August 13, 2012

And then I lost it....

I'm doing a Monday Mournings Guest-Interview over on the death writer blog today with my friend Pamela. I do hope you'll go over and check it out by clicking here.

During the interview process Pamela and I traded a few e-mails and I shared a story with her. I told her I was considering putting it on my blog and we agreed that we'd try to coordinate my story with her blog subject/guest for Wednesday. She's having a guest who is a veterinarian who is also a thanatologist. (They study death and dying, especially in the psychological and social aspects.) Don't forget to check that out as well here on Wed  8/15.

What does my story have to do with that? Go ahead and read it and you'll see.

This is a true story about what happened some short weeks after the accident that took the life of my daughter Gretchen and son Eric. It portrays a picture of my emotional state resulting in some behavior I'm was not to proud of.


I looked at my cat Egypt laying on the floor. He was obviously in pain. I told myself all the usual things he had a good life, after all he was 19. But I knew today was going to be his last day and that made me terribly sad.

I breathed deeply thinking to myself "my life is a nightmare." It had only been a few short weeks since the kids deaths. I hadn't slept for more than a few hours at a stretch and I was exhausted down to my very bones. I was so afraid and I didn't even know what I was afraid but it was my new constant companion. And now I had to leave the house. The thought of doing that was so frightening to me that I started to seriously consider that I needed help. Damn you death, I thought! It seemed that death was rearing its ugly head again. Ugh! Why me? I seemed to be asking myself that question a lot lately.

So I put him in his cat carrier, he cried obviously in pain and I cried along with him.

We arrived at the vets office just the two of us and they took us right away. They're very good that way with long standing patients. I was shocked when the older male country doctor didn't walk through the door but instead a young thirty something veterinarian who was about six months pregnant entered. I told her that I would like to have him put to sleep and take his body home to bury in our pet cemetery. She examined him and agreed it was his time.

Then trying to help she started to address with me how hard it would be for me to loose a pet. At this point I stopped her and told her, thanked her and told her I was an experience pet owner and had done this before and there was no need, but she continued. Again I said there really was no need to address my needs that if she could just.... and she just kept on about how difficult it could be.

And I lost it.

All I can say is it was like a slow motion movie playing out some horrible scene and these hateful words were coming out of someone else's mouth but it was actually my mouth and I was saying them.

I remember saying. "How many times do I have to tell you I don't need you to explain to me about how this is going to be a painful experience?"

Then I went on to say. " I just buried my two kids a few weeks ago so you don't have to tell me a thing about what I'm gonna go thru."  

And if that wasn't enough. "Now take that needle stick it in the G-damn cat and kill him and do it now!"

And I can say with certainty that's pretty much word for word what I said. Why do I remember? I can't say but I do. I can hardly remember putting him in his carrier after the shot or paying the bill but I know I did. But I do remember laying him out in the living room at home so our other pets would know he was gone before we buried him.

To be perfectly honest I never apologized to the lady vet. and I suspect she avoided treating my cats for years afterward. And really who could blame her? My behavior was awful, shameful.

Then, five years later our cat Daisy was attacked by a pack of dogs. They hurt her terribly and we knew she would have to be put to sleep. When we went to the vets she came in to treat my dying 12 yr old cat. Her internal injuries were so severe she agreed the was no hope. After five years she looked me square in the eye and touched my hand and said and it was very brief " are you ready" and I said " yes thank you."

 Maybe a little peace and understanding was reached there or at least I'd like to think so.

But I didn't offer an apology and it still bothers me.
So what do you think dear readers?
Is it ever to late to offer an apology?
Any other thoughts or comments?


  1. It's never too late to offer an apology.
    Thanks so much for being on my blog today and sharing your experience. And thanks for posting this story. I'll link to it on Wednesday.


    1. Thanks for the advice and for allowing me to share our story. I'll be over later to to say a little something to you and those who have commented :)

  2. Again, please accept my condolescences regarding the death of your children; honestly, I wouldn't apologize to the vet; I think you did your best under the circumstances to tell her politely a few times that you didn't need to hear what she was saying and she was not reading your cues, listening to your words. I think it was a good wakeup call for her to be a little more sensitive in dealing with pets' owners in situations like this. She obviously did learn a lesson or two out of your encounter with her in how she handled it the next time you came into the office under similar circumstances (I do admire you with sticking with the same vet's office; not sure I would have done that).


