Grief is an odd thing to deal with. Our cat was killed on Thursday night on the road outside our house. He had only had him 2 years and he was only 5 years old. For some people they would say “but it’s just a cat” and they would be right. It isn’t the end of the world but it still hurts.
We first had TJ at the farm house we lived in when we moved to the North of Scotland. There was a road but it was a very small, quiet country road. However, there wasn’t a month that went past and a dead farm cat would be seen on the verge but we felt fairly confident our cat had come from a town and would be safe enough on the less busy roads of the countryside. Then we had to move. We moved to a nice village but on the edge of the main road running in and out of the village. It did concern us that the cat would get hit by a car. At first TJ didn’t seem to venture across the road choosing to stick to the fields on the side of the road that we live. For 18 months he seemed to know not to go on the road. Then he started to venture onto the road and across to the fields. His road sense wasn’t great choosing to sit in the middle of the road frequently. I would often look out the window in the morning when first getting up to see if there was anything on the road that I didn’t want to see. All was good. There was the odd occasion TJ wasn’t sat on the doorstep in the mornings and K would go off looking for him. On the morning that it happened K didn’t tell me TJ wasn’t home yet.
K had seen something in the road and took the long walk up the hill to find our cat laying there. It must have been heartbreaking and the wanting for it not to be true so dominant in his mind.
It’s upsetting but we think it was quick and he hadn’t been hit lots of times just a glancing blow.
O was very upset on Friday when we told him. We buried TJ in the back garden and will plant a tree in memory.
Then the question of do we get another cat (too soon maybe but a natural question children ask after the death of a pet). Now this is the hard bit. On Friday at work my head knew that getting another cat that goes outside of the house was not a possibility, no family wants to go through the heart ache of losing a pet every other month. As a family we have never been keen on keeping house cats. But I started to read some websites and found that more and more people are moving towards house cats because of the dangers of FIV and the roads. My eldest daughter has a house cat and she seems to do really well. Could be a possibility for us… But, we like to have the back door open for the dog to go in and out, we have a 10 year old boy that although he wasn’t born in a barn doesn’t know how to shut a door. Would it be really possible to keep a house cat without fear of escape and further heart ache.
So my head knew all of this. My heart is a very different matter. I had let TJ in. I had allowed myself to feel and not keep him at arms length. Therefore I have a hole where he should be now and it hurts. No it can’t be filled by another pet (head knows this) but it would help (heart says).
Then K drops the “we aren’t having another cat” comment. Head knows why – to walk up the road and retrieve your dead pet must be devastating and K (who doesn’t like cats) was attached to TJ. Heart is hurt – how dare he make this decision for us as a family. That isn’t fair. Just because he is at home all the time so is the prime carer for our pets he can’t make that decision. I didn’t choose to be the one that has to go to work every day. It’s not fair!!!
K said we can have another dog. That is lovely and something I have asked about for over a year. But there is no joy in it now. O wants a puppy for his own. But TJ was meant to be my pet we had him just before my birthday 2 years ago.
So lots of stupid emotions running around and I guess if you consulted books or tried to analyse the feelings they would be called grief. That inability to change something that is unfair, the anger, the disappointment, the feeling of not being settled any more, something is missing, physical ache in your chest that you can’t shift, a feeling you can’t shake. Just the same feelings experienced before in other grief situations and I am sure will be experienced many more times in life. It still isn’t fair though.
Am I crying just for the loss of the family cat. Partly yes. Partly no. The grief feelings bring back the memories of other losses and the fear of future loss.
Tears are the silent language of grief – Voltaire
One thing I do know, my knitting is now safe…