Guilt after traumatic death

Posted by: Julie Gray Posts: 2 - Joined: Sun Oct 25th, 2020 09:10 am

#1304 - by Julie Gray >> Sun Oct 25th, 2020 10:55 am

I am writing on this forum to express my grief from the loss of my beautiful cat Fanny, who died less than 2 days ago. She was only born in July 2019 and we've had her since she was 7weeks old. I literally took her to the vets on Tuesday for her 12-month vaccination and I cannot believe I am writing this today.
She was a beautiful, funny, loving, independent girl, who loved to play out. She had a routine and would be in and out throughout the day, usually coming home to stay between 8-9pm each evening. However, on Thursday 22nd October there were fireworks going off all around, so I decided to go looking for her. Both myself and my son went out the front and shouted of her when we heard a shrill cry. We initially thought it was coming from the bush at the right side, however, we soon learned that she was under a car next door, where she had dragged herself to shelter. Her cries sounded different and I knew she was hurt when she didn't come to us immediately, she was so loving and loved us as much as we loved her. At this point the panic was starting as we tried to reach her and couldn’t, my husband then joined us and our neighbour whose car she was under also came out to help.
My husband managed to gently drag her out and we put her onto a towel, however, this caused her pain. I carried her in my arms into the house and she was looking straight into my eyes with her beautiful face, but I could see she was in pain. I now have so much guilt about moving her and wonder if I have caused more damage, which is killing me.
Whilst my husband rang the emergency vet which would take a 40 drive to get to. Fanny was trying to crawl around the room, dragging her back end and panting due to the pain. She was opening her mouth as if to scream but with no sound and we were helpless to do anything to stop it. Myself and my son, who has been amazing, had to pick her up and gently place her into the bed/carrier to transport her to the vets. I could see that this was causing further pain and damage and she started throwing herself and panting heavily. We were all heartbroken watching this, our poor baby in this pain. What an hour ago she was happily playing out....why?
I then gently placed her into the back seat of the car and sat beside her, talking and touching her head gently, however I didn't want to keep touching her as I might hurt her and she appeared to have gotten little body into a comfortable position. The next time I checked her I realised that she had passed away. Although at this point and quiet stupidly, I still hoped and prayed we could save her. I have terrible guilt that I was not touching her when she passed and that she didn't know I was there.
When we eventually got to the vets, my husband picked her up in her bed. He told me she had passed, but then thought her eye had moved, which again gave us hope. As we walked into the vets, they were waiting for us and she went straight through with my husband. I was too distressed and waited in reception where I had a panic attack. The nurses were very kind to me.
I heard talking through the door and an x-ray was mentioned, my first thought was she's still alive and there is something they can do to save her. This was not the case and my husband told me she had sadly passed in the car (I knew this deep in my heart, but I was in denial).
The vet allowed me to hold my girl and cut some fur from her, which she put into a small vial to keep. She then gave us three options; take her home to bury in our garden, cremate with other pets or cremate alone and keep the ashes. My 15 year old son was at home looking after our dog, who is terrified of fireworks (I also have guilt that we had to leave him at home in distress, waiting for news) so I wanted to ask him what he wanted to do, but I didn't want to walk back into the house with our fur baby dead, causing further distress to him.
The vet was amazing and offered to drop her off at our house after her night shift, which is the option my son chose. We buried her in our garden yesterday after spending a few hours talking, stroking, cuddling and crying with her.
It is now just two and half days ago and I feel guilt, pain, indescribable grief and loss that I don't know how I'll ever get through. My son has been heartbroken, but such a massive support and I know I'm the adult and should be the strong one but I'm in pieces and can't find a way through this grief. My husband is different and grieves differently to us. It is also covid 19 lockdown and we're currently in tier 3, so I am unable to see friends or family. The clocks went back last night and I am dreading the dark nights, my baby would be here sprawled out in front of the fire, purring blissfully next to her big dog sister but she's not, she's no longer going to make those funny little chirping sounds as she runs around the house, I won’t hear her footsteps on the stairs as she comes to bed, see her happily biting and chasing her toys, talking to me when she wanted feeding or jumping on the windowsill to come in. I am so consumed with grief that I don't know how I'll ever get over this. Any advice support will be greatly welcomed.
Posted by: Admin Posts: 72 - Joined: Wed Jun 8th, 2011 01:05 am

#1305 - by Admin >> Tue Oct 27th, 2020 12:00 pm

Dear Julie,

I am sorry to hear about your loss. Fanny was clearly much loved and your bond so strong. Sadly guilt is one of the many emotions that often accompany grief.

I am also sorry that this forum does not get much engagement anymore. We have a private Facebook group which, if you use Facebook, you should join. The group is very supportive and understanding, all like-minded pet carers. See here:

I hope that the information on this website and our blog is helpful to you at the moment. You can also communicate with the Pet Bereavement Support Service and others shown here:

Grieving takes different forms and timeframes for different people. It can be difficult to believe early on yet for many, in time, they are able to move forward, to feel better. Not to forget but for their grief to sit more lightly. I wish this for you too, in time.

Warm regards,

The Ralph Site Admin
Posted by: Michelle Ball Posts: 66 - Joined:

#1306 - by Michelle Ball >> Mon Nov 2nd, 2020 10:53 pm

Dear Julie

I'm so sorry to hear of your loss - I can tell Fanny was an extremely well loved pet. It is such a distressing experience losing a beloved pet, as I read your words so much resonates with me. The overwhelming sense of loss, guilt and sadness. It's all so intense that it feels you will never overcome the grief and guilt. But I promise, in time, you will start to feel brighter and your grief will lift.

The love you and your family have for Fanny really shines through, she obviously had a wonderful, loving home. Always remind yourself of this.

Sadly, we cannot look into the future and prevent tragedies from happening. If only we could control what happens to our pets when we are not around. What happened to Fanny is a terribly sad, but you had no way of preventing it, so please be kind to yourself. Unfortunately, guilt is a natural part of the grieving process, and the sense of guilt and loss can be exceptionally hard to work through. But you will.

I felt exactly the same as you do - that I could never comes to terms with my loss, that the guilt and sadness would never pass. The grieving process can be a very challenging one, but you will, in time, be left with happy memories of Fanny without the intense grief you are experiencing now.

I would strongly recommend contacting The Blue Cross as they offer a free pet bereavement counselling service. The details can be found on their website. If you don't want to telephone, they can provide counselling by email - which is my preferred choice.

The grief process is different for everyone, so just "go with it". In my experience, it took months, sometimes getting worse before getting better. It can sometimes feel one step forward, two back but you will work through it. I promise.

Take care and remember to share how you're feeling either on here, or on the Ralph Site facebook page.

Many, many pet owners know exactly what you are going through, and have been there themselves.

Best wishes

Posted by: Julie Gray Posts: 2 - Joined: Sun Oct 25th, 2020 09:10 am

#1307 - by Julie Gray >> Tue Nov 3rd, 2020 11:31 am

Thank you for your kind words,
I am still feeling lost without her but not crying quite as much. She was so special to all of us, I still feel her on my bed at night. I know time will help but she is in my heart, which is broken at the minute and I don't feel it will ever stop aching for my beautiful girl.
In life there are certain pets that you never forget, especially whilst growing up and I know Fanny will stay in my heart always.
Unfortunately I'm not on Facebook but I will contact the Blue cross for support, as anything will help at present especially your kind words ,which have comforted me.
Take care
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