On the night of the 10th, I said goodbye to my dear sweet Cat. She had taken to lying behind the armchair in the living room the week before, and as she came out from there less and less, all signs pointed to the end stages of her kidney failure. I kind of knew the Saturday before, and we had a heart-to-heart. . . her behind the armchair, me with my head wedged between the chair and the wall. The day before she passed, she surprised me by coming into the bedroom and sleeping on my feet. But I had a feeling that was her way of telling me that was the last time.
The vet and the technicians were very compassionate and kind--I mean, I called as they were supposed to be closing and they said bring her anyway--and when we got to the office, I took a couple of minutes in the car to explain to The Cat why I'd taken her there, that it was going to be O.K., and that I was really sure I'd see her again. My mom was waiting inside which was really kind of her. (Chef was stuck at work. He said he didn't even need to listen to the voicemail I left him, because I never call him while he's working, only text. He called me later and cried with me.)
I walked into the office with The Cat and came out with an empty carrier, an envelope with a little clipping of her pretty fur, my receipt (sticker shock), and a copy of the Rainbow Bridge story (sob). My mom said to come over for a cup of tea, and after that I went home for a drink and to put in for a day off from work. Because I knew I wasn't going to sleep well after that.
Honestly, I'm still not sleeping great. It feels like being in a fog most of the day. I cry at least twice a day (privately). I keep catching myself thinking about doing something I would do for her, or even catch myself doing something I normally did for her that I don't need to do anymore. I also sometimes catch myself operating as if she's still here in the apartment.
The big, empty apartment I don't really want to go home to just about every night.
My sister sent flowers, people offered condolences on Twitter and Facebook--it took me some time to even get on there and say that it happened--and I got some cards from friends and family. It's a kindness I'm almost embarrassed about, because she was a cat. . . but at the same time, she was my constant companion for over eighteen years. We had a routine. We had a friendship. A huge friendship I don't know I'll ever find again.
But I did tell her, during that heart-to-heart, that it was O.K. to go. I didn't want her to feel bad anymore. And even more than that, I reassured her that I wasn't going to be alone. There had been times in the past that she really was just about all I had, the only one who cared if I was around or not. (And certainly not just because I was the only one who could open the fridge.)
My friend the marriage counselor said that it's all normal, that when you lose a loved one, you have what's like a big hole in your heart. There's no way to fix it; you just have to go on and eventually it does get smaller. The hole doesn't ever close up completely, but a lot of it gets filled up with love from others and the happiness from new experiences.
Just right now--I miss her incredibly. Napping on my lap (and purring like a motorboat). Eating half my dinner if it was chicken. Settling down on the other side of the bed as I fell asleep. I miss talking to her, singing to her, petting her soft fur.
I definitely miss her "singing" to me.
This past week, I had to go back to the vet to pick up her ashes. (Mom and Dad said there's a spot in their yard where I can bury the ashes. I just have to get there sometime when it's actually light out.) I opened the shipping box when I got to my parents' and the ashes are in a nice cherry-wood box and a brass plate engraved with her name is on the lid.
I never used her name in the blog, because it's a very distinctive name and I did find at one point people were searching for my blog using her name as part of the search terms. But, if you're curious, she was named (somewhat) after
this song. I think you can pick it out. But please don't mention it in the comments or I'll have to delete it (sorry). . . Did you get it? Now you understand about the singing, huh?
Needless to say, it's been a rough couple of weeks and I'm looking forward to having a few days off for Thanksgiving. (Naturally, I'm working at the public library this weekend! Just like last year!) But in spite of how sad I am and how much I miss her, I think I still can take a moment on Thursday and be grateful for having such a special feline friend and all the great times I had with her.
|I'll never forget you, little girl.|