Today we took my 17year old cat, Mr. Jones, to the vet. Since Monday, he had been rapidly deteriorating. Despite my best efforts yesterday (feeding him by syringe, giving him subcutaneous fluids), he was not doing much better this morning. I suspected kidney disease. I was right.
My vet for nearly 10 years (I used to work for him) assured us that the kindest and best thing to do at this time would be to let Mr. Jones go. He was in severe renal failure complicated further by either hyperthyroidism or underlying cancer. He was very very sick.
I had held Mr. Jones all day yesterday, crying, and praying that he would just go on his own, in his sleep. I slept fitfully last night with him beside me, waking several times to again offer up the same request and to reassure him that it was ok for him to go, that he could let go any time. But he didn't.
So this morning we went in, we ran the blood work, we got the diagnosis, we listened to our vet, and we cried. Then we cried some more.
I held Mr. Jones to my chest, whispering to him, thanking him, telling him how much I loved him, how grateful I was to have him in my life. And I cried deep wracking sobs.
We took Mr. Jones outside and allowed him to walk around in the sunlight a bit. He was so weak he kept tottering and falling over. He kept looking around like he was looking for a place to hide. Finally, he collapsed in a pile of dead leaves.
We picked him up, we held him, we blessed him, we told him all the ways and reason we loved him so much, and we said our good-byes. And we cried.
Finally, after more than 3 hours at the clinic, we had the Dr. come back in and give him the sedative. And later, the medication to stop his heart. It was over. He was gone. And we cried.
I cannot remember a time in my adult life when I have cried so long, so hard, or so deeply. My eyes are almost swollen shut. My heart is broken. A part of my life is missing. A part of me is missing.
Tonight, I leave (a day late) on a train, to visit my grandmother who is living in a medical care facility due to her recent stroke. She will probably live in a nursing home or care facility for the rest of her life. She has lost a lot. I have more compassion for her than I ever have, right now.
You know how sometimes you have those days where things seem just so right and perfect and everything is going your way, and you think, "Hey, I should buy a lottery ticket today!" - You know that feeling?
Well, I think what I am feeling right now is exactly the opposite of that.