What I learned about losing my beloved cat on Valentine’s Day


Around 2 am yesterday, my sweet, amazing, and gentle cat Carmine died. I was beside myself with grief. I couldn’t believe he was fine earlier in the day and then, poof, just like that…gone. I was his ‘person’ and we had a daily love fest routine that even my dog Roxy wanted to be a part of.

Carmine was special to me because he was my mom’s cat. One of my mom’s last words was “Carmine.” I assured her I would take care of him and she didn’t need to worry about him. For years prior to her death, my mom would literally play with Carmine for hours and hours He was her constant and loyal companion and literally kept her sane.




LOSING CARMINE SUCKS. It sucks because:

? We had a special bond and he ‘got me’.

? I felt guilty because I promised my mom that I would take care of him. Had I known something was wrong, I would have taken him to the vet.

? A few days ago, I had a dream that he died.

? It’s Valentine’s Day… the day of love. I loved him SO much.

? Carmine was the last living thing connected to my mom (aside from my sister).


? I DID take care of Carmine. I took GREAT care of him and loved him unconditionally (as our fur babies love us).

? Carmine and my mom are together again… as it should be.

? I needed to release Carmine from an energetic standpoint around the whole ‘caregiving’ part of my life.

? He died peacefully on the floor of my bedroom doorway.


? Lying on top of or next to me every night and purring like the sweet boy he was.

? Allowing Roxy to share the bed with him.

? Always reaching out his paw to touch me every morning.

? Being playful.

? Being such a calm and sweet soul.

? Helping me through the darkest time in my life when going through cancer treatment and depression. Carmine was the spark of light on otherwise bad days.

? Running under the bed most times when anyone else tried to love on him. He did warm up to Sarah the most and allowed her to nap with himJ


On this beautiful day of love, here’s what I know and believe for sure:

? Everything happens FOR us.

? We don’t always need to know ‘why’ something happens.

? When we die, it’s simply our physical shell that disappears. Our soul lives on.

? Just as our late Dane, Colonel, is with my dad and grandpa, Carmine is with my mom and they are both giddy happy together.

?Our furry babies are an integral part of our lives. The pain and grief of losing our beloved animals is SO worth the love, companionship and LIFE they give us.

? We could learn a lot from our pets. If we lived life the way they teach us to live every day, our world would be a better place.

? More than ever, I am opening the door to my intuitive gifts and learning to TRUST the messages I receive. This isn’t the first time my dreams were premonitions.

? Every day is a gift. That’s why it’s called the present. LIVE in the present…in every moment.

I am thankful for the opportunity to be Carmine’s “mom” and will always treasure our time together. On this day of love AND EVERY.SINGLE.DAY, hold your loved ones (human and otherwise) tight and always let them know how much you love them.

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Tandy Elisala

Family Caregiver Coach, Cancer Empowerment Advocate and Chief Inspiration Officer at Center for Inspiring Greatness | Empowered Family Caregiver
Tandy Elisala is passionate about helping family caregivers go from being overwhelmed and stressed to empowered and calm. Tandy went through cancer four times and learned how to heal using conventional, complementary, and alternative therapy. Tandy left her corporate career to take care of both parents simultaneously while raising three kids as a single mom. She took care of both parents for 2 1/2 years until their respective deaths. Tandy now teaches what she learned on her journey. Tandy is a family caregiver coach, a multiple best-selling author, inspirational speaker and mom to three adult kids, one angel dog and one diva cat.

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30 replies
  1. Tom Davies
    Tom Davies says:

    So sorry to hear your loss

    I have a Cat and have had him for over 10 years!

    I can’t imagine what I would do without him

    thanks for this article

    It’s important to focus on the positive and remember the good times and cherish those memories

  2. April Williams
    April Williams says:

    Am so sorry you had to go through this. Its so hard to lose our beloved furry companions. Every time we lose one of our dogs I say “never again” but of course when we are over the grief and shock, the longing we have for a pet always prevails. Sending love and positive energy your way xo

  3. Apolline Adiju
    Apolline Adiju says:

    I can feel your pain reading your words. I understand how you feel and especially as he was your mom’s best friend. Atlast they are once more united. I hope you will gradually get over it eventhough I know it will be difficult. I am so sorry for your loss.

