Saying Goodbye

Regardless of mental illness – when a pet dies, it’s completely natural to feel sad. A big chunk of our lives is now missing. We might not have even been able to say goodbye. We just have to be careful that when we feel sad, we react in a way that won’t harm ourselves or anyone else. People with a mental illness tend to be more susceptible to stronger emotions, and more led to react to how they feel in a less socially appropriate way. It can be really hard to maintain healthy control – pets that have been around for a long time tend to hold onto a major piece of our hearts and lives. I’ve been there before. This time, though, I dealt with my sadness in a much healthier way.

My betta fish, Pendragon, died a bit ago. I hadn’t had him very long, but I was still very upset … so I told him goodbye.

Saying Goodbye

 

To send him off, I drew him in the environment I thought he would be happiest in. A big, open space with lots of plants and some rocks for him to nudge around.

This was his goodbye:

pendragon

A short time until goodbye:

While I had him he would sometimes get startled (or maybe it was excited?) and swim back and forth in his aquarium so fast I thought he would crash into the walls. He didn’t, though. He would nudge the rocks around, seemingly looking for food – and he was a picky eater.

I would put his pellets in the tank, and he would take one in his mouth and then spit it out again. A few minutes later, he’d come back and actually eat the pellet. Maybe it was too big for him .. I tried Pen on a smaller pellet, but he didn’t seem to like that too much either. The first food was a food all of our betta fish growing up had loved. Oh well.

Pen was fun to watch. Sometimes he would just sit on the bottom of the tank, and sometimes he would swim to the top and blow a bubble nest.

When he died, my husband took care of him for me. I was too upset.

I miss him.

 

*update* a cat that I grew up with (which had been a member of my family for about 16 years) recently died. We don’t forget them simply because they are gone. You are not alone, even if your pet (of any species) has passed on. This was not the first pet that I’ve loved that has passed, and unfortunately it probably won’t be the last. We can make it through this.

How do you say goodbye to your pets?

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