My eyes ache in a way that is unfortunately familiar, but unfelt in many years. My heart feels an emptiness that is also bitterly nostalgic from long ago. Not wanting to go to sleep because waking up and realizing the truth once again is exhaustingly sad. Loss has to be the worst feeling that could ever be felt.
There are varying levels of loss. All different kinds. So many scenarios which cause loss. But at some degree, they all create similar symptoms which for the most part really suck ass big time.
I have had much loss in my life. All of my grandparents had died by the time I was 24. My father died when I was 23. And even before he passed away, I had lost him numerous times. I felt the stomach aching of loss when I was dumped by a couple men I loved dearly and some I just thought I loved. These are very typical and everyone experiences these phases through life – as we are always reminded when going through it feeling as though a part of us is dying.
There is anther form of loss – the loss of a pet. Like people, some pets die suddenly, some linger for years. Some die very old and some way before their time. And some affect us more than others and make a larger impact once they are gone. Brian, my beautiful cat, made a booming impact in my life and her being gone is affecting me more than I could have ever imagined.
About 2 months ago or so we learned that Bob, Brian’ brother and litter mate, has renal insufficiency. But his numbers were borderline and we started him on kidney food. He has been very healthy – eating well, drinking and quite playful. But nonetheless, the vet made it clear that the insufficiency would eventually turn into renal failure and he likely didn’t have more than 3 years to live. I was devastated. We brought him in initially because he obviously had lost A LOT of weight. Bob was always a big cat – fatty guy – so when he lost the weight, it was very visible. My mom had mentioned that Brian seemed real thin too. But she was the runt of the litter and always very small. So I really didn’t notice a loss on her. I was wrong – one o my first reasons for feeling as guilty as I do.
During the time since Bob was diagnosed, I have been spoiling him quite a bit and paying a lot more attention to him, especially since I didn’t know how long he would be around. I didn’t ignore Brian by any means, but my attention was more towards Bob.
On this passed Monday, Brian jumped on my bed as I was laying there and peed. She then proceeded to poop right there. I knew instantly that she was sick. Never had she EVER in her life gone to the bathroom outside of her litter box. I figured she might have a bladder infection. So I brought her in that afternoon. After the Vet weighed her, she was really concerned. She had lost 4 pounds!! I couldn’t believe it. With Bob’s history, she wanted to get labs. After waiting a while, Brian still didn’t pee for them, so they asked to keep her over night a no extra charge. The next morning I went to pick her up and the Dr had very bad news. She said that the blood work looked really bad and that Brian was most definitely in critical renal failure. Her BUN and Creatine levels were sky high. She told me about pumping fluids into her but she couldn’t say if that would help. She told me to think about it and call her the next day. I dropped Brian – who was acting pretty normal – off at home and left for work. When I returned home only a couple hours later, Brian as I knew her was a shell of herself. She physically could not lift her head. The top of her head was almost dragging on the ground. She could barely walk. I brought the litter box upstairs and she just aid down in front of it. I put a big towel around her and laid with her. I called the vet and they told me to bring her back in. As I waited for Charlie I just laid there with Brian hoping some medicine would be all that was needed. But deep down, I knew it was bad. Death has a smell. And what they refer to as a “death rattle” is all too real. I witnessed it with my father and now with Brian.
I brought her back to her Dr. The Dr. said the head posture was due to a lack of potassium which is brought on by the renal failure. She said that her only chance was to see how she would be after a full 24 hours of IV fluids. So, again, she had to stay overnight. I felt SOOOOOOOOOOOO bad leaving her there again.
I called as soon as they opened the next morning. She was alive, but the tech said her posture hadn’t changed and that they would be taking more blood work that afternoon. They finally called about 3pm and simply asked me to come in. I didn’t ask any questions and said I would be right there.
A tech came out and said, “Are you here to visit Brian?” Visit? I was holding my cat carrier for Pete’s sake. She led me into a room I had never been in before. There was a couch with about 3 boxes of Kleenex on it. It was then confirmed. The Doctor came in and explained that Brian was not only not better in any way, but her levels were even higher and she was dying. She said that she suspected I would want to euthanize her so not to prolong any discomfort.
They brought Brian in lying on a big wool blanket. She was all stained from the iodine (my cats are mostly all white) and looked so much unlike herself. She curled up against me as I lay on my side next to her. She purred as I spoke to her and would occasionally lick my nose as she did at least 1200 times a day. How could I put her to sleep when she is purring and licking my nose?? How can they NOT make her better?? She is ONLY 8 years old!!! So much was going through my mind and all I could do is cry. We laid there for about an hour. I kept telling her how much I loved her. Told her to find Grandma Rose – my grandmother who was a huge cat lover – in heaven. And I kissed her about a million times. The vet came in and asked if I was ready. She knelt down in front of us and gave her the shot as Brian just calmly laid in my arms. She was gone in seconds. The Dr. listened to her heart and then said, she is gone now. I started sobbing terribly. I told the Dr she could take her and as she walked away with my beautiful tiny girl in the big wool blanket, my heart sank in a way I had almost forgotten. I was crying loud and ugly. And when I could finally catch my breath, I left.
I cried that whole night and off and on since. I miss her incredibly and so does Bob. Cassidy was pretty upset when I told her Brian was in heaven. She cried for a while. Now she just keeps asking those very tough questions for which I have no answers.
Brian came into my life 8 years ago. Her and Bob were abandoned by their stray mother. I bottle fed them until they were ready to eat. I was single at the time and they had quickly gone from cute little kittens to being my kids. They were everything to me. They slept with me every night, sat on the edge of the tub when I took baths and showers (sometimes even jumping in with me!!). They licked my face as though they thought they were dogs. Needles to say, my attachment to Bob and Brian was and is larger than life.
I miss my girl so much. And I will hold Bob as much as I can for as long as I can.
Right now, it still hurts. Bad.