Pets – A Light in the Darkness of Grief


Often, I think people probably assume those experiencing the depths of grief are sad all of the time. While this is true, there are certainly happy moments or times of positivity and even joy. Grief is complicated.

After our son Luke was born still last November, we were plunged into a new cavern of grief. The brightest light and bringer of joy during the last few months has been our wonderful cat, Eevee. I cannot imagine facing what we’ve been through without her by our side.

Even in the depths of grief, I can see goodness and light purely in her face. She’ll flop on her back, rub on our legs, want to play (constantly), jump around, purr…all the things a cat does. At least, a great cat like her does! And it lightens the toll on my spirit and lifts me up, even if ever so slightly. She’s pure goodness.

I also think she senses something is amiss and is doing all she can to make things better. She certainly knew something was going on when Kelly was pregnant with Luke. Cats sense and smell these things, so they say. I think she has felt our pain alongside us, even if she doesn’t really understand.

We even chose to announce our pregnancy with Eevee. Can you blame us? Look at this proud big sister!

We consider her our fur baby, as so many pet owners do. Sometimes this is bittersweet to think about, especially since she has somewhat claimed areas that were meant for Luke. While we were pregnant, we kept her out of his areas since we didn’t want to promote bad habits. Now, I gave up and let her have free rein of his nursery and even his crib. I’m just happy one of our babies can enjoy and use it, I guess.

Last summer, we even attended a Zoom meeting on how to properly introduce pets and babies, so that everyone would get along and also so the pet wasn’t too stressed about everything. It was mostly geared to dog owners, but Eevee is very much like a dog in many ways – and we wanted to make sure she didn’t feel left out when we brought the baby home. We were doing all we could to make our family feel complete and whole, to prepare for what we thought would be our new normal. Looking back on that, I am full of sadness that we weren’t able to put into practice what we learned.

I could probably write a novel on how much I love my cat. All I can really say is that I’m ever so thankful she is here with us, to cheer us up and add meaning and purpose to our days. Playing with her, feeding her, petting her, just having her around – it’s such a gift. Especially during pandemic times while working from home. Having her as my constant work buddy makes the days just that much better. She sits with me as I work, and that is more than I could ever ask of her.

Eevee asks so little in return for all that she gives. She loves us unconditionally…well, maybe the condition is to play with her 🙂 I really do think she has saved us a bit. The routine of feeding her, playing with her, cleaning her potty…it actually gives me purpose.

Grief is a lonely place. In the first few weeks, we received such an outpouring of support from friends and family. That has, understandably, slowed…but the grief is still there. The one constant companion in all of this is Eevee. Pets are amazing. She seems to know that, even though the world is moving on, we still feel stuck and our world has in many ways stopped completely. And she is still there for us, through it all – through the darkest time of our lives. Her love is a gift.

Thank you to our beautiful and wonderful cat, Eevee. Sunbeam girl – you are our light amidst the darkness and greatest joy.

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