What Happens When Your Pet Dies

cat, kitten, kitty, bengal, pet, death, sad, broken, heart, cry, painI was traumatized at a young age. My cat was poisoned and I found him dead in the garage. I decided to never get attached to another animal if I could help it. I was too young then to really register the feelings that I felt on that horrific day. All I know is that I cried and cried until I had no tears left.

I thought I would never have to feel that level of pain again…

I met Marbel 11 years ago. She was the cutest little Bengal kitten I had ever seen. She looked more like a tiger than a cat. I watched her grow as a kitten and I became closer to her as she grew up.

It wasn’t always the best relationship. When I first became a “regular” visitor to Marbel, she hated me. She would jump on my face in the middle of the night and terrorize me as if to let me know that her owner was to be hers, and only hers, forever and ever.

I couldn’t believe the nerve of this cat. And I couldn’t believe my partner had raised such a spoiled brat. Time went on, and you could say I grew on her.

We shared weekends together snuggling while her dad was away and she became a big part of my life. Even though she was terrible, I began to love her. She was an extension of the man I loved and she became an extension of me. I would even joke around that she was a cat version of me.

Marbel was always a very vocal cat. She would always talk just to listen to the sound of her own voice. She could be annoying but at some point, you just wanted love on her. Well, she hated that too. And although she was a rebel without a cause, you couldn’t help but love the little runt.

Last year, Marbel got progressively loud and irritable. We got a kitten Bengal (Mowgli) in efforts to make her happy and playful again. That never happened. She hissed at our new baby cat and would scream and cry through the night.

Things got progressively worse when she decided the entire house was a litter box. The sicker she got, the more I started to love her. I can’t explain what it was, but I wanted her to just be a happy kitten again.

The time came when my partner had to make a very difficult decision. Marbel was the true love of his life and the decision must have been the most painful of his life.

We lost Marbel last week. I didn’t get to say goodbye. I didn’t get to hug her one last time. It could have possibly been worse had I had those last moments with her. I did, however, give her water from the sink one last time. I do remember that moment, as I thought, “This might be the last time I turn on the faucet for you.”

I never understood the pain that comes with the loss of an animal until we lost Marbel. Although my childhood cat was poisoned so many years before, the pain this time around was unparalleled.

Marbel was our baby. She was an essential part of our lives. She was there for it all. She was there when I was desperately trying to get through grad school. She was there to comfort me when I was confronted with the ugly monster called Cancer.

She was there when my partner and I were at our happiest, saddest and even maddest. Marbel even had her own Christmas stocking and loved to sleep alongside her dad every night. She was like no other.

My sister said it best about losing her dog recently, “You’re just so busy loving them so hard that you never stop to think that one day they will be gone forever.” We know humans grow old and die, but we never stop to think that pets will do the same.

I was shattered when I heard the news. I couldn’t stop sobbing. Mostly because we often have to make a decision about our pets that we never have to make with humans. And it’s not fair. We will never know if they truly agreed with us. We will never know exactly what they felt in those last moments.

All I know is that I can’t stop crying when I think of her. I regret those days when I didn’t understand her yet. I miss those days when she would snuggle up next to me while I cried. She always knew how I felt. She always knew she was very loved.

I find myself calling out her name only to hear no response. The room is too quiet and my heart is too empty. The love of a pet goes deeper than the love of a human. I can’t explain how, but it does. Animals are such innocent creatures of the Universe and all they ever require is a whole lotta love.

I think of her precious face, and even her annoying meows, and it hurts. It will probably hurt forever. We built shelves and special beds for her throughout the house. She had her favorite spots even until the very end. And although she was upset most of the time, I know she always loved us as much as we loved her.

I still love you, Marbel, and I always will.

Love Deeply and Forever,

Karen

Why Being Social Sucks

social, socialize, sociaizing, network, networking,talk, share, awkward, connect, work, effort, dream, anxiety, smile, people, connect, connections, friends, different, discomfort, uncomfortable, bubble, antisocial, wrong, key, life, job, jobs, listen,open, heart, mark, talk, strangers, views, story, stories, work, smile, power, sucks, why,benefit, possibilities, benefits, I have never really been a social butterfly. I grew up an only child so the need to share was never present. Well, at least not until my sister was born. Even then, I don’t think I ever really grasped how to be or how to share anything with other people.

As I grew older, I was the awkwardly tall girl. I always felt like I was very different so I did everything in my power to not participate in events. I had my circle of friends somehow but I usually ended up being the odd one out.

I honestly don’t know what I was thinking. Socializing is the key to life. It can lead to networking, which is really just socializing with a purpose. It is how people land jobs they might have never even dreamed of. It is how you connect with people and reassure yourself that you’re never alone.

Once it was time for college, I decided to stay just as antisocial as before. This lead to never networking with the right people nor opening the right doors for myself.

I missed the mark. I often retreated to a lonely place. This created a lot of anxiety that was very difficult to shake in my later years. Now that I am in my late 20s, I realize I had it wrong all along.

But why did I refuse to be social all the years?

For one, being social requires sharing. You have to give to get. In order for people to be interested in you, you must share bits and pieces of your own life to gain rapport. And who likes to put in work? I never did.

Chances are, if you share something with someone, they will share something with you. This happens because sharing conveys vulnerability which can entice people to open up more as a result.

Two, being social requires listening. Who likes to listen? Only the smartest of people. I was so self-absorbed in my own little world to ever notice that other people’s views and stories are completely relevant and valuable.

Listening more and talking less can teach anyone things they maybe never knew or things they never thought they ever needed to know.

Three, being social requires a certain level of discomfort. Chitchatting with strangers is never going to be the most comfortable thing in the world. But chances are, the other person is are worried about what they’re going to say next than whatever is coming out of your mouth or how it sounds.

Once you get over that first stage of awkwardness, socializing stops being awkward and starts being constructive.

In retrospect, how lazy could one girl be? Socializing really requires little effort and a bit of discomfort. There should really be mandatory courses in school to help students understand the value and need for socializing.

Yes, being social takes some work. And yes, it requires some discomfort. It also provides benefits we sometimes fail to see because we are too busy living in our “bubbles.”

Now that I am older, I realize that I have to make an effort to socialize. A greater effort than ever before because I am no longer in school surrounded by hundreds or thousands of people on a daily basis.

But guess what? I am willing put in the effort now. It’s never too late, right?

The last few months I have made it my mission to be social. I have gone to events I would usually turn my back to and I have had a hell of a time doing it. Sure, I don’t need more friends, but it doesn’t hurt to make them. And if you can make a few more people smile during your lifetime, you can leave a greater mark than ever.

In the end, socializing is networking, and networking is power. Making connections early in life can really help you navigate the world later in life. Although the benefits of socializing/networking are not always obvious and/or immediate, the possibilities are endless once you decide to open up to others.

Choose to share. Choose to socialize. Choose to open your heart.

Love Deeply and Forever,

Karen