Sunday 9 October 2011

On bereavement

So, bereavement then.

As a hard-hearted double-macho bastard (and, more importantly, so far a lucky one), I've not experienced much of it in my life. Curiously enough, I know a bit about it, though, as my dad runs a local church bereavement support scheme so I've sort of absorbed some of that knowledge down the years.

As regular readers will know, my cat had to be put to sleep on Friday and that made me very sad. But I'm worried I'm not being sad enough. Yes, I wept like a child as soon as I got back from being brave at the vet's. And yes, there's the standard things: was that noise him? Is that him there? I'd better not leave that out, he'll do that in it and so on. But, and it pains me to say it, at the moment every time I remember he's not about any more it's coming as a bit of a relief as much as anything else.

For the last year or so of his life he'd become a bit of an invalid, really. He'd done it in a cunningly gradual way, so as to trick us all into not seeing the obvious truth that his quality of life had gone. I don't, won't and haven't felt bad for making the decision I did, even for a single second. It was the right thing to do. However, I increasingly find myself in turmoil about whether or not I should feel sadder.

In many ways, Charlie had been a spent force for a long time. A bit of a burden, even. I can't begin to tell you how much I hate myself for thinking or writing all these things, but they ARE true. It didn't mean my feelings for the old bugger changed. I suppose that all of the pain and suffering (on both sides) in his final months makes his passing easier.

And yet this nagging bloody thought still won't leave me be. In a way, I'd like just once to walk into a room and miss him so much I just burst into tears. But I really don't think it's going to happen. I honestly don't know whether or not I'm willing to accept that.


Anonymous said...

I found a Henry hair in my coat a few weeks ago, months after we had him put to sleep. I keep finding them all the time now, but now they make me smile. I think once a certain time has passed it becomes easier. It's certainly easier with another two rescue cats. Even if I do keep calling Jerry, "Henry".

Chris O said...

Yeah, don't feel bad about that, friend. You're feelings are always appropriate no matter what they are, because deep down there's a part of your subconscious that just dictates your response without you thinking about it, therefore it's a true response because of who you are and how well you knew the deceased.

OK, I realise that probably sounded like pretentious guff, but let me put it another way. My Mum died back in January, Dad died in 2005. Occasionally I'll think I'm not keeping them closer to mind on a daily basis, but the fact is sometimes a particular situation or spoken phrase will instinctively remind me of either of them and, as 5olly said, that memory is almost always one that makes me smile.

So my advice is, don't feel like you have to mourn more or in a particular way. There will be times when you feel sad, rest assured, but there are no hard and fast rules about you should feel at any given time. No-one's judging you, so just be yourself.

I'll shut up now.

vicky said...

I'm sorry about your cat :(

When I was about 5 years old I was given my first pet, a little grey kitten called Johnny who was run over outside the house within a few weeks.
I knew I was meant to be upset, and I was sad but probably more interested in the facts of it all, and my friend who lived next door was sad too and we cried alot together and it was somehow a competition that the more tears you shed the more Johnny meant to you and the more of a loving, genuine, better person you were.
And now I'm thinking about all the pets we've lost over the last 40 years, blimey, it's alot, and I don't know what point I was going to make.
Sorry xx


You have reached the bottom of the internet