On January 1st of 2019, my cat Jansky died.
It’s been the hardest thing I’ve had to deal with since my mother died when I was a teenager. It’s almost surprising how similar the feelings of grief have been. There’s no functional difference – another living being I loved with all my heart is gone, and there’s a hole there now. Intensity is a little different, and my coping mechanisms are better now. But ultimately, the feeling I get in my gut and my heart is exactly the same. Grief is grief.
I’m sure that statement would deeply offend some people. The same people who say pets are “just animals,” and are offended when pet owners call them our “furbabies.” All I can think is, it must suck to go through life without opening your heart to loving an animal as deeply as the rest of us. Bonding with a pet is possibly the most rewarding experience life can give you. Some people are truly missing out.
There’s a million things I want to say about my Jansky, but it’s still too difficult to get out. I miss her more than I could possibly explain. If I could impart one thing of this experience to others, it’s that if you know someone who’s lost a pet, be kind to them. They have lost a family member, and it’s one of the most painfully devastating things a person can go through.
I try to remember how Jansky enriched my life, every day, for over a decade. Would I trade those years away to erase the hurt I feel now? Absolutely not. My life with her by my side was a singular joy. And remembering that is the only way to try to beat the sadness.