RIP Chloe Jean Bowman 07/07/2005-02/07/2021
Loss creates a profound sense of grief, sadness, heartache, emptiness, and so much more that it may feel unbearable at times. This intense combination of emotions can make everyday tasks quite challenging. There is no way to prepare yourself for loss, because no matter how much time you have with someone it is never enough. This statement holds painfully true with our pets. The connection we feel with our pet or pets is much like one feels towards their child. This fur baby was our child, our life, and our family.
Last week I told y’all about our sweet and precious cat, Chloe, who had two doctor’s appointments related to increased lethargy and rapid weight loss. We were told three years ago she was in the early-stage of kidney failure. Given she was on a doctor recommended kidney diet since that time, we did not understand the reason for her recent decline. After a physical exam, CT Scan, and bloodwork, we were told last Friday, February 5th, that she probably would not survive the weekend. Of course, we brought her home right away, made her as comfortable as we possibly could, and stayed with her every minute. Unfortunately, on Sunday, February 7th at 12:25, our beloved Chloe took her last breath.
We had Chloe since she was just a baby. Since the day we brought her home, she filled out hearts with nothing but love and joy. Chloe was always a petite cat, but she had a huge heart and personality. It is so easy to remember many funny memories of her silly adventures. If I were to share all those memories with you, I would be writing for days if not weeks, but I am going to share a few memories with you.
I can remember like it was yesterday the first day Chloe came into our life. She was the best and sweetest birthday present I ever received. My husband and I picked her out at the local PetSmart, where she stole our hearts. From the second she laid her head on my husband’s shoulder, she had him wrapped around her little paw. We had loaded her up in the truck, in the box, PetSmart provided and drove her to her new home. The minute she jumped out of the box and made the cutest little meow and she made that little apartment her new home! She would run around that small apartment like a bat out of hell and enjoyed every minute of it. We used to play with the red-light toy with her and she would try chasing it up the wall. It was hilarious to watch. That little girl would jump as high as the peephole in our front door to try catching the red dot, but never quite caught it.
My husband used to ball up a piece of paper and throw it for Chloe. She would then fetch the piece of paper and bring it back to him to throw for her again. I had never in my life seen a cat play fetch so well, but the two of them loved the game. Chloe played fetch better than any dog I have ever seen in my life. My husband trained her to do this and it was something great to witness.
I remember we had a fake tree in our apartment, which Chloe would climb when she was a baby; she did this several times as she got older. Considering she was an Indoor-only cat, she never got to experience climbing a real tree. It was a good thing she did not go outside and climb trees because once she was in that fake tree, she waited for one of us to get her down. I can picture Chloe outside climbing a real tree and crying for help and needing the fire department to come with a ladder to get her down.
There was a time we had gone to Old Navy shopping, so we had those huge bags when we got home. Somehow, I still do not know how Chloe got her little body attached to one and went flying through the apartment with the bag flying behind her. This created her fear of plastic bags for the rest of her life. Even though she was terrified of plastic bags, it was hysterical.
Considering I do live with Multiple Sclerosis, this does come with a massive amount of pain. Chloe knew where I hurt and would lay on that part of my body. If I had one of my headaches, Chloe would lay on my head until it eased up. When my legs were in out-of-control pain and tingling, Chloe would make it a point to lay on my legs to help these issues. I still find it amazing how on point Chloe’s instincts were and her strong desire to help me feel better, she truly was an amazing cat.
The numerous memories we have about Chloe are not easing our hurt and how much we miss her. I cannot get the image of her taking her last breath on my lap out of my mind. My thoughts go into a black hole with thinking could I have done something to help her more. Was it my fault she died because I told her it was okay to go and she did not have to keep fighting? If we had taken her to the doctor sooner, would she still be with us? Was her death, something we did or did not do?
Not everyone can understand just how devastating the loss of a pet is because they have never had the deep and eternal connection with a pet. Unfortunately, those that have not experienced this kind of love may diss the feelings of someone that has. The truth is the loss of a pet for some people can be just as upsetting and traumatic as the loss of a human family member. When we lose a family member we can take time off from work because there is a leave of absence in place, but there is not the same for a pet. This does not make sense to me because our pets are our family. Getting over the loss is not easy, but so many cannot understand this. This picture is the last picture taken of Chloe.
Just as much as our pets rely on us to take care of them, we rely on our pets as well. Pets love us unconditionally and without stipulations. Our pets know all our deepest and darkest secrets because we trust them and confide in them. When we lose this confidant, it can feel like losing a part of our heart and soul, which can make us feel lonely and almost empty inside.
Considering the loss of Chloe has been so painful, I looked up how to get through this and keep some of my sanity. From what I have read, there are 7 stages of grief when we lose a pet. The stages are shock and denial, pain and guilt, anger and bargaining, depression, reflection, loneliness and adjusting to living without that pet, and acceptance and hope.
I can say that the first stage was on Sunday. Seeing that little girl take her last breath did cause me to be in complete and total shock. I could not believe she was gone and did not know how to go on without her. There was no denying what had happened because I watched it take place. Our sweet, loving, and amazing little girl stopped breathing and there was nothing I could do to help her anymore. I think I am hoovering within pain, guilt, anger, depression, and loneliness right now. I am blaming myself for her death and cannot help thinking there must have been something I could have done.
One part that has been so difficult is, there are no answers. The doctor told us her kidney function was stable and not failing. However, neither of the doctors Chloe saw could say why her health deteriorated so fast. The best guesses the doctors can say is that Chloe had cancer and it took her life before diagnosed. The week before she passed away, she was chasing our other cat, Sundance around the house. The two of them had so much love for one another and he does not understand where she went. Sundance is grieving just the same as my husband and I are.
Writing has always helped me heal when something dealing with difficult emotions, but I have not been able to because it has been too difficult. I do not think I have cried and had this hard of a time coping since my Poppy passed. There are times when I think I am doing better, but the smallest of things trigger my heartache, and I am in tears again. If I can stay busy at work it takes my mind away from what we have lost, but the minute I have time to think all I can think about is Chloe. How do you move on from a loss this tragic? How do you stay positive and happy when you heart just cannot heal? How do you tell everyone that asks that you are okay when you are anything but okay?
We had another cat before Sundance, Lexi who died from cancer. I loved that sweet little girl as well, but do not remember it being this hard. Lexi was cremated and we had Chloe cremated as well, but when the emergency vet called to tell us her remains were ready to be picked up, I cannot go pick her up. The only think I want right now is for Chloe to be back with us and alive, but I know this cannot happen.
Chloe was not just a cat or another pet, she was more like our daughter and this loss has been very difficult for us to deal with. I have been away from blogging to try healing from this, but felt it was time to tell y’all about Chloe. We will never stop missing or loving Chloe, but someday we will heal from this. Sundance has never been an only cat and I know he is lonely, and there will come a day we get him a friend, but right now is too soon.
I want to thank you for taking the time to read this long and emotional post. I did start on this a few days ago, but could not keep it together. I hope you had a good week and you are continuing to stay safe. Please never forget that I am always sending y’all LOTS of love, comfort, support, and MANY positive vibes.