t like death or grief. We don’t like to talk about it or deal with it. However, grief doesn’t go away. If it’s not addressed, it goes inward, and comes out one way or another. You can “deaden” yourself, or be up and happy and ignore it. But it takes a toll on all of your systems. Many people get ill and don’t know why. Many people’s relationships change somehow, but they don’t know why.

Dealing with grief isn’t easy. It’s messy and painful. And human. And necessary.


Comments

 +   8 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood,
on Oct 14, 2016 at 11:37 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Hugs from my wife and I and our glorious 14 year old Abby named Petra.


 +   2 people like this
Posted by Chandrama Anderson, a Mountain View Online blogger,
on Oct 14, 2016 at 4:35 pm

Chandrama Anderson is a registered user.

Thanks for the hugs, Peter. Enjoy Petra every moment.


 +   2 people like this
Posted by Marc Vincenti, a resident of Barron Park,
on Oct 15, 2016 at 2:23 pm

Marc Vincenti is a registered user.

Please accept my condolences, Chandrama. I know the feelings of a cat-lover. What a beautiful photo of Little! I'm so sorry for your loss.
M.V.


 +   3 people like this
Posted by pogo, a resident of Woodside: other,
on Oct 15, 2016 at 8:06 pm

pogo is a registered user.

Sincere condolences, Chandrama. You are correct that our society refuses to discuss death. I never understood why people say "passed on" or "passed away" instead of simply saying "died." It's not an evil word.

I once saw Mandy Patinkin interviewed and he said that once a year he reads the name of every person he's known who is now dead. He does that because for one moment each year, he wants them to know someone remembers them. Ever since I heard him say that, I've done it, too. I say mine on New Year's Eve.


 +   2 people like this
Posted by milkweedlake, a resident of Barron Park,
on Oct 17, 2016 at 10:59 am

milkweedlake is a registered user.

My deepest sympathies for the loss of your beautiful Little.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Chandrama Anderson, a Mountain View Online blogger,
on Oct 23, 2016 at 12:39 pm

Chandrama Anderson is a registered user.

Thank you all for your kind words. I am hopeful you will love those around you every day; make sure they know. Remembering each year loved ones who have died is gift to you and to them. I am still sad. I just came back from a vacation, and the house is empty without Little. He would always come near, meow, and then sit with his back to me at first because he didn't like that I was gone. Soon he would turn around for loves and lots of holding and purring.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by milkweedlake, a resident of Barron Park,
on Oct 23, 2016 at 2:04 pm

milkweedlake is a registered user.

I read a book a few months ago called The Light Between Us. Not a perfect read but there were sections that I found extremely moving. Chapter 20, "The Trapped Bee," and the final chapter deal especially with animals. Wishing you healing for your aching heart.


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