Thursday, January 31, 2013

Goodbye friend

This morning our almost 15-year-old cat Gonzo died.  We were fortunate that he only suffered briefly and that he was able to pass without having to resort to euthanasia.  (I firmly believe that euthanasia is the kind thing to do for a pet in pain, but I would have had some guilt doing it.....because I'm just so good at guilt.)

We first noticed something was wrong on Tuesday morning, his breathing labored and his lack of movement.  By last night he wasn't able to walk at all.  I found him this morning after I returned home from a meeting at G's preschool while I was on the phone with an end-of-life vet who makes house calls.  There was no need for her to come.

I took Gonzo to a nearby pet crematorium.  For the kids' sakes, we are having him cremated so that we can have some kind of memorial/funeral.  It is simply too cold and the ground too wet for us to bury him in the yard.

I wrapped him in the blanket that I had covered him with last night.  Picking him up to carry to the car was surreal.  The power of that spark that makes us all alive and the strangeness of when it has gone is overwhelming.

Just as strange have been the conversations with the kids about death and me trying to explain what I think happens after a soul has passed on, trying to find a graceful and kind way of saying "I just don't know."  Hoping that my efforts to make it graceful and kind will make up for my lack of understanding of the great beyond.

And there is the guilt.  Because of the "joke" that scrolled through my head often prior to this week...."I have my carpet guy on speed dial just waiting for the cats to kick it so I can get rid of that nasty carpet they have funkified over the years."  Because of my decision to allow Gonzo to grow old without forcing medication/frequent vet visits/procedures on him for whatever chronic conditions he may have developed.  Every person says they want to grow old with their wits still about them and without medical conditions that require constant hospitalizations, doctor visits and excessive medication, and I felt like a cat would say the same thing.  I hope in my old age I will still believe that and not fight tooth and nail for life that may not be a life worth living.

I didn't expect to feel this sad, maybe because it happened so quickly.  Maybe because for many years now the cats have just been two more creatures to feed, tend to, clean up after.

So my sadness is a welcome relief, just like Gonzo's death.

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