All That I Have Written Is Straw. . .

Meanderings of a Catholic Devout

Goodbye, Mon Petit Prince

with 4 comments


It’s been an extremely tough week.  Last Sunday, I had to put my best friend, my 17-year-old cat, down to rest.

He was very old and his health was rapidly declining. He had prepared me for his departure for the last couple of months. Throughout his entire life, he always crawled under my blanket at night and slept against my belly, softly purring. Until August or so. He suddenly stopped. I instinctively knew what was happening, but I still remained in a state of denial.

Over the last month, he lost so much weight, he was like a living skeleton. But his spirit never gave out. He still managed to jump onto the kitchen counter and every day upon my return from work, he’d loudly meow at me for treats.

Finally, last weekend, he could barely walk. His gums had swollen. I gave him cat milk to drink, but it wasn’t much help. On Saturday morning, he managed to jump onto my bed while I was sleeping and put his head near mine, his paw touching my hand. It was as if he was saying goodbye, somehow asking me for mercy. I won’t forget how weak he looked. . .nor how he sighed.

Sunday, I went to church and prayed as hard as I could.  That morning, he was so weak. I am not sure what the Catholic standpoint is on euthanizing dying pets. I found no evidence against it. I decided to spend one last Sunday afternoon with him and he slept most of the day next to me.

Finally, around 3:30, I picked him up, put him in a basket and carried him out. I was strong and didn’t cry much until I walked into the vet hospital. Then I bawled.

After a few minutes and making some very gross decisions, the vet called me in. They examined him and took him away to prepare him. I won’t forget his eyes as he looked at me while they took him away. He looked to me for answers, it seemed. He was nervous, but too weak to protest. His eyes spoke for him.

They brought him back a few minutes later. I told the vet that I wanted to be there when it happened. She came in and anesthetized him and he was instantly in a peaceful calm. Then she injected him with two more fluids and I watched him fade. God forgive me.

Then she said, “He’s gone.” 

I wept so loudly, almost screaming, and so bitterly that everyone could hear me in the office.  I think even the vet had a tear in her eye and she never even met us before.

Let me say that having a pet is not like having a child. But I literally watched Calvin pop out of his mother. I raised him and his sister. I had him since I was 15 years old and now I’m 32.  He was such a mellow and loyal cat. He wrapped his arms around my neck when I held him, like a toddler does to his mother.

He watched me grow up. He outlasted the majority of my relationships, including my marriage. He understood French, from all those years I studied it. When I was depressed, he consoled me as only cats can do. (Cat owners will understand what I mean.) He was mon beau chat, mon petit prince.

When he was happy, he’d detract and retract his claws around my index finger, as if he were holding my hand.

I can go on about my memories of Calvin. They keep flooding my brain.

I get weepy at times. Sunday evening was horrible.  Monday was bad. But Tuesday, I had stopped, mostly, because I returned to work. I had a great image in my head, as silly as it sounds, of Jesus petting Calvin on a bed in a great big room. I concentrate on this image a lot. I am happy that he lived such an astonishingly long and hopefully happy life. When he died, he did so gracefully, as was his way.

As I said, I don’t know if I wronged or not. God forgive me if I did. The priest and I will discuss this matter more thoroughly. I understand why euthanasia is wrong for humankind (always maintain hope). Life is precious.

Rest in peace, Calvin.

8-1-1993 to 11-14-2010

 

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Written by Written Straw

November 18, 2010 at 9:44 pm

Posted in Life

Tagged with , ,

4 Responses

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  1. I’m so sorry for your loss. IMHO a relationship with an animal is, so to speak, purer, less complex than with a human. It maybe reaches more directly this space where love remains. Then I understand and will do a humble, whispered prayer for Calvin, may he rest in peace.

    Je pense bien à toi.

    M.

    M.

    November 19, 2010 at 11:53 am

    • Thank you, M-. Your thoughts means a lot to me.

      La seule fois où j’étais loin de Calvin, c’était quand je vivais en France.

      e.

      Written Straw

      November 19, 2010 at 12:57 pm

  2. I just now read this, so my comments are a tad belated, but I mourn sympathetically. I only knew Calvin in passing, but he seemed good “people”. most humans don’t recognize pets as a kind of “people”, underestimating the genuine & meaningful relationships we can have with them. I’m glad you and Calvin had the time together you did. it was a good, long run, I think.

    Sean

    November 22, 2010 at 9:03 pm

    • Thanks. . .no one has seen me as naked as Calvin, literally and figuratively. Pets are like little silent witnesses, diaries, of your life. They see all that you do, all that you feel, and they still stick around. I always imagine what they’d say if they could speak. Hopefully, one day, Calvin and I shall converse about this very subject.

      Written Straw

      November 22, 2010 at 9:25 pm


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