I am usually the first to prod my friends and family into updating the medium of their choice. I will admit that I prefer blogs, but Facebook, Twitter, text messages, phone calls, email, or any other avenue works just fine for me. I know I do not blog as frequently as I request that others do, but I vindicate myself by reminding others that my blogs frequently top twelve hundred words. That is a lot of words! I know college students who cannot regularly complete 500-word essays because they lack the motivation — or capacity, because I cannot rule that out — to “flesh out” a thought longer than a few dozen sentences. With my quality-versus-quantity defense in my mind, I press on to a blog that I have been delaying on purpose.
I will mention first that I love the look of the new Timeline on Facebook. I had an issue during the transition that switched one of my settings to “Only Me” and that resulted in my updates being totally, 100% private. It is because of this that the last week or two of my life has slipped by my friends and family unnoticed. Classes are done until after the holidays, so I am spending some much-needed time relaxing and recovering. Going to Full Sail is demanding and very taxing on one’s health, so the break is extremely welcome. Other updates have mentioned the short trip I made to Fort Lauderdale to see Johnny, Katie, Christine, and her parents. The visit was so brief, but we had a great time with what we had. Dinner on Thursday was without Johnny because he had yet to arrive, but brunch was with the entire group. I cannot even begin to describe how good it felt to hang out with all of them.
The other updates that have been missed have involved Bob. For those that have not heard, I had to make the choice to put her to sleep this week. The tumor on her back was biopsied and came back with only the worst case scenario and no good news or hope. The vet said the surgery could be done to remove some of the cancer, but delaying the inevitable — it was not about “if” it came back, but “when” — would involve radiation and further surgeries. I weighed her comfort level, the required medications to keep her from hurting, the length of the life she had already lived, and the length of life that could be guaranteed — if it could be called that — with the surgeries and radiation against the cost and the inevitable.
This was one of the hardest choices I have ever had to make.
I spent a lot of quality time with her during the last week of her life. Once the appointment was made, it was just about keeping her comfortable and as happy as possible. Oblivious to her fate, she cuddled with me, played as much as her body would allow, and chattered to me whenever I spoke to her. When the time came to go, I put the crate on the floor. Trusting me completely, and believing I would never do her wrong, she hesitated only slightly before getting into it. This broke my heart. I think, in the back of my mind, I wanted her to fight me, to argue, or just to know that this was not a normal excursion. The trip to the vet was hard because Bob was meowing from the back seat. She had never liked the vet, and she understood what the crate meant. Any other time in the car she roamed the vehicle freely.
I opted not to be in the room when it was time. This is where many people will judge me. “You would condemn her to die, but not be there to support her?” My choice here was based solely on my memories of her. I knew she did not like the vet, and her hostile nature only came out there. When it came down to it, I wanted to remember her as the happy, cuddly cat that she was 99% of the time. She was not this yowling, spitting, hissing creature I had come to expect at every vet appointment. She was vibrant, purring, and so affectionate.
I am finding mixed forms of support as more and more people are finding out that Bob is no longer part of my world. There is support a-plenty, but different types. There is the ultimate and unbridled support of someone who has had a cherished pet and been forced to make the same decision. There is the genuine sympathy of someone who has had a pet, but has not experienced the loss of that pet. There is the support of someone who understands that I am in pain, but cannot relate because they have never had a pet. Then there is support because a friend feels obligated to be supportive, but they cannot understand why someone could be so broken up over an animal.
The last group is the group for which I feel the most sadness because they do not understand the complete and unbiased love of a pet. They do not understand the feeling of joy at having a creature genuinely happy to have you in their lives. I know some married couples who do not know that feeling from their spouse, but their cat/dog/hamster/bearded dragon makes them feel whole when they walk through the door and greets them with love.
That was Bob for me. No matter what my romantic relationship status was — and it has been many things over the years — she was there. She loved me unconditionally, supported me with simple actions like purring and cuddling, and uplifted me when things got hard. She knew when I was feeling down, and she thrived under my care. Well, at least she thrived until things started happening outside of my control.
My world is a much darker place without her in it. I can feel myself clinging to this feeling of emptiness and loss because I fear the lack of regret. Maybe remorse would be a better word, but I am unsure. I know I did the right thing, but I will always fear that she felt alone when the time came, or that she doubted my love for her because I let her go. Maybe I should have fought harder against the inevitable, and paid the obscene amounts of money to prolong her already doomed life. Perhaps I should have sat with her and attempted comforting her — knowing full well that she was not going to be comforted in that vet’s office.
I hope she knew how much I loved her, how much I will miss her.
I had some other stuff I was going to talk about, but I probably should have done so before I talked about Bob. I cannot remember the other things I wanted to say, which does not bother me as much as I think it should. I would rather close with this ache in my heart and the tears in my eyes.
In an attempt to close with a positive note, I will say this: May your holiday be everything you deserve and then some. For those that celebrate with Santa and presents, may the packages be plentiful and everything you desire. For those that celebrate with Jesus and thankfulness, may your world be richer and more vibrant than you believe you are entitled. For those that celebrate all of the above, may your season be filled with love, and hope, and dreams. Merry Christmas, happy readers.