Friday, August 10, 2018

Paw Prints, Precious Memories, and a Broken Heart

It was with a shattered heart that I said a final good-bye to my sweet Binky this morning at 11:05 a.m. She became very ill within this past week. Tests showed she was in renal failure. Binky hated being handled by anyone, especially for medical treatment. She was prodded and poked and given subcutaneous fluids, but that was only a temporary fix. She'd pretty much stopped eating and drinking. After a frank conversation with her doctor this morning, I knew I had to let her go.

I had a sense of the inevitable and spent an hour just holding her and telling her how much she was loved and what she has meant to me these past nine+ years before we went to the vet clinic. I cried. She licked my face. I cried some more. I knew I might be facing this decision today. I could have put her through another treatment, brought her home, and watched her decompensate over the next few days or, possibly, just find her dead. She could have died alone while I was at work. Instead, she drifted into a peaceful sleep and then died with quiet dignity and surrounded by love, with her head in my hand.

I came home and broke down. She's everywhere in this apartment. I used to joke that this was her home and she just let me stay because I have thumbs and can open cans and doors. But the truth is, it wasn't the apartment but my heart that she owned. Owns.

So this part is for Binky:

I remember the day I found you at the shelter. You'd only been there a day and you looked so terrified and confused. I was looking for a younger cat, and a grey tabby. You were already six years old. But you looked into my eyes and stole my heart. That was Friday. I called back on Monday to say I wanted you, and I picked you up on Wednesday. The lady at the shelter said you'd be the perfect cat for me. She was right. I brought you home and set you free to explore the space. You disappeared. After an hour of searching, I found you in the overhead kitchen cabinets beside the wineglasses. I should have known then you'd be a handful. I admired your spunk and independence, though.

It took a long time for you to accept me, to relax with me, to trust me. But once you did--wow. We were buddies. I loved that you came to greet me when I came home. I loved the way you would demand I give you food, water, a clean litter box, and attention (when you wanted it.) You owned me, and I loved every minute of it. Who will boss me around now?

At times when I was sad or sick, you came and patted my face, so much concern in your little eyes.

I remember the games of tag we played when you were younger and more energetic. Some folks refused to believe that you'd come and get me to get up and play, then run and hide and wait for me to find you. What fun we had. The downstairs neighbors had to wonder about the thunder above.

I remember the very first time you got up onto the bed and slept through the night with me--even though you kept to 'your side.' And then I remember the night you burrowed under the blankets and curled your warm little backside into the back of my knees. I didn't move all night, afraid I'd disturb you. You slept just fine.

You must know that you were so deeply loved, and you will be equally deeply missed by me--your person. Dance with the angels until I see you again on the other side of the bridge.

When I first brought you home.

You loved to hide, especially in blankets.

And in freshly laundered comforters.

You liked your little bed, until.... discovered my bed was bigger and more comfy.

You loved sunshine wherever you could find it.

Even when it snuck up on you from behind...

Rest well, my angel.

That bed is going to be far too big now without you taking your half out of the middle.