How can you possibly describe the anxiety in a day like today, a day when we had to make the decision to say goodbye to a well loved family pet. Licia I love you
I went to bed late after having gentle sobbing snuggles for hours. My sleep was broken, wondering if you would be there when I awoke. I was almost too scared to go downstairs, unsure if you would still be with us. I almost wanted you to have fallen asleep and not woken up but selfishly I wanted one more chance for a cuddle, another chance to say goodbye. You were still on your pillow when I tiptoed into the room. You slowly and carefully raised your head and when I sat beside you, you chirped a weak greeting. I picked you up and hugged you close, tears soaking into your soft fur as I sobbed quietly. Boy-child came into the room quietly and sat beside me. His normally exuberant self was subdued, he knew something wasn’t right. In seconds he was in tears as he was stroking your fur. Girl-child entered the room and crouched down on the floor beside us. She too began stroking your fur as she sobbed. We talked about how you had had a beautiful life and were surrounded by a family that loved you. We talked about how much pain you were in and the indignity you were feeling not being able to move around and be yourself. We saw glimpses of the old you over the weekend when you were medicated and the pain you have been feeling was reduced temporarily. Momentarily we saw the spark in you eyes, but the spark wasn’t long lasting and you were shrinking back into your withered shell. You were happy to be with us to be with people who loved you with all of our hearts but you weren’t happy and it wasn’t fair.
We spent the morning together, stroking your fur, laughing and crying. We planned ways that we could remember you. The kids wanted to be with you until the end but we didn’t know what to expect. After they said their forever goodbyes, they stayed with a friend and we took you to the vet for a second opinion. As we expected, the vet told us what we already knew; that you were a happy cat stuck inside a failing body, you were quietly suffering. Your pain could be alleviated temporarily but at what risks we didn’t know, nor did we know for how long. The drugs that would be required to ease your pain my in turn cause more pain and there was no guarantee that it would actually work at all. You may have had no quality of life at all.
We made the decision that the time was as right as it would ever be, you had said farewell to the kids and you were saying goodbye to us. It may have been selfish me not wanting to live on the rollercoaster of watching your slow demise , not wanting to go to bed every night wondering if you would be with us in the morning, coming home from work anxious to see if you were alright. I didn’t want to have to explain to the kids over and over again that the end was near and watching them suffer along with you. Signing the consent forms was one of the hardest thing that I have ever had to do. You sat quietly on my lap as you fell asleep. You looked so peaceful and beautiful as you lay in my arms. I hope I made the right decision to say goodbye to you.
When I said my final goodbye to you, looked so young and relaxed, much more like the beautiful cat that I have shared my life with and not the old withered cat that was looking anxious and pained. I felt as if I had done the right thing, that you would be proud of the life that you led and your graceful exit.
Coming home to the kids carrying your cushion and the toys the kids had given us to take with you, to keep you company until the end was painful. The kids wondered where you were, if you were coming back if they could see you one more time. It was so hard to tell them that you were gone forever that they couldn’t hold you any more but that you would always be in our hearts and in our memories. The rest of the day was filled with more sobbing and more questions about how it was so unfair and that we didn’t deserve to lose our beautiful cat.
Today has been such a difficult day and as boy-child said, it is the worst day of his life, he hopes that he never has to feel like this again. Girl-child hopes that she never has to be this sad again, commenting that she wished we could all go to sleep together and not wake up so she didn’t have to feel this sad. Both kids had difficulty going to sleep because each time they shut their eyes they could see Licia but knew that they would never get to hold her again, that every time they thought about her it hurt. We decided that even though she is no longer with us, she will always be with us, she was such a great cat that she must be an angel looking over us. Together we went out on to the balcony, looked up to the cloudy sky and sobbed Oh Licia Lou, we do love you.
Eventually the kids drifted off to a restless sleep and I am sitting here with a gaping void on my lap. The space that is normally reserved for you, right in front of the keyboard is empty and I don’t like it. I miss you Licia. How can a little bundle of fluff possibly fill such a huge part of our lives or our hearts. Oh Licia Lou, I do love you.