Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Gone, But Never Forgotten

My friends, as you can see, I haven't posted in a little while. The last week has been filled with much sadness and aggravation. I don't want to talk about the aggravation part, which I will only say can be mostly attributed to my job and its ever-increasing ability to DESTROY MY SOUL.

I need to talk about the sadness---a sadness so strong that I have been unable to articulate it here for nearly a week. And I'd venture to say that I still can't express it to its fullest depths.

Last Wednesday (11/12) Todd and I had to make the hardest, saddest decision of our lives. We had to have Mr. Chesterfield euthanized.

As you may recall from earlier posts I made over the summer, Mr. C had taken ill---rather mysteriously---sometime in August. He seemed to respond well to the medications and treatments we gave him and appeared to be doing ok all through the month of September and most of October. Sometime just before Halloween I thought that he looked terribly thin. He was not eating as much as usual. He was not nearly as vocal as he used to be. Mr. Chesterfield was a chatty cat, let me tell you! And he still had weird bald patches in his fur, but in different spots than he had before. He also seemed to have a cold and was wheezing. We also noticed that he had rubbed off all the fur on his nose. It was very odd.

However, as is the case with most cats, he never complained or gave us any indication that he was sick or hurting. Sometime in the first week of November we noticed that he wasn't peeing or pooping very much, if at all. His eating declined further. I picked him up one day and it was like picking up a stuffed animal. He felt like he weighed nothing. I could feel his ribcage. I cried that day. We weighed him as best we could and he was about 6.5 pounds. This cat was 12 pounds when we got him a year ago and was a little over 8 pounds when we last brought him to the vet in September.

Something was wrong. We knew we had to take him to the vet, but we were dreading the visit. We loved Mr. C and couldn't face the facts --- he was dying.

For the 3 days before we took him to the vet for his final visit, he ate practically nothing. He couldn't care less about food, water, cat-nip, treats or anything else for which he would normally come running. The only thing he did still enjoy was sitting about an inch away from the mini ceramic heater that we use in the upstairs office in our house. Maybe the concentrated heat on his old bones relieved pain or comforted him in some way. We'll never know.

The day we took him for euthanizing, we tried giving him treats; he refused them. He didn't want anything. We wanted his last moments in his home to be comfortable and the best they could be, so we turned on the heater for him one last time. He stood there, lovely, dignified, with his eyes squinted in delight. Putting him in his carrier after that was quite possibly the most heart-wrenching thing I have ever done.

We got to the vet's office---they knew ahead of time what was to be done---and were met by one of the vet's assistants, Jennifer. She is the sweetest, most considerate, caring, gentle person that you'd ever want to meet. I was immediately comforted that she was there to help attend to Mr. C in his last moments with us. We took him out of the carrier and she weighed him: 6 pounds, 4 ounces. They had placed a thick, navy blue, wool blanket on the exam table for him to lay on. He sat there like nothing was wrong. He was absolutely silent, calm, one paw tucked under and one paw resting out --- it was like nothing I have ever seen.

We waited what seemed like forever for our vet to come in. I think it was about 40 minutes. Todd and I just kept petting Mr. C and rubbing under his chin. We were both shaking, sick with terror at what lay ahead. Our vet came in and she examined Mr. C for herself. She agreed that it was time for him to go. His muscles had atrophied, the infected ulcerations in his mouth were back with a vengeance, and his kidneys were failing him. I believe he had sepsis as well. All the while she poked, prodded, and squeezed Mr. C, he never made a sound or resisted in any way. He remained quiet and peaceful, with his usual dignified expression. He was ready, I believe that now.

We were not.

She gave Mr. C a sedative so that he would fall asleep. And then we held his paws and stroked his head while she administered the lethal injection. As he let out a final little sigh, Mr. Chesterfield's sweet, gentle heart stopped beating forever and he was gone.

I felt like someone cut out my heart and tossed it out in the street. I had to try to hold back the
floodgate of tears I could feel ready to come pouring out of my eyes. Whatever grief I showed at that moment was nothing compared to Todd's. He sobbed uncontrollably. He was inconsolable. I managed to sign the paperwork for Mr. Chesterfield's ashes and we left via the side door. I wept in the car.

Today we're feeling better, mostly. I mean, we know it was the right thing to do. But we miss Mr. Chesterfield terribly, and always will. I know I will never meet another cat like Mr. C. I'll repeat what I've said countless times before: he was the sweetest, loveliest animal anyone could ever want as a pet. He is physically gone from this world, but never from our hearts and minds.

We love you, Mr. Chesterfield.


Bubblesknits said...

Gina, I'm so sorry. It's so hard to lose them. Sending lots of healing thoughts your way.

Katie J said...

XXXOOO <3 <3 <3

I'm so sorry Gina.

Anonymous said...

Lovely tribute. So sorry for your loss

Anonymous said...

Mr. Chesterfield was such an awesome cat, and he had a great home with you guys. He was ready to go, though, and it sounds like it was as peaceful as it could have possibly been.

Hang in there...

Beth said...

Todd and Gina you are in my thoughts. I know how difficult it can be, I will never forget the day I took my cat, Tillie, to the vet for the last time. You did the right thing.

the nicole kline experience said...

dude, i'm crying at my desk right now. <3 this line got me:

He stood there, lovely, dignified, with his eyes squinted in delight.

<3<3<3 mr. c.!! <3

Anita said...

I arrived from Bubblesknits blog.... I'm sooooo sorry to hear about Mr. Chesterfield. My heart goes out to you. We've been there before too. May you quickly find some peace in your memories of such a wonderful friend.

Gina said...

Thank you all for you kind words about my special guy! :-*

michelle f said...

Oh Gina. That is exactly how I felt about having to take my Logan. I'm so glad you had Todd with you - I was by myself. It was the worst day of my life so far. There I was, on the floor, holding him and trying to tell the vet, bless her heart, all the stories about when Logan was a kitten. It was the first day in my life that I truly felt grown up. Not even being a mother has made me feel so much like an adult. That is a decision that I never in my life want to have to make again. However, I know I will have to, because I can't be without my beloved pets. I am sending love and prayers your way.