Coping with Loss

You may have noticed that I’ve been absent for the last week. I lost one of my beautiful cats called Willow and I’ve needed to just take some time out. As I knew it was coming, I chose to spend all my time with her. I’m so grateful for our Minimalist lifestyle which allowed me the time and space to do so and my online earnings, without which I would not have been able to purchase her the treatment she needed. I’m not going to go into too much detail here, as my heart is still in pieces and I am getting choked up, even writing this.

Willow was only 6 and we only discovered recently that she had an inherited genetic condition called Polycystic Kidney Disease. As you can see she was a beautiful, long-haired tortoiseshell. These photos cannot show her personality which was definitely full of ‘tortietude’! I know these are just pictures of a cat to all of you reading this, but I look at every picture and I know my beautiful girl, inside and out. In every single one of these photos, she was at her happiest – even though some were taken near the end.

Her death was quite unexpected in the grand scheme of things, although for the last 2 months we have known she was not well and for the last month, we knew what was to come. It has been one of the hardest times of my life, although I have lost several cats before- I think this one hit hard because she was the first cat that I have been solely responsible for, rather than a family pet.

We chose to bury her our garden which has been lovely because we know she is close and can visit her, or even talk to her from the window. But it’s still been really hard and I was really moved when my husband suggested we purchase one of these Willow Tree ornaments called ‘With Affection’.

It is truly beautiful in its simplicity and says more than words ever can. It’s hand-made and hand-painted, despite being manufactured in China. You do feel that some care has gone into making it. From a Zero Waste point of view, it’s solid wood and metal and comes packaged in a cardboard box. Unfortunately it is padded with polystyrene and wrapped in plastic. However flippant it sounds, in this circumstance I am not bothered.

As a Minimalist, you know I am not one for purchasing random objects but this angel gives me comfort whenever I glance over at it. Grief is a funny thing and when you are in the midst of it, you have to try and cope the best way that you can. I may yet purchase a locket, so that I can keep a photo of Willow close to me at all times. It may sound stupid and unnecessary and I know she is not in these objects, but it doesn’t diminish their importance to me. Finally, we are going to have a photo book printed with all of our memories of her in it. Again, we could just keep our digital photos online but there is something comforting about having a book, a physical object that can be picked up at any time.

Perhaps I have not come so far on my Minimalist journey, as it seems I still attach significance to objects. I would be interested to hear how others have coped after a bereavement.