Thursday, January 3, 2008

The Ying and Yang of things

Tonight I'm taking my cat to the vet. She won't be coming back. She has a scarily fast-growing cancer that started just over a month ago in her mammary glands. It has moved into her lungs and this morning I found a tumor on her neck, right after I discovered that she has also become incontinent.

I try to live by the Buddhist philosophy of "Do no harm." This is challenging at the best of times, and coupled with my uber-vegetarian self, helping my cat into her next life has been hard. I don't want her to suffer. At the same time, she can't tell me this is what she wants. After seeing her this morning, however, I'd be willing to bet she'd ask for some help if she could. The pain meds don't seem to be helping much, and her breathing is getting rough. This sucks on toast, but it's the best I can do for her.

When I was in college my chinchilla died. I dug the hole, lined it with grass, placed the chinchilla in, and then broke down bawling. My little sister (7 years younger) was left to fill up the hole by herself. She's the less emotional one, obviously. And in March, when our bunny died, J had to put Frank in the box and bury him, because I was once again a wreck. This time, however, I decided that if she needed to be "Put to sleep" that she wasn't going to do it alone. I'm going to stay with her tonight, and then go home and lose my shit. Maybe it's being a mom (not that I wasn't in March, but something has apparently changed since then) but I no longer want to cower from death. This urge to protect my family from the harder things...where did it come from? Is this because I love my furry little friend more than past pets? Is this because I made her and her sister a promise when they were my only companionship? Or is this a stage that everyone reaches...the point at which it is more important that your child and spouse don't suffer so you shoulder the burden on your own?

My little one is already at her Grandma's house, so that she won't see kitty leave and not come back. J has his game tonight, so I'll be free to cover myself with snot and wail and drink wine, without someone trying to comfort me or asking me to read a story. Hopefully this time will let me get back into fighting form for tomorrow, when I will again be surrounded by the diaper-wearing set. The last kid is usually gone by 5:30, and the appointment is at 6, so I won't have to rush, but there also won't be a lot of time to get morose. I've had this appointment since yesterday, but it was obvious it needed to be made when we woke up New Year's Day. This is the day when the vet's office stays open late, and was therefore the option that didn't include having someone else watch the kids while I took the kitty, returned without her and wept in another room. The latter option would be less pleasing to the parents, I'm guessing.

I've been distracted and anxious today (so much so that I threw up this morning-that was unexpected) but the kids have been good, very good, and I had a comment on my last post, which always gives me a little rush of joy. Both times. (Thanks Annie!) I found out that we could have kitty cremated at a reasonable price, which spares her body the indignity of being stored in the garage until the ground thaws. (J actually looked in our freezer last night and asked about storage room at my parent's house. Horrible, but funny. I wouldn't have handled dead feline friend in our freezer near the Boca burgers well AT ALL.) When the ground thaws we'll bury her ashes and plant a tree with them. It's the best I can do.

(For a (intended to be) short post, this one really rattles on, doesn't it? Thanks for listening.)

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