Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Everyone Deals With Grief Differently

This morning, I walked into the garage to get dog food and my 19-year old cat was lying in a strange position very stiffly.

She passed in her sleep last night.

In some ways, this is a relief, because she'd seemed off the last couple of days and last night, Sweetie Pie told me that I needed to call the vet today, that it might be time to have her put to sleep since she didn't seem to be doing well and he'd had trouble rousing her when he got home last night.

When he said this, I didn't even respond to him, because it's something that I just haven't been wanting to do for a long time. I've put pets to sleep, too many and the idea of doing it again, this time to a cat I've had since I've been 14-years old, a cat who knew me when I was awkward, acne-covered and a virgin, it just seemed like too much to bear.

I came into the house after petting my cat's dead body, her body stiff with death, the life that had been in her clearly gone, found Sweetie Pie who was under the shower and cried. I cried for the cat I had lost and cried with the relief that I wouldn't have to make that horrible decision once again, wouldn't have to sit holding another animal as the life left its body.

Sweetie Pie made sure to remove the body from the garage to take it to be cremated. So that I wouldn't have to see her again and Little Man wouldn't have to see her, not that he'd even know what was going on.

I grappled with telling him and then thought that I needed to.

This morning, as we had breakfast, I told him I needed to talk to him.

I explained to him that people and pets get to be very old and eventually their bodies get to be too old and when that happens they die and go to heaven. He looked at me confused and said "why?"

Clearly? I was unprepared for this discussion and should have probably waited until I'd googled "talking to three-year old about death" before having this conversation.

I began to cry softly and told him that it's just what happens when people are too old. But that in heaven no one hurts and that she was now chasing birds and meowing and happy and she could walk as fast as she wanted again (since her arthritis got bad the last couple of years).

Little Man pointed at me stunned and with a grin on his face, he yelled "YOU'RE CRYING!!!!!"

I guess, thinking about it, he's never seen me cry before, as I'm not the type who goes around bawling every two seconds.

I told him that I was sad, and that I missed Old Cat. I then asked him if he was going to miss Old Cat.

"No, she didn't play with me. I miss eating waffles for breakfast though."

Uhm. Right.




Wonderful World of Weiners said...

God bless Little Man and his outlook on life. (and in his defense...waffles do kick ass)

Seriously, I am happy for you that Old Cat passed away before you had to make the decision. Although you would have made that decision because it was best for him, it is always difficult.

Sounds like the old boy lived a long and well loved life!

Hallie :)

beebop said...

clearly you know that little mans take on the waffles vs the cat situation was your own smart ass attitude shining on in your oldest son, for that you should be so proud!
as for your kitty, I am so sorry. the loss of a pet @ any age (except 3 apparantly) is hard.

Susan said...

So I'm guessing you're going to name a new cat, "Waffles for Breakfast."

Sorry for your loss...the loss of a pet stings every bit as much as that of people.

Haphazardkat said...

I'm sorry, Catwoman for the loss of your cat :( Thats extremely hard no matter how many years the warm balls of fluff are with us--but to have one in your life that has been through major foundational moments is ....beyond hard to lose.

As for little mans reaction? Many children when nervous, laugh. It's a deep emotion their immature brains haven't learned to process correctly yet.

I love the waffle comment though :) He's a wonderful little boy.

Ms. Porter said...

I'm so sorry. I know how hard it is to lose a pet, it's so hard. They are absolutely family members.

Loukia said...

I am so sorry for your loss... :(
Leave it to your wonderful son to put a smile on your face at a time like this, right?

a Chris said...

:( Sorry to hear you're having that sad day. I'm glad you didn't have to have her euthanized though. It's just better if they can go peacefully on their own when the time comes.

Meh. A tear in my eye. This blog does that to me more than I want it to! In a good way, if that is possible.

I hope Little Man is as blissfully impervious at the moment as he sounded. I don't know where he comes up with those lines though! Either he's a born comedian or he's being very diligent in probing his feelings for the most complete answer to your question. Of course, some of the best comedians are very intellectual people...

ccr in MA said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. The furry ones get hold of your heart, don't they?

A's Mom said...

I've worked in the vet field for more than 5 years and no matter how many times you've seen or done it, it's just not the same when it's your own. I had a cat like that as well (I think she was even 19 years old) that I've had since I was young. Unfortunately, she was a fighter until the very end when we finally had to say enough for her.

Sorry for your loss.

Kila said...

So sorry for your loss.

We put our dog to sleep in January, after having him nearly 14 years. I thought the kids would cry hysterically, but they've been fine! They mention him now and then, and that's it. I was the one crying for days.


Karen - Mommy to four sweeties said...

We had to put our 16 year old cat to sleep two years ago. I still miss her so much I get teary thinking about her.
I am sorry for your loss.
Glad little man can cheer you up!

Burgh Baby said...

I'm very sorry about your kitty. It so sucks to lose a pet. So, so much.

Could Little Man perhaps teach Alexis a little bit about moving on? Cause, you know, she still likes to throw out a good "I miss Jasmine" from time to time. She just lurves to see my cry.

Aunt Debbi/kurts mom said...

So sad. Waffles as comfort food sounds good to me.

the planet of janet said...

3-year-olds really know how to get to the heart of things.

it begins and ends with waffles.

i'm sorry about your kitty.

Anonymous said...

You know I had to my my 4 legged fur child of a dog to sleep 6 months ago and MAN, is it STILL something that makes me sad. So, I'm glad you didn't have to make that decision again.

I'm sorry she's gone. It's hard, even when we know something's not right with them.

As for Little Man....well, clearly, the cat never did jack for him and the waffles did.


Poltzie said...

Aww, I'm sorry for the cat and for you. And for little man actually because I too miss eating waffles for breakfast!

Anglophile Football Fanatic said...

I love you & I'm sorry.

Anonymous said...

I'm so very sorry for your loss. Non-pet people just don't get it.

My mother actually just lost her dog of 11 years last week (he was a big huskey - life span is only 10-12 years). She, too, knew it was coming and had the heaven conversation with Emma. Who replied, "I liked Nacoma, but I'm not gonna miss him."

Thanks, kid.

(But do you do the homemade waffles or the blueberry Eggos? Just cuz I'm curious.)

tracylynne said...

Sorry for your loss but I beleive that when we lose a pet its God's way of telling us that there is something else in this world that needs some love. I just lost my cat a month ago and still haven't got over it. That said I hope you haven't seen Marley and Me-I recommend that you don't I cried for 2 days.

Anonymous said...

Coming out of lurking mode to say i'm so sorry for your loss. We had to put 2 of our cats to sleep last year within 7 weeks of each other they were 16 and 15 and man that decision was so hard. We still have an old timer who is 16 now and i sure hope she goes in her sleep. ((((((hugs)))))))