  4. Joyce Hansen
    Joyce Hansen says:

    I can not think of anyone who has lost a pet and not deeply grieved. Each time it happens, I’m a wreck. It takes time to heal but the sweet memories will always be there. And, that’s what we have to cherish – that they were able to spend time with us and we with them.

  5. Jennifer Quisenberry
    Jennifer Quisenberry says:

    Losing a fur baby is one of the hardest things in life. I think it’s right up there with losing a close loved one. Maybe even more than some because they are so dependent upon us. We are their everything and that’s how they treat us. My heart goes out to you. The love you have for Carmine still lives in your heart – it just means you’re a bit part cat now.

  6. Sonya Kolodziejska
    Sonya Kolodziejska says:

    I’m so sorry to read about Carmine. He had a good home with you Tandy and no doubt was happy every day with you. He was lucky to have had you too. You are handling it well. Don’t forget to take care of you.

  7. Beverley Golden
    Beverley Golden says:

    It is so very hard to lose a beloved pet/family member, Tandy and I imagine it is especially hard when you have taken on caregiving for an animal that was your parents. I really feel how much you loved Carmine and how much he loved you in return and you did honour your promise to your mother, by loving him so deeply. Thanks for sharing the lessons you were able to come away with and my wish for you is you find comfort and healing in the joy and love you shared with each other!

    • Tandy Elisala
      Tandy Elisala says:

      Thank you so much, Beverley. Losing Carmine was especially difficult because he was my mom’s; yet, I know they are together again and I did my ‘job’ and loved him endlessly in the process.

  8. Joan M Harrington
    Joan M Harrington says:

    Hi Tandy 🙂

    I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your beloved pet….I know how sad you are feeling. Sometimes we do not understand why something happens, it just does. The memories will help you in your grief. Thanks so much for sharing about how very special he was to you 🙂

  9. Tamuria
    Tamuria says:

    Tandy, I am so very sorry for your loss. It’s heartbreaking to lose a pet. They are not only part of your family, but part of the fabric that makes up your life. You are dealing with it in such a positive manner – I love your words; “Everything happens FOR us”. Sending much love and hugs your way.

  10. Robin
    Robin says:

    As an owner of a “geriatric cat”, I know her time with us is limited. She has lost weight, struggles to eat, but lives on with a loving attitude. It will be so hard to know when to let her go, but knowing she is going to a better place brings peace.. Thanks for sharing your story; will be helpful to so many. I am so sorry for your loss.

    • Tandy Elisala
      Tandy Elisala says:

      That feeling must be horrible, Robin. I think about that with my precious angel dog, Roxy. I agree it is hard to know when to let them go. A vet told me one time that he has never met an owner who says they let their pet go prematurely. I think this speaks to how much we love our pets and want them to be with us for as long as possible.

  11. Susan Mary Malone
    Susan Mary Malone says:

    Oh, Tandy, my heart goes out to you. It’s so, so hard to lose a four-legged family member. And on Valentine’s Day to boot. I took custody of my parents’ two dogs when they died, and I know what it feels like to lose those as well. It’s like your last tangible, tactile thread to them is gone.
    But your boy is with your mom now, and that warmed my heart. And yes–every day is a gift.
    Sending you much comfort and healing.

    • Tandy Elisala
      Tandy Elisala says:

      Oh my goodness, Susan. You absolutely get it. It is like the last tangible, tactile thread to your loved one is gone. It’s heartbreaking; however, I do have faith that Carmine is with my mom and that warms my heart. I’m glad it did yours too. Thanks

  12. Lori English
    Lori English says:

    I am so sorry you lost your cat I cannot say enough about losing animals. I have lost two of my cats, and I have a 17 year old. I know what you mean the bond with an animal is strong. When I think of the animals or other people I lost I look at what they were able to give me and It was reciprocal. Of course feeling sad is going to be you loved something and their is a loss. Always grieve as much as you need.


    • Tandy Elisala
      Tandy Elisala says:

      Absolutely. I believe in working through the grief as long as needed. My parents died in 2012 and I still grieve for them. I appreciate your comments, Lori.

  13. Kristen Wilson
    Kristen Wilson says:

    You are handling this like a champ… and kudos to you for pulling the good out of it and looking at the bigger picture. I saw on FB you lost your cat and I am so sorry for your loss… I know Jackie could relate too!


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