January 11, 2014

There Are Lessons Everywhere: Cutie Pie

Beautiful Cutie Pie
Last night, Cutie Pie, our FIV cat with the kidney and liver problems took a turn for the worse. He no longer moved a lot and when we tried to pick him up he would growl because it was painful. His belly was bloated because we gave him fluids and his body wasn't absorbing them. It wasn't looking good for him.

I held him until 3 in the morning and we didn't expect him to live through the night. He did and in the morning we made the hard decision to put him to sleep. We first asked the doctor if there was anything at all we could do. But our cat was in pain and some of the light was gone from his eyes. He looked uncomfortable and defeated.

If you have ever had to put an animal to sleep it is horrible. But it is necessary because I have also let pets die naturally because I couldn't give up and hoped for a miracle. It was the wrong decision.

Seeing a pet in severe pain, dying, is wretched. The sounds which they make can stay with you. So I had to put him to sleep before that happened. With his organs shutting down it would have been pretty bad. I had to do the right thing even if I didn't want to go through it. To me though, being with a pet (or human) when they pass away is important. You want them to see someone they love when the last light goes out of their eyes. For them to know you love them enough to be there in their most difficult and final time.

So I am very sad. I feel like today I'm in the twilight zone. With every pet I have lost (and there have been a lot the past ten years) and when our baby lived for a day, after it was all over, I felt like the day went on as usual, people busy and living life, but the day for me was going in slow motion. I felt like, everything that goes on in the world doesn't truly matter. The only thing which does are the relationships we have (pet and people alike) and how we love and care for others.

Anyway, there is a small lesson in this experience I would like to share with you. As mentioned, I feel very sad about losing him and I wish there had been something more we could have done. But as I was feeling bad, I realized I had asked God to please let him live past our Christmas vacation when we were gone for a week and he was boarded at the animal hospital. And he did live. The doctor was surprised at how strong he was. I begged God to let him come home and spend a little more time here instead of die in a hospital. He did. I got to hold him for a whole week, I got to hold him his last few hours, and I got to be there when he took his last breath. All of these were blessings which didn't seem likely. But he held on.

I could look at the overall end, my cat is gone and he died. But I also choose to look at how lucky I was to have a little more time with him and even though it was horrible to go through, he had a loving and graceful ending. There were four people petting him when he was injected and he purred to the very end. And after the light went out of his eyes, somehow the door to the examination room was opened and the song, In the Arms of An Angel, played on the radio in the front room. It has always been a special song to me (a story for another time) and it just seemed like it was a sign, he would be okay.

So even in the worst circumstances, it is possible to see a blessing somewhere. It is hard but this is how we get through life, knowing even in our most difficult times, God is looking after us - even if it's just a little.

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