Have you lost a four-legged family member and it’s breaking your heart into pieces? You’re not alone!!! Those amazing creatures listen to us, snuggle us when we need it and love us unconditionally. Whenever I lose a four-legged family member, I feel like I’ve lost part of myself.
During the beginning of the pandemic, in the Spring of 2020 my nursing school went online and all of our courses were virtual. As much as this pandemic has been detrimental, I couldn’t have been more thankful to be working on school from home. During this time, my cat that I found behind my moms shed, when I was a sophomore in high school was a minimum of 14 years old because that was just the time I had him. During that spring, he started to slowly lose weight and I knew that awful time was coming. Eddy, my cat had been with me through heart breaks, life lessons and beautiful times. Because my school switched to virtual learning I was able to snuggle Eddy during my classes and studying. I was able to spend double the amount of time with him while that dreadful time creeped up on us. He snuggled into my armpit while I sat in on my virtual courses and I wouldn’t trade those last few months with him for anything.
Let me tell you a little about this cat. When I found him behind my moms shed when I was a sophomore, I had just lost a kitten (roughly 1-2 years old). So, I thought it was my lost kitten that was cornered by the dogs but it was not, it was this cat that was soon going to be named Eddy. He was sitting there terrified, skin and bones so I brought him a left over can of cat food. I went and checked on him maybe 5 minutes later, he was just finishing the can of food. Right then and there, that cat had my heart; I swooped him up and put him in my garage. I called my mom to tell her, “don’t open the garage…. I found a kitty and put him in there to keep him safe.”
I had put up flyers after finding him but never heard anything (I was secretly, not so secretly ecstatic that no one reached out). Eddy slept in my room from that night on. He had to sleep in my armpit under the blankets and would tap me with his paw ( sometimes a little bit of nails included if I was ignoring him) until I pulled up the covers for him to go under.
Now that I’ve described how our relationship developed, it’s understandable that Eddy broke my heart in two when he passed. I felt this wave of darkness wash over me because I felt like I just lost my best friend, my snuggle buddy, my little heater. So, I came up with a coping strategy.
What I did to cope with losing my four-legged friend🐾♥️
I started my coping by getting Eddy cremated and asked to have a clay paw imprint made. But I still felt like a hole had been ripped out of my heart so I started looking for other ways to cope when I came up with this idea.
I used this app called Photobooks (no affiliation) and put together all of the photos I had taken of Eddy over the last 14 years. Bonus! All I had to pay for was shipping for this photobook. The Photobook app allows for you to put together a free photobook once a month and just pay for shipping. It felt like a win there! Once I received Eddy’s photobook, I took out a journal and wrote a list of all the things I love and am going to miss about my cat Eddy. Once I was finished writing down everything I could think of and balled my eyes out so much while writing I was surprised there were even words left of the page. I tore the page out of the journal and put it in Eddy’s photobook where it stays to this day.
Once in awhile, when I’m missing him most I’ll pullout his Photobook and read over what I wrote. Remembering all of the memories that we shared together and it makes the heart ache, ache just a little less.
I highly encourage anyone who is struggling with the loss of a four legged family member to try out this coping mechanism. It truly has helped me tremendously and I plan on utilizing this coping method when I lose my animals, from here on out.