Goodbye

It has been about 17 years since my father passed away. When I got the phone call, it was a bit of a shock. It was a sudden heart attack. The first and only.

When it happened, he and my mother had been on an extended vacation. They had been there for close to a year. It might be difficult to understand, but I had been familiar with the distance so it wasn’t very difficult for me after he was gone. The physical distance was just permanent.

Even so, the idea of the man I called Father being trapped in a box was daunting for me. My father was full of life. He would yell at soccer games, laugh at movies, enjoy his wine at dinner. I couldn’t imagine him in a little box. I didn’t want to.

It was such a relief when I finally saw him in a coffin. That man may look like my father, but my father wasn’t there. The passionate man I knew was gone. This “thing” could go into the ground. I was happy knowing that my father, his essence, his life, wouldn’t be trapped in a box.

Today, I am faced with another loss. People who aren’t animal lovers will not understand what this is about, but for those who are, you will share my pain.

My purebred Himalayan of 18 years has decided he’s had enough and wants to rest. Really, who can blame him? As a purebred, he was expected to rest after 14, maybe 15 years. He is a tenacious fellow and quite stubborn.

About a month ago, I found blood right under his mouth, so I took him to the vet who said that he was experiencing kidney failure. So I have cried more for my cat in this past month than I did when my father passed.

Shadow Cat has lived with me since he was a kitten. He has scratched me, stolen my pillow, woken me up for a pet, puked on my floor so I could step in it, has insisted on walking all over me as I try to sleep, jumped on my lap as I watched tv, has rubbed his little head into my hands insisting on attention, has given me companionship when I was lonely, but most of all, has loved me unconditionally. I love him far more than I ever expected to.

And as I see him wither away (he has stopped eating and drinking) a sense of loss and sadness washes over me. I want his pain to stop but can’t bring myself to kill him. For two weeks, I have watched his deterioration continue. Now, he can’t even lift his head. He doesn’t have enough strength for anything. Barely to breathe.

Today, I have decided to end his suffering. I haven’t made the call yet but I have decided that I need to. I will play God and end his life. In my head, I tell myself that I’m doing it to end his pain but I wonder if I’m not doing it to end my own instead.

I hate seeing him like this. I told myself I could just keep him company until he passed but he’s not passing quickly enough for me.

Have you ever seen a cat who can’t purr? Can’t meow? It’s really one of the saddest thing on the planet. He opens his mouth, even while his eyes are closed, and nothing comes out.

His body is stiff. If I didn’t see his fur going up and down with each breath, I would have said he had already passed. And his breath, ugh, it smells like death.

So, today, I will be a cruel bitch and have my cat assassinated. I will watch as they give him something which will make his heart stop. Make him take his last breath.

And the one creature who would have given me comfort will cease to exist.

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