Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Losing One of My Fuzzy Babies

November 3rd, 2012
Rest well, my baby girl.
For all the words I spoke about accepting death just a few days ago during the Samhain ritual, I can't say I handled this as graciously as I could have.  First, it was so incredibly sudden.  I noticed before the ritual that Nyx wasn't feeling well.  She hadn't been eating for a few days, but we chopped that up to typical picky cat. She'd always been finicky.  But I knew something was wrong when she was cuddling with Hermes on a bean bag.  She seemed so worn out.

We took her to our local vet on Thursday morning and they admitted her.  I can't say they took the best care of her.  They simply told me that she was having some liver problems and then put her in a small cage with food hoping she would eat.  She deteriorated over the two and a half days she spent there.

On Saturday, we visited her but it was obvious she wasn't doing well.  We took her for a second opinion at a local emergency clinic but it was too late.  They suggested we euthanize her.

So we did.

We brought her home for the other pets to smell.  They say that sometimes, pets who don't have the proper closure don't handle another pet's absence very well.  The best way to avoid that is to let them sniff the body of a pet who has passed so they understand what has happened.  Artemis, our dog, knew immediately something was wrong.  He pranced up to the window as we climbed the front stairs all smiles and waggle-tail, but that tail dropped immediately when he saw my face.  Artie sniffed Nyx but mostly comforted my husband and I as we cried.  Hermes did a passing smell, seemed to be at peace with it and moved on quickly.

It was Zeus that surprised me the most.

He approached cautiously, because Nyx has always been a firecracker.  I think he thought she was still alive at first.  He sniffed and jerked back expecting a lashing, but when it didn't happen, he continued to sniff her.  For fifteen minutes, he just sniffed her all over.  Then, he nudged her head.  Nothing.  Again, he nudged her head.  When she didn't respond it set in.  He started to groom her.  This lasted for several minutes before he slowly walked away, head down, and laid in the corner of the room.  He was defeated.

Honestly, I was defeated.  We had only had Nyx two years and she wasn't that old - only 6.  But she had a very rough life before she met us.  Her back was calloused, her toes pointing in the wrong directions as if they'd been broken.  She always drooled when she slept and couldn't chew her food very well - I think she had problems with her jaw.  She had a baby pooch and a look in her eyes like everything she'd ever loved had been stolen from her. When I saw her on Saturday, she looked at me like, "Please, just let it be over for me" and it broke my heart.

In between the time we brought her home from the local vet and took her to the emergency vet, I took a very long walk.  I actually ended up getting lost and had to call my husband to find me.  I don't remember much of the walk but I was angry, tired, and engulfed in grief.  I didn't have anything left.

I have lived life without regrets - something few people even at my young age of 24 can say - but I have some regrets with Nyx.  I wish I would have spent more time with her in her final days rather than shuffling her from vet to vet.  I wish I hadn't taken that walk.  I had no idea we were going to euthanize her just a short hour or two later, but I think my time would have been wiser spent holding my little girl.  The only time I held her from the time she was admitted to our local vet to the time she passed was when she took her last breath.

I have no words of wisdom today.  Nothing special to say on how to handle the loss of a pet.  I can't tell you I handled it well or that I have become a wiser person for it.

I am telling you how I am handling it to show that, while I may not be handling it well, there is no right or wrong way to manage grief and death.

Tonight, I changed my altar from Samhain over to a memory table for Nyx.  I found a beautiful clear cat candle holder and put it in the center with some cat food, tuna (Nyx's favorite treat), a letter to her and some various stones and herbs sprinkled around.  As letters and cards have come in and as friends have visited, the altar has grown.  It now includes three cards, a letter, and some incense and a cat statue I was gifted by some friends.  I'm waiting until we receive her paw print plaque to take it down.  When I do, I will burn the letter to Nyx and try to move on.

In the mean time, maybe we'll meet the next fuzzy baby that's meant to stay in our home.  It will never replace Nyx but I never want to stop rescuing, no matter how hard the end may be.

1 comment:

  1. This broke my heart, and I'm struggling to keep myself composed. Earlier this year I had a very similar, sudden-loss experience with my cat Toaster. She hopped into the neighbor's yard and was caught in mid-air by their dog. It broke her sternum. She coded at the emergency vet, and they couldn't perform CPR due to her injuries. It was on my birthday. From the day that I brought her and her sister home from the shelter, I knew Toaster was my familiar. I'd only known her for about 8 months and we had a bond deeper than the bond between me and my other cats, both of whom I'd had since they were 5 weeks old. To lose a familiar hits so hard. I know this is 5 years late, but I'm so sorry for your loss. I know how deeply it hurts, especially when it's so sudden.