How Losing a Pet Affects Your Relationship with "Stuff"

A few months ago I lost not one but both of my beloved cats. Mazzy & Bartleby were my adopted family. My little girl, a talkative blue-eyed Siamese/Tabby mix came into my life as a rescue kitten when I was just 19 years old.

  Mazzy Blue Earned the Nickname Princess Mae-Mae  

Mazzy Blue Earned the Nickname Princess Mae-Mae  

Bartleby joined us a few years later from the Humane Society, a handsome long haired tuxedo Main Coon with a love of food & 25 lbs to show for it. In 2011 the 3 of us drove from Seattle, WA to our new life in New Orleans. Bartleby loved walking on his leash & visiting with neighbors. He even got a taste of fame when I included his photo in one of my WWL-TV segments!

  Barty Gras - Bartleby's 15 Min of Fame on WWL-TV! 

Barty Gras - Bartleby's 15 Min of Fame on WWL-TV! 

When Barty passed away in July I lost my best friend. For anyone that has loved & lost a pet you know firsthand what a sad & difficult experience this can be. While everyone deals with loss in their own way, I threw myself into work because I could not deal with my sadness. 8 weeks later Mazzy took a turn for the worse & joined her brother. I was beside myself but this time the world stopped. I took some time off work to process my loss. 17 years of companionship is a significant relationship & the house seemed so empty without my feline family.  

  Family Portrait - A Typical Morning in the Cymes Household.

Family Portrait - A Typical Morning in the Cymes Household.

It took about a month before I could even consider moving their possessions. However the site of their empty food dishes & toys on the floor did not bring me joy. Because I work with clutter & help clients process their emotions through the process of downsizing I was very aware that by keeping their stuff where it was I was pretending that nothing had changed. The next phase of my healing process could not begin until I fully came to terms with my loss by dealing with the physical items that represented Mazzy & Bartleby. Many people fear that by getting rid "stuff" means you're throwing away memories, let me assure you that no one can take away your memories of a loved one! Instead honor their memory by selecting a few keepsakes that make you smile & let go of the rest. 

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