Monday, April 10, 2006

Starting to breathe again

Oh, grief. This time I am so sad that I can't even speak. Wait - that's laryngitis. I wish I could relay a profound message about how God has struck me speechless to teach me a spiritual lesson, but I don't think the two are connected. My sweet cat died, and I have laryngitis.

Euthanasia - what a loaded word. When I think about doing this to people, I can't imagine being able to do it. I understand it, but I couldn't do it. But a pet, they can't tell you what they want. Maybe their soul does cry out for relief, maybe not. Does an animal have a soul? (I know, Nat, it must.) I just don't know.

I do know that as far as euthanasia goes, ours was a beautiful experience. So very sad, but also comforting.

I worked that day, and shared my afternoon "plans" with my middle school students. Granted, I only told them because they wouldn't listen to me and I was losing my voice, etc., and in an attempt to get them to STOP talking I told them I was on my way home to put my cat to sleep. Mean? Maybe. Human? Yep. So, one of my students said to me, in a way that only a self-centered middle school student can (that's their job, right?), "At least your cat wasn't hit by a car in the middle of the street like mine was, and...(blah, blah, blah, nice timing, kiddo)" I wasn't upset, it made me laugh, actually, I mean, life does go on, and middle schoolers will still be as inappropriate as they can sometimes be. A few of the other students were appropriately horrified at this comment.

In any case, I survived middle school once again, and came home a little early to say goodbye to my sweet angel Meeko. To make a long story short, our vet came to the house and we talked for 15 minutes or so about Meeko and Punky and what good cats they are. She pet Meeko in her little Meeko chair and shared our thoughts with us about what a trooper she was. The conversation just came to a natural lull and we took care of the paperwork as she explained what would happen with sedation, etc., what we could expect to see, etc.

Our little sweetheart let us say our tearful goodbyes, purring softly the whole time. She took the sedative like a champ and we watched her drift off to kitty dreamland. Fortunately Dr. Burnside was able to find her vein, and when we were ready, talked us through the actual euthanasia part. After a minute or two she softly said, "Her heart has stopped." Meeko never was one for too much affection, so I spent the time petting her body and playing with her little feet with which she used to tap us on the leg through the slats on our dining room chairs saying, "Mew" like a kitten. She went into the carrier and out the door...

I know that in time our memories of her will be her playing outside, tapping us on the leg, chasing the laser pointer, playing in the couch cushions as a kitten, cleaning Punky, scratching me when I tried to pick her up (I'll always have a scar to remember her by...). But for now my strongest memory is seeing her little body going into the cat carrier. It's terribly disturbing.

Listen to this -- our vet left a list of pet bereavement sources, a picture frame with a beautiful kitty poem, and a book called "For Every Cat An Angel." Today we received a card from her. I challenge that many people receive this kind of precious treatment from their vet. Now I feel bad for calling her the Grim Reaper when she first knocked on our door. (Ouch).

So I walk around, breathe (no talking, though), love my Punky-cat, and try to remember healthy Meeko when I can. There are a lot of things to look forward to, and no use re-living those last moments over and over again.

Thanks for listening, and being a Meeko lover (or at least an Amy lover).

God bless you and your pets.


Thelma said...

Oh sweetie, I'm so sorry. My eyes are welling with tears as I read, and I wish I was there to give you a hug.
Praying for your heart as you finish saying goodbye to a beloved furbaby.

Christine said...

Thanks for sharing those final moments. I'm sure it's therapeutic for you, as well.

What an amazing vet. WOW!