Sunday, December 6, 2009

Bridgie--See You on the Other Side

Lazy Bridgie by Beka

Hi Everybody,
Last night my daughter had to put her 18 year-old cat, Bridgit, to sleep. Bridgit has had numerous health troubles for the past couple of years--and really, it is a miracle Bridgie lasted as long as she did. Bridgie had recently had so much stomach trouble and just the other day had a seizure. During the vet's exam, and via subsequent tests, they found that Bridgie had bone cancer--with a huge tumor on one of her hind knees. The vet told my daughter, Beka, that there were options: 1. amputate that leg and do chemo, 2. just leave Bridgie on pain meds--she could probably live a bit longer, and 3. put her to sleep. When looking at the big picture, Beka decided that the only viable option was to let Bridgie go. To amputate the leg of a cat who is 18 can be very traumatic--and when she has other health problems, too...quality of life might go down very quickly. Beka, and some friends from Texas (whom I'm very thankful for) took Bridgie to the vet yesterday. Beka told me Bridgie went off very peacefully. This was a very hard decision for Beka to make--we've had Bridgie since Beka was 5 years old. They've been together through thick and thin--and were very dependent on one another. Now my daughter's feeling the loss of this precious friend and I'm trying to help her from here, in Prague, via the Internet.

Suffering loss while living overseas is a very difficult experience. It is something you hope will not happen while you're living away from home, but inevitably loss will catch up with each one of us. Suffering the loss of a beloved pet is not new for me. Being one who loves animals I've had many pets. Saying good-bye is one of the hardest rites of being a pet owner. Even so, I will always have animals as companions. The loss of a pet can be quite devastating. And being overseas at a time like this is a new experience for me, and I'm not exactly sure how to deal with it. Lessons learned from Life help to sustain during times like this. One of the most important lessons I've learned is to keep moving--putting one foot in front of the other day by day. Another of Life's lessons is not to isolate yourself--but reach out to those around you for help and support. I'll share these things with Beka. Also, staying in touch with the loved ones back home in whatever way possible can be very helpful. Thank heavens for the Internet. I'll be able to console and counsel my daughter online till we can meet back in the US in a week or so. The Internet can be a wonderful tie to family and friends at such a time.

This has been such a hard loss for me, personally. Bridgie was my cat before she was Beka's. Bridgie was about 2 months old when we first got her. The very first night in our home, Bridgit slept on my hair on my bed pillow--and she was putting her small paws on my (with claws!) and kneading and nuzzling my neck as she would have her mother during feeding time. Such a funny memory of that little ball of fuzz that was baby Bridgie. Bridgie was a very helpful ball of comfort during a very trying time of divorce and loss for both Beka and I. At the age of around 12 or 13, Beka became Bridgit's "official" owner--in charge of feeding, keeping the litter box clean, etc. Beka and Bridgie were naturally made for one another. Bridgie even accompanied Beka to university after Beka got her own apartment. They were literally inseparable, till yesterday.

Thank you, Bridgie, for being a wonderful companion and friend for Beka and I. You helped us both through some very trying and difficult times. You were always there with your "meh" and saucy ways--you were always there to cheer us up or comfort us. We love you, Bridgie, and I'm looking forward to seeing you on the other side one day.

God bless,

Photo credit: Bridgie by Beka

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*lynne* said...

My sympathies to you, Beka and the rest of your family on your loss. To have had a cat for so long, tho, that was a blessing and miracle in itself, tho. My hugs to everyone!

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Sher said...

Hi *lynne*,
Thank you for your thoughts and hugs. And're very right...having a cat for that long is a blessing and a miracle.

Have a great day,

Sezin said...

I'm so sorry for you and Beka's loss. Sometimes people can be very cruel with regards to the loss of a "pet", but those of us who've had furry, four-legged friends know that they are a part of the family. When they pass away, it can be emotionally devastating. Give yourself the room to grieve, and know that she'll always be watching over you.

Strangely, we also had a Bridget who recently passed away. Our Bridgie was a boxer though, and 15. It's really hard, so hang in there.

Sending you and Beka big hugs, too. xoxo

WillOaks Studio said...

My deepest sympathies to you and your daughter for your loss. It's so hard to lose a dog or cat that has basically become one of the family but she really did live a long life for a cat, so that was a blessing! And I'm glad she could go over the rainbow bridge peacefully...

Sher said...

Hi Sezin,
Thank you for your thoughts and hugs. I wasn't going to write about this today, but truly it has been helpful in dealing with my own feelings for Beka and Bridgie.

Yes, some people are cruel and think grieving for the loss of an animal is a waste of time and energy. Truly, though, furry four-legged can become very much a part of the family. My family (since I was a kid) has been this way with pets and animals, in general.

I'm so sorry to hear about your loss, too...and funny she was also a "Bridgie," but a dog rather than a cat.

Thanks again and hugs back for your own loss.

Have a great day,

Sher said...

Hi WillOaks Studios,
Thanks so much for your thoughts. Bridgie was with us for a long time--and that's quite a blessing, as you said! Bridgie definitely had an easy passing over the rainbow--and now playing on the other side with other kitties in a very peaceful place.

Have a great day,

Anonymous said...

RIP Bridgie...she sounds like a wonderful loving pet Sher, to you and Beka. You're right it's very difficult to be so far away when a loss like this occurs. Distance adds to the feeling of helplessness and surreality. Condolences.

BTW I know people who like the pet-loss community at, that may be something to check out.

kookykrys said...

I am sorry for your loss. It is never easy to lose a pet, and I have lost several in my lifetime as well.

I wanted to comment on how hard it is to be overseas when there is a death in your family (be it pet or otherwise). This past February I lost my beloved grandmother. She went surrounded by family in New York, and I was stuck here in Switzerland, not even able to make it home for the funeral. It was extremely hard for me and still is in a way.

Best wishes for you and your daughter.

Sher said...

Hi Anastasia,
Thank you--Beka has seen the comments here and really appreciates everyone's thoughts and sympathy.

I'll send that link on to Beka...thank you so much!

Have a great day,
Sher :0)

Sher said...

Hi Kookykrys,
Thank you for your sympathy and's never easy to lose any loved one--people or pets--at any time, but there this can be especially hard for expats who are overseas.

I'm so sorry to hear about your own loss...that's so hard. My heart goes out to you.

Have a great day,
Sher :0)

Roz said...

I'm so sorry to hear of your loss but I'm glad that you are now able to be with Beka and comfort her in person.

Take care,