Friday, July 21, 2006
Good Night, Sweet Ed
On July 18 we lost our Eddie. Incidentally, this is my birthday as well, and losing a loved one has to be the last way I'd choose to mark my birthday.
It was breakfast time, and my brother had just made me a fabulous birthday breakfast spread... we were sipping mimosas when Don yelled to me. Ed was under the couch, and not breathing well at all.
We rushed to the emerg clinic and I ran in, thinking I had it all under control, but when I had to speak, I started to cry, and a garbled, "MY CAT'S NOT BREATHING RIGHT!" or something similar fell out of my mouth. They rushed him in and started him on puffers (thinking maybe he was asthmatic) and put him on oxygen immediately.
Later in the day, after xrays turned up nothing, they did an ultrasound, and found that he had heart disease, with scarring as evidence of prior minor attacks.
This one had thrown a blood clot to his legs and lungs, leaving him without the use of his legs and a lung filled with fluid.
I kept thinking, wow, this is really serious, and at least now we know what's wrong, so we can watch for it when we take him back home... but as the day wore on, the painful truth became more and more evident. Eddie was not coming home with us.
It was past midnight when we decided to put an end to Ed's suffering, he wasn't going to be able to breathe on his own, and even if he could, by this time his back legs were of no use. We couldn't make him hang on and suffer through this without hope of regaining his prior quality of life. We had spent a lot of tears that day, in fear that we'd have to face this decision, but it had to be. We said goodbye to him about 12.30 - so far the hardest thing either of us has had to do.
It's been more than a month now, and I'm not sure that I actually believe it happened. It seems so surreal, and so wrong. I had never expected to lose Ed first. He was only 10 years old. It somehow made more sense to me that Lucy, our older cat, or Ender, our dog, would be the first to go... not Ed. It took us by surprise, really knocking the wind out of us. For a couple of weeks afterwards, I just felt exhausted. I am still having the hardest time at night, when I expect him to come pouncing up onto the bed, to sleep on our pillows (strategically placing himself as far from the dreaded dog as possible)
Sometimes I swear I hear his scratchy little meow (a la "Cartman" from South Park) or see his white and silver shape out of the corner of my eye. The dog has stopped peering around corners, deciding that his great white nemesis has left him alone, but I still find myself looking for him, expecting him to be there.
We surely miss Ed, he filled a big space in our family, and we know he will never be replaced. Even though I desparately want this to make some sense, I think I have realized that there is no sense to be made of it, no happy twist to the story, because I have never believed most of those fairy tales anyway.
A good friend told me this past weekend that there is an old Indian (native North American, I'm assuming) story that says our pets will be waiting to greet us when we die. I'd like to believe that, but it will be some time before I can test that theory out.
Ed, my first "Mister," I miss you little Man.