I’ve noticed, over the past few days, noticeable signs that I’m starting to feel a little bit more like normal. I’m not close to being back to my usual self yet (and I will always be forever changed now anyway), but the movement is in that direction, which I am glad about. As I’ve said a number of times over the past few days, that raises it’s own set of guilty feelings where I feel bad because I’m feeling a bit better, like it means I don’t care enough. I guess that this is normal too.
I still feel pretty bad when I wake in the morning. I feel like I want to go back to sleep because when I’m asleep I’m not grieving, at least not conciously so. When I wake up though I’m soon hit by the fact that it’s another day without Stan being there. The thought of going downstairs is painful because now, instead of opening the door to the utility room and being greeted by his little back arching up to be stroked before being fed, he’s not there. In fact, none of his things are in there any more. And it’s the same at nighttime – that same loss of routine. I miss saying goodnight to him, knowing he was safe before I went upstairs to bed. It’s affecting me a little less each day, but it’s going to take time before I reach whatever the new equillibrium will be.
While I’ve spent quite a lot of time this week reading articles on pet-loss grief, one thing has occured to me about how the type of animal you have lost can have quite a profound effect on how it affects your life. I misss my interactions with Stan, the daily routines, doing the things I enjoyed, and the things he enjoyed, seeing him in the places he liked to sit and sleep. One of the things I’d not really considered before is how the loss of some animals can bring with them a whole other set of losses. Dog owners talk about how they suddenly lose all the interactions they would have when out walking their pet, and there must be other examples with other animals too, perhaps not seeing the other people at the stables where your horse or pony was kept for instance, or purchasing the food for an exotic pet from a specialist store. These don’t diminish how I’ve been affected by the loss of Stan, but in some ways, the independent nature of cats can mean that these other relationships and interactions are reduced in some cases.
Here’s Stan sat atop a cushion on the sofa at the back of the living room. He would often choose to sit here if I was sat reading a book or something. I miss the way he would follow me around the house very much indeed.