The loss of one's beloved Companion is devastating. It feels like our world has fallen apart, clouded with sadness and sometimes a turmoil of feelings from anger to guilt. I know this from experience. Illness and death can come suddenly, under the guise of a healthy, happy Parrot. This is where I found myself last fall, faced with the sudden illness and loss of my cherished Companion Sassy, a fifteen year old Umbrella Cockatoo. She had lived with me only one year, but had brought so much happiness and joy. Nothing could have prepared me for the sudden onset of illness, and much less the untimely death of my special girl. She was the picture of healthy, beautiful, glossy feathered, with great boundless energy and she always ate everything offered to her. In a short two weeks my once healthy Companion was gone, euthanized after her condition deteriorated so drastically there was no other option.
I have an incredible Veterinarian in Dr. Tim Zaharchuk who went above and beyond the call of duty to try to save my Sassy. She would not have made it those last two weeks if not for the devotion and effort of Doctor and his staff.
I know that everything was done to save my Sassy. I also know that I acted the very instant I saw that something was not right with her behavior and appetite. Many times after the initial pain of loss we begin to blame ourselves. We should have known our Companion was ill. We should have got to the Vet's office sooner. We could have driven faster to get there. We should have, we could have, but we didn't? The mind is a dangerous weapon we can use against ourselves. The feelings of guilt after the death of a loved one is perfectly normal. However, we need to draw a line in our minds that we refuse to allow ourselves to cross over. Guilt is natural after a loss. We feel somehow we are responsible for the death, and could have stopped it..
Sometimes it helps us to write in a notebook all our thoughts about the loss. What we did, what we did not do, and what we think we should have done. Be honest, be truthful but do not place blame on anyone, just record the facts. It often helps us to move through the natural grieving process and come to terms with our guilt. We have a hard-copy of information to see that we did what we could do. Loss is painful, but we can allow ourselves to grieve and also to learn from it for the future. I have personally learned a great deal through the tragic loss of my Companion Sassy. What I have gained will protect my flock, and hopefully help someone else on their own journey through the darkness of grief and loss.