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Missing your cat at Christmas

In this blog we’ll talk about the darker side to Christmas. The grief that can take your breath away, the sadness that sits in the shadows of the festive season.

Christmas is meant to be a happy time of year, filled with twinkly lights, decorations, presents and joy. Yet there is another side to Christmas that isn’t talked about quite as much, or as openly.

I am sharing with you today that it’s ok to feel sad at Christmas, it’s ok to be dealing with grief and loss. We’ll be talking about cats today but know that my words are true for other animals and any friends/family or loved ones that are no longer with you.

I remember years ago when I was working in Marks & Spencer, and I LOVED working there over Christmas. The lights and music in the store, the hustle and bustle of all the shoppers, people asking for help to get that one perfect gift. I even worked the food collection desk one year in a huge, thick padded jacket in giant fridges, waking up at 4:30am to get into work to prep the turkeys and food orders ready for collection…fabulous!

One year I was on the ladieswear checkout and as I greeted the next customer with my seasonal smile and asked her if she was all ready for Christmas, I’ll never forget her response…”my husband died at Christmas”.

That was it. All she said.

My response…” I am so sorry to hear that.” The rest of the transaction happened in total silence. I didn’t know what to say. She took my breath away.

It is, for many of us, a time of year to feel joyful, thankful and hopeful. But for others, for a moment or even for the whole season it can be dark, empty and painful.

Every Christmas morning for the last 3 years I wake up and my heart skips a beat as I look forward to spending it with my baby girl, Pickle. My heart. And then either husband wakes up or Leo comes on the bed and my heart cracks a little. Because she isn’t here anymore (in physical form). She can’t be with me today. She won’t be enjoying a little turkey at lunchtime. She won’t be snoring on the chair as we open gifts around her, pausing to hear her noises. She’s not here. And I’m so deeply crushed I feel like my heart is going to explode out of my chest. Tears well up in my eyes and I almost choke on the lump in my throat.

In that moment, I can’t even conceive of doing ANYTHING remotely Christmas related. How the hell can life go on when she is no longer here? I’m angry, sad, lost and annoyed with life.

Then I take a deep breath, I try my hardest to remember something good about her rather than focussing on the fact she isn’t here. It’s not easy, but I try.

I don’t push my grief aside; I don’t bury it down or hide it from my husband. We take a moment. To remember her, to share a story or a funny thing about her so that she is with me on Christmas day. Just not in the way I want, but she is here.

Also, as a way to remember her, to feel connected to her we have a tea light holder for her. We put some light into the world so she can find us in spirit, she can be with us.

She will always be with us.

If you are missing a cat (or someone else) this Christmas, what do YOU need to do to feel connected to them?

How can you include them in your day?

How can you honour the love they gave you, the times you shared?

Dear friend, take a breath. Know that it is ok to break down, to have tears, to feel sadness on this day. You are human. You are, and always will be grieving. Take the time you need to honour how you feel.

I see you, I feel you. You are not alone in feeling the sadness.

Sending warm hugs and Christmas wishes your way,

With love,

Julie-Anne, Pickle & Leo xx

PS If you’d like to reach out feel free to email me: info@naturallycats.co.uk

Or contact me through social media.

Share with me how you are remembering your furry friend this Christmas xx

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