  3. ~~~~Jen,
    My heart aches for you and with you at the loss of your children. How does one survive? How does one's heart continue beating? How does one go forward?

    I am doing it one. day. at. a. time. NO MORE.

    I have said things to rude people after my sister's murder and have NO apology. I had a lot more on my mind than their feelings.

    Anyhow, sending you LOVE & Hugs. xxx

    1. We could down a few cocktails and tell a few stories the two of us couldn't we? You have my heart sista!
      love ya

    2. Yes, I think we'd have LOTS to talk about! I'll look forward to that, girlfriend. Xxx <3

  4. I don't think it's ever to late to offer an apology either. If it's on your mind, maybe it's worth writing a note to her. It sounds like she understands though.

    Thank you for sharing your story. My heart goes out to you.

    1. Thanks Jennifer I so feel like I've come thru the other side of this whole grief journey and this one thing remains a bit of a tug on my conscience. I have three cats I'm sure we'll see each other again and I'll figure out what to do.

  5. what a lesson for the world! when someone is short with us, is good for us to stop and think about what is going on their life ...and be nice, because we just never know. I am sorry about what happened. You have taught me much here today.

    1. I think that's one way of looking at it, thanks Annmarie! I just regret not speaking up in a different way.

      But one can't undo ones past.

      And as I recall I was one hot mess!

  6. You know if you still feel you want to apologize, go for it. She probably felt terrible after she realized what you and your family had just gone through. I think it will be good closure for you.

    You are so brave and I hope you sleep better these days. I simply can't imagine what you went through but I am sending you a heartfelt hug, from one mom to another.


    1. I appreciate your input Kathleen.

      As far as sleep, I don't think I'll ever sleep the way I used to before the accident but at least I can sleep now.

      That first year or so was pretty difficult.

      Feeling you hug my friend.

  7. This is such a touching story. It made me think about my own behavior sometimes. Thank you for sharing it Jen.

  8. You still carry the memory and uncomfortable feelings regarding the incident with the vet; to me that is a sign of something left unsaid or unresolved. If this was me, it would serve as the nudge to resolve it however seems best. I recently had the opportunity to apologize to someone for my behavior. It turned out the incident was trivial in their mind and they had never given it a second thought. But it had bothered me and that told me I needed to do something about it. IT felt good to clear the deck so to speak. I breathed a deep sigh of relief and felt something shake loose from me as soon as I apologized. that confirmed that I needed to do it. Thank you for sharing with such transparency. I do believe that healing occurs a little more each time we are able to talk about the hurts we've experienced. God bless.....

  9. Well,Jen the vet should have taken your cue when you said you understood. I have had a few dogs and when you syc yourself up to having the inevitable done you don't want to prolong it.It is a lesson to us all that you never know what has been happening in someone else's life and some people may be rude for good reason. If it is still annoying you it is never too late to say sorry and she may just tell you that you taught her a valuable leson that day.

  10. “An apology is the superglue of life. It can repair just about anything.”
    ― Lynn Johnston

    Apologizes anyway, So you can heal their wound and heal your own by so doing.

  11. I have to agree. Even if it's been years, it's obviously still bothering you, so why let it?

  12. If the issue w/ the vet is still unsettled in your heart, I think that is a prompt from God to resolve it. He wants you to have peace. I've found that writing a note/letter is sometimes all I've needed to do to bring closure to an unsettled encounter. It can only help, and will not hurt. I know the vet is not harboring this, after hearing where you were coming from that day. Do this for yourself. And again, I am so sorry for your losses. Thank you for sharing this personal story.

  13. Never too late to offer and apology - and , in this case, the vet has likely long ago forgiven you and, most likely, was never offended in the first place - not once she knew what your experience had been.

  14. Jen, I think its never too late. She may be fine and may have understood your outburst but you will still think about that time. I think the memory of the moment that you stepped out of your character will be gone if you apologize.

  15. I'm catching up on blog reading at the end of a very busy August, so am just reading this now. You had me in tears.
    Apologize. I think since the incident is still on your heart, you should deal with it so you can put it behind you and feel at peace.
    God bless you Jen.

    1. thanks Elizabeth your very sweet. I'm not sure how these things come up, but you know I will apologize next time I see her!


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