Some of you read and very kindly responded to my first blog about Indigo, my cat who was dying of kidney failure. We thought we were looking at losing her very, very soon.
Fate took pity on us, and we had the joy of her company for almost three more months.
When we took her into the vet’s shortly after I posted, she was given a double subcutaneous drip…and rallied. She came home better than she had been in some time, with more energy, more appetite, and all that love. We began to drip her twice each day, and she did well for many more weeks.
But it couldn’t last.
In early July, she began to decline again. It turned out she had high blood pressure, and needed medications for that. We had to double her other medications, so now she received oral meds, which she despised, twice a day. She began to sleep more, interact less, and, most heartbreaking of all, started to slink away when she saw us coming, thinking we would either stick a needle into her or force things down her throat.
We moved the litterbox upstairs and she had fewer accidents, but this tended to isolate her from the rest of the day to day interaction. She began to slow down even more as the days passed, and my partner Kirby, who had to leave for ten days in July, was worried she might not make it until he got home.
We needn’t have worried. Our little Buddha kitty, all about love, waited for him. And the day after he got home, we met with an in-home euthanasia vet from a place called Home to Heaven.
It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Many of my Facebook and real life friends supported me in making this decision, and I must say, though it ripped my heart out, it was a beautiful and sweet passing. Kirby and my ex-husband Michael were there, and Indigo seemed to know what was going on, for she settled right down without any protest, struggle or fight. She was petted and loved while I read the Rainbow Bridge poem and a story about the Buddha and a woman who came to realize that no one in the world was untouched by death or sorrow. And then, very tenderly and with no pain or trauma, Indigo the Buddha kitty slipped from this life with loving hands stroking her.
Did we all cry? Oh yeah. Then and later. But it felt right in a way that three months ago, it didn’t. I missed her terribly at first; still do. It seems odd not to have only D’Artagnan, and we find ourselves saying “The cats” and not “the cat.” I keep thinking that I’ll see her in her usual spot, and hold that little paw to be rewarded with purring that could be heard in the next county.
I tend to second guess myself. But every time I would look back on this choice, I found only peace and rightness. I know that every minute of her life, she was loved and cared for, right up until the final one. May we all have such a gentle passing.
Interestingly enough, the last two months seem as if the Reaper has been working overtime. Two other friends lost their beloved pets. I’ve lost an internet friend–someone I cared about but never had the chance to meet. Another friend lost a parent and grandparent in the same week. Friends of friends have lost parents and children. I really don’t know how to react or what comfort to offer.
I am, oddly, not depressed, although I feel a bit beaten up by so much of this coming so fast. It makes me realize that life is fleeting, and one should seize joy when it comes. Tell those you love, that you love them. Now. Tomorrow you might not have the chance.
I leave you all with the quote from The Art of Happiness, by the Dalai Lama, that brought me comfort.
“In the time of the Buddha, a woman named Kisagotami suffered the death of her only child. Unable to accept it, she ran from person to person, seeking a medicine to restore her child to life. The Buddha was said to have such a medicine.
Kisagotami went to the Buddha, paid homage, and asked, “Can you make a medicine that will restore my child?”
“I know of such a medicine”, the Buddha replied. “But in order to make it, I must have certain ingredients.”
Relieved, the woman asked, “What ingredients do you require?”
“Bring me a handful of mustard seed”, said the Buddha.
The woman promised to procure it for him, but as she was leaving, he added, “I require the mustard seed be taken from a household where no child, spouse, parent, or servant has died”.
The woman agreed and began going from house to house in search of the mustard seed. At each house the people agreed to give her the seed, but when she asked them if anyone had died in that household, she could find no home where death had not visited –in one house a daughter, in another a servant, in others a husband or parent had died. Kisagotami was not able to find a home free from the suffering of death.
Seeing she was not alone in her grief, the mother let go of her child’s lifeless body and returned to the Buddha, who said with great compassion, “You thought that you alone had lost a son, the law of death is that among all living creatures there is no permanence”.