Monday, July 7, 2008
Birth and death
Today I had to put down our cat Tasha. That in itself was drama enough - I realized last night that she wasn't doing well after a month of losing weight, she was starting to have trouble standing up, etc. So this morning I took her in hoping they would tell me that there was a magic cure, but they said what I pretty much already knew. We had already eliminated all the fixable stuff. All that was left were the big nasties like cancer. So I gave her some love, cried some, and let her go.
Then came the tough part. I had to tell Liam. This was the first animal he'd ever lost, and really his first brush with death up close. We sat on the steps of his preschool and talked about it when I picked him up. We decided to go get some flowers to put at her grave and then get a nice rock from the beach to put out there, too. He asked a lot of questions. Was she flat like a bug when you make a bug dead? Will my other cat die, too? Why couldn't the doctors inside her fix her?
All through town, he held on to the bouquet of plastic flowers we picked out and told everyone about his cat dieing. When we got home, he sprinted to the spot I told him she was buried and "planted" the flowers. Then he set to work on the rock, and wow, did he do a great job. He painted a cat (I'll post that picture later) with claws and lots of fur, and then a rainbow. He must have been at it for more than a half-hour. I was very impressed.
Through the day, it came up here and there. He was bummed that we couldn't put the rock out right away but had to wait for the varnish to dry. After dinner, we found some pictures of her and he put one up in his room.
All in all, I feel like we did OK. But we'll see how far through the night we get. He's been waking up every night now for most of the past week, and not really clear why. But on the phone night before last, he was concerned that Matt's clothes were going to get burned, so I think it is especially hard this year for him as he becomes more conscious of his dad's job and the risks it entails.
Anyway, it was a dramatic day, and one for the record books. But now, I'm running on no more than five hours of sleep, and if I don't go to bed now, I may get taken away in a padded suit tomorrow.
So here's to Tasha - she was a dramatic, loving, silly, sweet, obnoxious, troublesome spit-fire of a cat. She will be missed.