It’s not often that I write a non-sports story, let alone a personal story.
Writing helps me to organize my thoughts and feelings. Tapping into the deepest emotions in me is the reason most of my writings never see the light of day. Never will I claim to be a great writer. But I do very much love to write. And so today, I write with a heavy heart about an event that transpired and provide insight into my non-sports world. Pardon my ramblings.
I am not a “cat-person”. I am a “dog-person”. Absolutely, positively, love dogs. I own a dog whom I love very much. He’s been my salvation, of sorts. Much like one animal did for another member of my family.
For the last 19 years, there’s been a cat in my life. My daughter’s cat, Sadie.
We had no pets in our home when Vanessa was little. I dearly wanted a pet but for various reasons, we didn’t have one. 19 years ago, Sadie came into our lives. She was a present for Vanessa during her 4th grade year. Aside from school and soccer, Sadie and Vanessa were inseparable. Sadie became the best friend and sister Vanessa never had. Sadie was there for Vanessa when she was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in 5th grade. She helped Vanessa through the angst, anger, frustration and sadness that comes with being a preteen and teenager with diabetes. Sadie listened and loved Vanessa like almost nobody else could.
As Vanessa grew into an adult, her love for Sadie never changed even though life took her away from her beloved cat. Sadie remained in our home. For a while, Sadie latched on to me after Vanessa left. Even though I wasn’t a “cat-person”, it was fine. But, as she grew older she latched on to the men of the house for affection and comfort.
Although she was 19, it still came as a surprise this past Monday when I found her curled up downstairs in a corner of the basement. Hour after hour after hour.
She wouldn’t eat or drink anything all day long. Worry began to set it. 1am, Tuesday morning, I couldn’t sleep because I was thinking about her. I made my way downstairs and found her in the same spot as Monday morning. I knew she wasn’t eating or drinking so I brought her water over to her. She drank.
The remainder of Tuesday was similar, yet a sign. I gave her coat a good combing. She purred, but hardly moved. By Tuesday afternoon, unbeknownst to me, she had made her way across the room to a scratch pad in front of the fireplace. Looking back on it now, the amount of effort that it must have taken for her to do that was enormous. In the evening, she got up once more and tried to walk.
My heart broke.
Think of someone who is drunk trying to stand up and walk.
Multiply that by 100.
That was Sadie trying to walk.
We moved her back to the corner of the basement. It was her go-to place on Monday when the downward spiral began so we gave her that bit of comfort again. It is that same place she was this morning when the decision was made to help her make her next move. We couldn’t let her be in pain anymore. The sounds of her struggling to breathe normally…well, those of you who’ve been through this know what I’m referring to.
I’ve lost dogs before. When I was a child. I never had to make the decision though to end their lives. I grieved. I wailed. I mourned.
I attended countless numbers of funerals when I was a kid of extended family members. I grieved. I wailed. I mourned.
In my adult life, however, there have been fewer funerals to attend. Obviously a good thing but, my only reference of death and funerals was when I was a child. It made Sadie’s death today vastly different.
Different in that it’s now “my” kids who will be dealing with death. Each have or will deal with it in their own way. Even as I write this I still have to tell my youngest who has been away for the last few days on a school ending field trip to Seattle. He has no idea what’s been going on. He has no idea of what I am about to tell him in about an hour. He will come home full of joy and weariness to sadness and reflection. I pray that I have the right words to speak. I know my arms will be big enough…
Rather than me rambling on about Sadie and what she’s meant to this family, I’ll let Vanessa have the last words while I grieve, wail and mourn.
I texted a picture to Vanessa of Sadie out in the sun.
She’s been an amazing kitty. I’ll miss her very much. She’s the best. I love her. Thank you mum.