|Lily says, "I'm gonna get you, Rustie!"|
The week or so leading up to my birthday wasn't what I expected it to be. I picked up my kitty, Rustie, and noticed that all of a sudden, she had lost what seemed like half her body weight. I was somewhat concerned, but not terribly, as it was getting hot, and my kitties lose a bit of weight when it starts getting hot outside.
|Lily experimenting with magnets|
Apparently they do not stick to kitties
Then I started asking people questions about it, and they suggested just giving her some tuna to make sure she ate something. It didn't sit well with her. She couldn't contain her bowels anymore and we had to banish her to one of our bathrooms. She deteriorated quickly. I tried keeping her as comfortable as I could, and I created a little cave for her under the bathroom sink with food and water and soft blankets. I checked for jaundice and her poor little ears, eyes and lips were yellow. When I checked, they were so yellow it made me wonder, "Were they ever pink?" She started to lose her ability to walk. She started shaking constantly, and I still hoped, "Maybe she'll get better. Maybe if I could just help her eat or drink. She'll get better right? She's only nine years old!" The night before my birthday, I cried and cried and finally made the decision to try to have her put to sleep the next day. I've never had to do this before. This was MY kitty and the first kitty that ever loved me. And I was planning her death the next day. It hurt.
Early the next morning, my birthday, I began making phone calls. It hurts my heart to go into details about how some of the local veterinary clinics are just plain crooks, but we finally found a great one who would do it that day and wouldn't charge an arm and a leg to do it AND would allow us to be with her. I called at 8 am and the appointment was at 4:15 pm. Honestly, I hoped she would just pass away in her sleep as peacefully as possible, but it just didn't happen.
|Lily and Rustie would frequently take turns having my lap.|
I spent that entire morning running errands and trying to make preparations for the upcoming weekend. It was a busy one. I had Rustie's death and burial, my birthday dinner, Lily's birthday party the next day with family coming in, Kimberly's blessing, and to top it all off, I had a mama for whom I was on-call whose due date was also on my birthday. I spent time looking for something perfect to bury Rustie in and getting some groceries to prepare for our family that was coming in. I also needed to clean my apartment. I always need to clean my apartment.
Several of our friends from church helped us so much that day. A family let us borrow their shovel because we don't have one. Another friend offered to come stay with our kids so they wouldn't have to come with us. We had to explain death to Lily for the first time. Robbie did most of the talking, and he explained it beautifully. I might just have to write a blog post on just that some day.
I'll spare the details of the appointment, but the vet said that he was surprised that she made it as long as she did. She was a fighter. Yes! She was a feisty little thing. I can't really describe how awesome he was, but we will now give all of our business to him. He wasn't even our vet before. That's going to change. He was amazing and made it feel like we were the only people in the world. He made us feel validated in our grief. He also explained his thoughts about animals and Heaven. It was beautiful. I know he's had to explain that thousands of times, but he made it seem like he truly cared.
People said they were so sorry that it happened on my birthday. All I could say was, that if my kitty needed to transition from this life to the next, I'm glad I could celebrate my birthday helping her in that way. I love that kitty. That kitty loved me, and she was so loving and patient with my babies. She didn't really get to know Kimberly very much, but she loved Lily too. I've never met a sweeter kitty. She didn't have a mean bone in her body.
|Staying close at the end|
I miss her a lot. She was always close to me. If I sat on the couch, she was at my feet or in my lap or right next to me. If I practiced flute, she sat next to the music stand. If I practiced piano, she was underneath it. If I cooked she sat right at the entrance to our kitchen. I marveled at that every other day. I just couldn't get over that she was MY kitty and was always RIGHT there. I regret that I didn't always treat her as well as she deserved. Sometimes I would let the stress of the world get to me and would get so aggravated with my kitties!
After the appointment was over, we buried her and told our favorite memories of Rustie. It was a sweet little ceremony. Then I wanted to try to distract myself by continuing with our plans. My parents had sent me some birthday money to go eat, and I was able to enjoy a little bit of one of my favorite restaurants. While we were there a poor man had to be whisked away in an ambulance. You don't see that every day!