It’s too soon in so many ways. You would think it would be easier and hurt less. You would think that writing about it would be simple with all the good memories you have. You would think you could push back the tears that threaten to overwhelm you when you see his chair, find his toy, hold his collar. But it isn’t easier. It hurts more than you can explain to anyone.
It should be easier to share the feelings you have about it. There is a need to share that gnaws at the corner of your mind. Share his life, and share the joy that he brought and the anecdotes about his tiny existence. How beautiful he was and soft and funny and so fiercely loyal and in wholly in love with my husband. His cat, truly.
On Sunday, we lost Loki. When he came into our master bedroom, despite the puppy being there, and started meowing, loudly and insistently, we thought he was hungry or looking for attention or maybe even regretting his decision to be near the puppy. I even took a video of it, finding it odd, but he’s always been very vocal. When we came home after running errands and found him laying on the tile floor of our upstairs bathroom, not moving, and he let me pick him up, we knew something was wrong. He wouldn’t walk, wouldn’t even stand.
At 8 pm we ended up in the emergency room with him. The fact that he even let us put him in the carrier and didn’t fight was another bad sign, but I was in denial. Fearful, but optimistic. A blockage. Expensive, serious, but common. They would clear it, it could happen again, but cats live long lives with this problem and they just have to lose weight and change food. Loki would have to stay overnight, but we could get him in the morning. At nearly midnight, though, they called us to say they couldn’t clear it but would try again.
We picked him up in the morning with a battery of medications and the vet tech telling us they were so excited when they were able to clear the blockage that morning. We set him up in his own room so he could recover away from the puppy and began checking on him every thirty minutes. Had he moved? He wasn’t drinking water. We put some wet food in a bowl, but he didn’t want to eat. Luna wouldn’t go near him.
My husband had to go to work, so the puppy and I began doing the checks. I sat on the floor, brushing him as he looked at me, the puppy nosing around him, licking his head and legs. She had never been so patient and calm with him. She knew what I did not. When he hadn’t eaten or drank or even moved, and when I called the vet and told them, I was told to bring him back in. It had been just under twenty-four hours, and we were back in the same cold exam room. The same vet tech who told me how beautiful and brave and calm he was took him into the back to be examined. The receptionist came in and told me a man in the waiting room was so upset for me he offered to help pay the bill if we needed it. How beautiful a gesture.
I waited, crying. The vet came out and told me how bad his heart rate was, his respiration too slow, how blocked he was again, and how much pain he was in. There was no optimistic solution this time. Quiet voices, drawn faces. Do you need to make a phone call? A long, painful phone call with my husband where he told me that he had already said goodbye.
The vet tech brought Loki back in to me and told me her favorite place to rub him was behind his ears, the softest fur. That was my favorite place too. Do you need a blanket? No. Do you want to be with him? Yes. He curled up on me, his head nestled under my chin, eyes blinking slowly. We sat like that for ten minutes, me crying and telling him I was sorry. I had promised, after all, that he would get better, he would be okay, we would be going home soon. I held him, stroking his head, his paws, his ears as he was put to sleep, a tear rolling down the vets face. I sat with him after, sobbing, unbelieving. Five, ten, fifteen minutes passed. It could have been less, it could have been more. He was just four.
When the vet tech came back, she was crying too. She took his color off for me. She put it around my wrist for me. She took him, gently and slowly, from my arms and stroked him as she told me how beautiful he was, and then hugged me, still holding him.
Our beautiful little boy. So much love and joy in such a short amount of time. You have no idea how much you are missed.