Saturday Morning Message: The Comfort of Pets
Author: Carol Lane
The opening picture this week is of Dandelion, my daughter’s cat. She loves animals, but wasn’t able to have a cat when she lived at home, because I am allergic. So the minute she moved into her own place, this is the cat she chose from the shelter.
This week more survivors shared stories and pictures of their beloved pets. For those of us who have pets, they offer much comfort not only when we are grieving the loss of a loved one, but also during this time when our lives have been turned upside down. Enjoy reading about these pleasant companions.
Mother of Bryon
Answers from Survivors
Responses from Survivors to last week's question: How does your pet comfort you in a time of heartbreak?
From Carol C, mother of Dustin:
This is my kitty, Buddy. He came to me two years after my son, Dustin, passed. He is the sweetest kitty ever. He is curious, lovable and playful. Buddy brought laughter back into my life. I protect him with all my heart, because he loves me with all of his.
From Laura, spouse of Austin:
Nanna was Austin’s baby. He was always wanting to see her while we were in Texas. Before he died, I wanted to make sure that she got to see him and give him cuddles. It was a sight to see, a 135-pound Saint Bernard giving Austin so much love and being gentle with him.
After Austin’s passing, Nanna was by my side always. I rarely went anywhere I couldn’t bring her. She would comfort me by sitting with me when I cried, and would just know when I needed some extra love. She was there when we had to put her sister, Bosley, down and even after that she never strayed. In her old age, I look at her and think how lucky I am to have the sweetest dog in the world as my dog.
From Perry, father of Christopher:
Sox is my older cat. He is 15 years old. I rescued him the same year Christopher was killed. He has always looked out for me and has been there to comfort me no matter how bad the day was. When I sit in my favorite chair he sits next to me laying on my arm. If I recline back, he will reach out to touch me to make sure I am OK. He is my shadow around the house. At night when I go to bed, he headbutts me before I go to sleep, which is his way of making sure I am OK. Then he will sit on the pillow next to my head and this is where he will spend the rest of the night. When I am on the computer, he sits in the doorway as my lookout like he is keeping guard. It can be said that Sox is my emotional support cat, because he knows what kind of day I have had and never leaves my side.
From Linda, fiancé of Jack:
When I lost the love of my life, Sgt. Jack DiGiacomo, on Thanksgiving week, I was nearly suicidal. If it hadn’t been for my love of Monkey and not wanting to abandon him, I wouldn’t be here today. Monkey is guarding the warm laundry from the dryer to keep it safe. He’s 8 years old. Jack and I adopted him from a family last August when a new family member became allergic. Monkey was grieving with me for months, and barely ate. It is now four months later, and we are clinging to each other for support and cuddles.
If you would like to send a message thanking one or all of those who participated in this week’s Saturday Morning Message, send it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will make sure your thoughts are passed along to them.
Question for Next Week’s Saturday Morning Message
TAPS worked with the Roots & American Music Society, a Memphis-based nonprofit organization to create a music album. A songwriter was paired with surviving families to compose songs that will be featured in the album. To learn more about the songs and the servicemembers they honor, go to Love Lives On website. You can also preorder the album there.
This week’s question reflects our thoughts on music and our loved ones: What song reminds you of your loved one? Write a few sentences telling us why you chose that song.
The Saturday Morning Message was created so survivors can share questions and read how others respond. I am always looking for questions and songs for future messages. If you would like to send a message thanking one or all of those who participated this week, send it to me and I will make sure it is sent. You never know how your words may touch the heart of another. I encourage you to reply to the Saturday Morning Message by emailing email@example.com. In order to have your reply included the following week, it is best to send your response to me by Tuesday morning. Thank you to everyone responding this week and those who read this message.
♫ Song for the Week
This week’s song is from Perry, father of Christopher. It was originally posted in the April edition of the Writers’ Circle, but I wanted those who receive the Saturday Morning Message to hear it as well. Perry wrote, “It was some time after Christopher had been killed when I heard this song. The song is called 'Brave' by Nicole Nordeman. The lyrics almost became an anthem for me and my coming to TAPS. So in my journey that brought me to TAPS, I had to become brave.”
Just having your pet cuddle up next to you when you are feeling down can be uplifting.
Survivors share how pets have helped them on their individual grief journey.
April 11 is National Pet Day, a holiday celebrating our loving animals and the joy they bring to our lives.