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Friday, March 6, 2015

Hard Goodbye

I adopted Spot when he was 6 weeks old more than 15 years ago. I got him as a companion for my 1-year-old, Sterling, who was at home for long hours while I worked. I never imagined myself as a cat person, but the two of them changed my mind and changed me for the better.

Just over two years ago, Sterling fell ill unexpectedly and was dying right before my eyes. Seeing her in that condition made the decision to put her to sleep a relatively easy one. No, saying goodbye and missing her afterward (still) wasn't easy, but it was crystal clear what needed to happen and I'm a firm believer in doing what's right, not what's easy.

It is now time to say goodbye to our Spotty. I'm wrecked. Wrecked. Scheduling the day a loved one will die sucks.

Spot has had a rough go of things over his 15 1/2 years. His kidneys have gone out on him twice. His liver once shut down so completely that I almost lost him...again twice. He ended up with a feeding tube in his side and I ended up missing school and work for days on end as I was with him in the hospital and at home afterward, feeding him ever so delicately and precisely. He made it, though. He was younger then, stronger.

Now, his hips are going, he sleeps far more than he's awake, his rarely eats but is always hungry (so much so that his stomach makes the most awful sounds), is in pain when he drinks water...he's not even afraid of the vacuum anymore. He's old and he's dying, but he's dying slowly. I know it's time.

Then there are the times when I'm not so sure. There are days, sometimes even a week at a time, when he seems to be getting better. Those days screw with my head in the worst of ways. Those days bring into question everything I observe, know about Spot, believe about quality vs. quantity, feel in my heart - mostly that last part. It's hard enough to say goodbye to a beloved pet; I don't need the anxiety and uncertainty on top of all the heartache.

Part of me selfishly wishes he'd make things clear, like Sterling did. How awful, though! It killed me to see her hurting. How could I wish for that again? Ah, because it made making the call easier. This, by contrast, is one of the hardest decisions I've ever had to make. Deciding that one of my babies will die tomorrow is eating me up. I just.........

This week, in particular, since I have thought of little else other than the upcoming date, I have found it terribly difficult to be around Spotty...or even look at him. I have had to force myself. I do force myself, though, because I know that if I don't, the regret will be even more terribly difficult and I don't want his final days to be ones in which he feels neglected. So, I kiss his face more than usual. I hug his bony body more than usual. I smell his sweet fur more than usual. And I tell him during every one of these interactions, "I'm going to miss you so much, Spotty. So, so much. I love you."

It's never enough, though. It's never going to be enough. And it hurts. Hard.

1 comment:

  1. I'm so sorry Amy & Zach. I can feel the pain and love in your words.