What Losing a Pet Taught me About Life

On the day my sweet cat Holly passed away, we sat together in my room with sun shining through the window listening to Death Cab for Cutie croon the phrase, “Every plan is a tiny prayer to Father Time.”

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I will forever miss our beautiful Holly.

That statement had never been so true as it was in that moment. In all honesty, I never thought the day would come that I would have to put my best feline friend down. With pets, it sometimes feels as though they’ll always be there waiting for you to come home. But at 16 years old, our cat was suffering and we knew it was our time to say goodbye.

Although at first I felt a bit overdramatic with the amount of crying I did the few days before and after her passing, I was surprised to find that I was not alone in mourning the loss of a pet. I looked it up and found that just like any death, I was experiencing the stages of grief.

Of those stages of grief, I find myself vacillating between “Depression” and “Resolution”. Somewhere between sobbing because I missed my Holly and wishing she could be with me again, I found myself learning a valuable lesson about life.

That lesson is that the time we do have with our pets, our family, our friends and even passing strangers is the most precious commodity we’ve been given. And with that time, we should do our best to be grateful for those who show us love and never take them for granted.

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Part of me knew this before my cat passed away. It’s why every day before I left my house I made sure to kiss her on the head and call out a parting, “Goodbye kitten!” It’s why even when I knew I had to be out the door in 10 minutes, I’d spend five of those minutes petting her. It’s why in the middle of the night when I went to the washroom and she’d wake up with a “mrrp” (a legitimate sound she would make) I would sit down and pet her back to sleep. I knew those moments with my aging cat were precious, and yet I did not apply this same philosophy to the rest of the people in my life.

As someone whose life is filled with spectacular people, I’ve realized it’s important to treat everyone with as much love as you can give. And sure, sometimes I falter in that love and appreciation. Sometimes I get mad or petty or cruel. But it’s important to forgive and empathize and love each other.

So if there’s one word of advice I can give to those of you reading this it’s to hold your pet a little tighter, kiss your loved ones a little longer, and cherish each moment a little more. You may regret wasting time, but time spent loving others will never be wasted.

 

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12 thoughts on “What Losing a Pet Taught me About Life

  1. Beautifully written, Emily! I’m so sorry for your loss, our pets are our family – but it sounds like you are using your grief in the most positive and constructive way possible! So impressive! 🙂

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    • Thank you so much Emma, I really appreciate it! Grief is hard, but knowing how much good there is in this world reminds me to be positive. Thank you for your kind words!

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  2. Great post! This is such a good mindset to live by. I wish I had appreciated my dog more before we had to put him down.

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  3. Emily, this is absolutely beautiful. I am so sorry for your loss and I wish I had the opportunity to meet your very special feline friend. I am also very close with my pets and understand the grief you have been feeling. Please do not ever forget that I am here for you and love you very much. I’m sure Holly did as well. That being said, I am very glad to hear that you are using this as a learning experience and are seeing the silver lining in such a dark situation. May Holly rest in the utmost peace and tranquility. ❤

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    • Thank you so very much Kallysta. As my cat loving friend I know you recognize how hard it is to lose one of our furry felines. But thank you for being so sweet and understanding, it’s so appreciated.

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  4. Ugh Emily, this made me cry! My girl is getting up there and I honestly can’t imagine. But just think you were her whole entire life 🙂 beautifully written em!

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