May 31, 2008

One Less

My heart is heavy and my spirits low. It all happened so quickly. Just a few days ago, he was sunning in the cat room and rubbing my leg with his long, fluffy tail. We thought he was losing weight because of age, but when he stopped eating and started hiding, I knew something was terribly wrong. Not Sammy. No, please, not Sammy. He was such a sweet boy, such a gentle soul with big, golden eyes and long, wispy fine hair - the kind that you find yourself constantly picking out of your eyes and nose. He slept on my pillow just about every night and occasionally he would reach out a paw and touch me on the arm, just to make sure I was nearby...a gentle reassurance that someone who loved him was close and that he wouldn't be discarded by irresponsible humans, as he was almost 10 years ago.

Lymphoma. Another form of the big "C". The dreaded curse of death. The vet assured me there was nothing we could have done any sooner to prevent it and there was nothing we could do now to cure it. Within 24 hours, his condition deteriorated so rapidly that I thought he was dead when we went to see him at the clinic. His breathing was labored, his eyes were hollow and he cried out to us in such distress. My heart broke, yet again, as it has so many times before when faced with the decision.

The selfish part of me always wants to hang on... just one more hour, one more day, one more chance to spoil him and tempt him with his favorite foods. But, the more logical part of me knows it is not about me. It is about the quality of a life, or the lack thereof. I wept as I stroked his feather-soft head and ears and told him how sorry I was. And as he made the transition from this world to the next, I made room in my heart and mind for memories of yet another one lost.

It never gets any easier. And, quite frankly, it never should.

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