Friday, March 4, 2011

The Paw Prints on my Heart

What we once have enjoyed we can never lose; all that we love deeply, becomes a part of us. --Helen Keller

I guess I have put off writing about this long enough. Subconsciously, it's been nice to not write because that way I don't have to accept the reality... But that's not a healthy way to live and writing is a good way to process my feelings.

So with that said, on January 10th we learned that Minnie's cancer was not treatable and that it had spread. Because of that news, we had to put her down that day. Since then I haven't felt like things have been the same since, which of course, they aren't.

I may seem melodramatic or overdoing this event that has happened in my life, but I don't feel that I am. After all, I lost a little friend that I have had in my life for 13 years. She's been there for me for everything-- such a precious creature in God's amazing creation.
On the morning of the 10th, I had that awful feeling. I just knew that would be her last day... I had been up most of the night crying with Mom and loving on her. We could tell she was very uncomfortable, as she made multiple trips out to the litter box but could not produce anything.

That morning when I got up, she came and snuggled next to me... and I just got hysterical. I kept saying, "Don't go... I don't want you to go..." My sister was still sleeping but heard me and came in to comfort me. I was pretty much grasping for air at that point since I was crying so hard.

I don't remember all the details in the morning, but I know I was getting ready for work at that time. What I do remember though is the few minutes before I had to leave. I held Minnie for the longest time and talked to her. I told her that I loved her enough to let her go- as it wasn't fair to keep her if she wasn't comfortable... Whenever I stand in that spot in my room I can vividly recall holding her and feeling the weight of her in my arms... and the feel of her silky fur... and the sound of her gentle purring. It always feels like it was just yesterday that she was here.

I remember being in the kitchen getting my stuff to go and looking at the clock at 9:25. Minnie was wandering around the kitchen-- she was looking out the sliding glass doors to the backyard; watching the birds and wildlife. I remember thinking "Enjoy this Minnie, this could be your last time to see all of this..." Then as I was leaving to go out the back door, she briefly came outside... and I looked at her, knowing those would be last few looks at her. And then I turned the corner and headed to my car, crying all the way to work.

A part of me really wanted to believe everything would be okay and that her cancer was treatable. But unfortunately, I couldn't fight my intuition.

I didn't talk to my boss about what was going on nor acted much different. I did feel like I was in a fog all day and felt physically exhausted. I remember watching the clock because Minnie was supposed to be at the vet at 1pm. As I was organizing cards and helping customers, I watched every minute tick by...

At one point I looked at the register and it said "14:23" (2:23) and all in that moment, I nearly had a full blown panic attack. I felt this sharp pain through my chest-- an achy sensation. Kind of hard to explain really.

Ironically, that was about the time Minnie was put to sleep. When I was done with work, I checked my phone and had a few missed calls. My mom was in California that day for a meeting so that was also weird. Anyway, she had a very sad voicemail for me saying she had to make that horrible decision and hoped I wasn't mad at her. I called her back before leaving the parking lot... and in that odd winter light, under that clear crisp sky and wispy clouds... my mom and I sobbed and sobbed, missing our precious furry tortie.

I got home and cried with my sister-- feeling surrounded by the dead silence in the house. Such an odd sense of quiet. A feeling of something missing.

Later that evening, we were able to go over to our neighbor's and watch the BCS game with them. It was so nice to be in a different environment and to be with good friends. I feel very thankful for them to let us come over.

Before bed, my aunt checked in on us to see if we needed a hug. She gladly came down to comfort us and let us cry. She had actually been at the vet with my sister, dad, and my sister's boyfriend when it was time to put Minnie down. My mom had requested that she would be there for them and to sort of be in our place (as Mom and I couldn't be there). I am so blessed to have such a loving aunt.
And that's how that day was... Not a good way to start out 2011. Certainly very unexpected. But so many people have felt that way too-- on the 8th there was that horrible shooting on Tuscon. No one expected that either.

There's no way to make sense about death and why it's the only answer sometimes.. or why it's the unexpected thief. What we can know for sure and what I cling to are the memories. It's not the same-- I want her here more than anything. I miss her every day... I'll keep her beautiful songs, trills and meows in my heart and carry her memory with me always.

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