Rainbow Bridge & Grief

Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day 2021 – Purr Prints of the Heart Blog Hop

Today is Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day and as the founder of the day, I’d like to invite a frank discussion. I founded the day on August 28, 2015, in honor of my angel cat Jazz, in large part because of the outpouring of comments and personal messages from friends, strangers, bloggers, writers, and everything in between who voiced their desire to have a place to share their feelings about pet loss after I shared Jazz’s end-of-life journey when he passed on August 28, 2013, and subsequently wrote his memoir Purr Prints of the Heart – A Cat’s Tale of Life, Death, and Beyond. The day was created with love, with all the best intentions and I didn’t think it would go too far, other than within my cat blogging/writing circle of friends.
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Deb Barnes Interviewed on CFA’s Meowy Hour – All Things Cat Chat!

I’ve met so many cool people (and cats) since becoming a blogger and writer in 2010, one of them being Arden Moore, America’s Pet Health and Safety Coach and Pet Safety Cat Casey. I actually met Casey – a handsome and dapper ginger cat at the Cat Writers’ Association (CWA) 25th-anniversary conference in St. Louis in May 2019. Yes, imagine that. Mere years ago, in a life where we once got on a plane, traveled, met people (and cats) in person, did not wear a mask, and we could stand closer to one another than 6 feet (or paws).

A little kiss from Casey. On the left is Arden Moore and on the right, Amy Shojai, CWA founder.

Arden was hosting our communications contest banquet and assisting her was Casey. I was president of the CWA then, so I also had a lot of podium time, including sharing the spotlight with Casey and a special kiss from him! So, when Arden asked if I’d like to join her, Kathy Black, approved judge for the Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA), Casey, and Casey’s “brother” Rusty to be their featured guest for the CFA’s weekly online Meow Hour, I jumped at the chance. Not a literal jump – I’m getting up in age – this September will have me at 427 cat years, so I’m not quite the jumper I used to be.

If you missed it, or care to take a listen, let’s see… Maine Coon cats, Bengal cats Ragdoll cats, black cats, rescue cats, Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day, book giveaways, the Cat Writers’ Association, how many times I’ve moved, Makin’ Biscuits, Purr Prints of the Heart, Orange Crush Ginger Cat Love, Pawsitively Humane, Zee & Zoey’s Cat Chronicles, Cat Fancy, t-shirts, a drink that will give you the zoomies, and yes, even dogs! I guess it’s more like what didn’t we talk about!

All I know is I had a blast and I hope you enjoy it, too!

Saying Goodbye – A Story of a Mother, Her Son, and His Cat

When you’re a parent you never want to see your child suffering. From infancy when you hear a cry in the middle of the night, coming from the room where your child is sleeping, causing you to bolt from bed to care for someone who is utterly reliant on you for their very survival, to a toddler with a scraped knee that you kiss to make them feel better, to those first break-ups or awful moments of peer pressure that most teenagers have to deal with, that you try ever so gently to reassure them are not the end of the world, even though it seems so to them. Even when they become adults, the instinct to protect and shield them from suffering doesn’t end. Read more

Grief – The Do’s and Don’ts of How to Compassionately Help Someone Dealing With Pet Loss

Me, back in 2014 when I began to draft Purr Prints of the Heart, a book to help those dealing with pet loss.

I’m not a professionally trained pet loss expert, but I am an expert at experiencing pet loss and the grieving process. Over the course of my life, I’ve had countless beloved pets – cats, dogs, rabbits, guinea pigs, and more. I’ve also lost many of them, so I know just how devastating the loss can be. I know the deep, dark pain that resides in the very core of your heart as a result, making it seem impossible you will ever be able to move on and be happy again, as well as the emotional demons that can invade your every thought as you replay the death over in your mind. I know the subject so well, I wrote a book on it: Purr Prints of the Heart – A Cat’s Tale of Life, Death and Beyond, including a guide for coping with pet loss for people who may need help with the grieving process (endorsed by Bonnie Poirier, pastor at Ministry of St. Francis of Assisi, along with Marty Tousley of Grief Healing.com, and Alice Villalobos, DVM / Quality of Life Scale), and I also created a national day to honor those pets we’ve lost – Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day, held August 28 of each year. Read more

Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day 2020 – Purr Prints of the Heart Blog Hop

Joy. By definition, it’s the emotion of happiness we experience, caused by something exceptionally wonderful or pleasurable to us. Losing a beloved pet is not joyous. The pain associated with the loss and the grief to follow can range from anger to denial, to depression, to a deep, overwhelming feeling of despair and sadness. Time may soften the pain, but it truly never leaves the heart. Despite that, there is joy. It’s just a matter of perspective and how you find it, and with today being Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day, that’s what I’ll be focusing on. Read more