Broken

January 9, 2009

broken-heart1 I am breaking. Cracking into a million small pieces. A glass heart dropped onto pavement shattering into slivers of sadness. My cat is sick. His diagnosis has gone from chronic to terminal and right now he is in the veterinary hospital with an IV of fluids and drugs going up through his little paw. He has a soft “Elizabethan” collar around his small, sweet neck so he can’t pull the needle out. The collar looks and acts more like a bib as I lean into his cage and encourage him to lick tiny bits of food off my index finger. Anything to get him to eat. Anything to get him to live.

His kidney function is down, the numbers up, he has a fever and they call it lymphoma or at least that’s what the vets say. Can he live without an IV and if so, for how long? Will the fluids we are able to give him at home keep him comfortable or will we be back at the vet one day or one week from now, his warm furry body enfolded in our arms, tears pouring from our eyes as we move towards the inevitable.

The vet told me today it is about keeping him comfortable until he knows he is sick. When he knows he is sick, it is time to say goodbye.

Goodbye to my dearest, most loveliest most wonderfulest of cats. My only cat since I’m not technically a cat person. The cat I held in my hands at three weeks of age and nursed with an eye dropper. The cat who has hopped around the house for the last 15 years, full of cat spit and vinegar, standing his ground against anything or anyone that got in his way. Such a character. He is fearless.

He has a little cat house/scratching post, a two-story cylinder wrapped in gray carpet punctuated by two round portholes that act as windows for when he sits inside, one paw hanging out over the edge. Laurence says he looks like a tugboat captain in his tug.

He never liked being petted until now and suddenly he invites my fingers scratching his puffy jowls, his little cat forehead and under his chin. He purrs for me alone and for Laurence. We go to visit him each time wondering if this will be the last time.

Last night I sobbed in Laurence’s arms and suddenly he drew me back and said “Look in my eyes,” and there he stood, the saddest of drops forming and spreading silently down his broad, handsome cheeks and I realized that he needs me as much as I need him. He cries for Boppho, the little guy who he adopted when we moved in together. He’s not a cat person either. But now we are both Boppho people.

I know he will be gone soon. So excruciatingly difficult to envision the moment not too far away when I will hold him in my arms and Laurence will hold me in his arms and the vet will lean down with a syringe in hand and instantly he will stop breathing and I will stop breathing with him.

I don’t know if I can do this. My pets are my babies, my babies are my family and without them, without him, I don’t know if I want to keep breathing.

Time heals everything or so they say and I know someday I’ll think of this without the tears and without the pieces of my newly cracked heart tearing me apart each time I think “this will be the last time I hear him purr, this will be the last time I kiss his soft, warm fuzzy tummy and this will be the last time I look into his enormous emerald eyes flecked with gold leaf, the size of large teacup saucers.”

I also know that once he is gone I will never be the same again, I don’t want to be the same again, I refuse to be the same again because without Boppho a piece of me will always be broken.

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