That moment when you look at the caller ID and it's the vet calling......your heart stops, you take a deep breath, and you answer as optimistically as possible. You listen to the first few seconds of the conversation: the tone of the doctor's voice, the choice of words, the big sigh she lets out. You try to gauge where this discussion will go......
She rambles on about Hunter's blood work results, what they mean, where they are in relationship to the "normal" ranges. You listen, holding in the tears, as she gives you options. But in the end, the bottom line is, he is over 17 years old. You decide on how you're going to proceed, what you can do to slow down the kidney failure and increase his weight (a special diet and an appetite stimulant) and decide another urinalysis would be beneficial.....but not in the next week. He needs some time to breathe, and so do I.
An hour ago this was my reality. And, now, as I sit here and write this, tears streaming down my face, the impending doom seems overwhelming. I've been down this road before, more times than I care to recount. The death of a beloved pet is so unique, isn't it?
I've been thinking about the inevitable loss of Hunter for a few days now, since first I noticed something was off. I've watched the tender interaction between him and my not yet five-year-old kitty, Eloise. Oh, how she is going to miss him. After all, she doesn't know life without him. But then again, Hunter didn't know life without his older brother, Elliot, when he passed several years ago. They adapt....I suppose.
I know I won't make the same mistake this time. With Elliot I scooped him up and brought him to the vet without even thinking he wouldn't be coming back home with me. Well, that's not entirely true. I knew he wasn't going to be returning home with me, but I didn't want to face it. Because of this denial, I didn't give anyone the chance to say goodbye to him. Not my husband, who was out of town, not my sons, who were just 5 and 3 at the time, and not Hunter who was 11 then.
When the time comes for "difficult decisions," I will not make that mistake again. I will make sure everyone gets to say their goodbyes.
But, until then, I will continue to use positive energy on Hunter. I will follow the vet's suggestions, and I will love him every remaining second of his life.
|Hunter on the right with Eloise|