I’ve sat down to write this post too many times in the past few weeks. I’ve thought of phrases that I wanted to include, or pictures to post. I’ve had second thoughts. I’ve started. Then stopped again.
It’s an obituary.
My cat Birch is 16 1/2 years old and he’s going to die. Not like sometime in the future that seems unreal and distant, but imminently. For three weeks he’s been slowing down, eating less, then nothing. Drinking less, then nothing. He’s in kidney failure I’m sure, but he’s peaceful, and at home.
I know he isn’t experiencing his own decline in the same way his family is. He isn’t thinking about when he was a kitten, or the nine houses and two states he’s lived in with us, or his two trips across the Rocky Mountains in a moving van. He’s not thinking about the time he hid in the basement for a week, or his best friend Steve, or how he’s one of only two pets my kids have ever known.
I know he is comfortable, but slowly fading. When I check on him first thing every morning I feel bad when I see that he is still hanging on – another day of watching us through gaunt eyes, purring raspily. Another day when the decision to put him down is still mine to make, but I don’t make it. I’d like him to slip away quietly, at home, in his sleep.
It’s a horrible thing to wish death on your pet.
The kids went to visit their grandparents this week and I asked them to say goodbye to Birchie just in case. My son asked that if Birch died while they were away, I would wait and tell him in person.
I’m not looking forward to that conversation, but I am looking forward to peace for our gentle giant.