Painful it was, but we got through it. And I didn't even blubber when I handed Dusty off to the vet. He asked me as he held Dusty if I wanted to sit down with him to discuss what would be going on. I said, "Oh my, no. We just need to leave as fast as possible." And leave we did, to come home to sit silently and stare out the window, checking to see if Squeakie was all right. She may miss Dusty even more than we do. She was a tiny kitten when she came home with the 3-year-old Dusty, and they were father/daughter, brother/sister for just over thirteen years.
I feel much as I did thirteen years ago, when we had to do the same thing for our Stephanie. I went into my journals to see what I'd said back then. I think it's appropriate enough to say it again. This, from August, 1998.
"We decided that we weren’t doing Stephanie any favors by keeping her here with us. Tomorrow we make the arrangements. I’m considering going in with her to wait for her death, to comfort her as she’s going. But I’m not sure I’m strong enough for that. I weep at Hallmark commercials. What will I do as I hold Stephie’s hand? She’s been such a good friend to us these past six years. I so much regret not being closer to her in her first twelve years, while she was sort of Mike’s cat, while she sort of slunk down from the upstairs, carefully avoiding Tweakie, going outside, then sneaking back in and upstairs again. Right now I don’t know if I want another cat. I think maybe we’ll have to wait on that one.
We sat around all afternoon waiting for the 4:00 appointment. And then, finally, it was time to go. Rosalie drove and I held Strephanie and she didn’t even get big-eyed, just like she knew what was going on. I carried her into the clinic and one of the girls there asked me what was wrong, meaning what was wrong with my cat, and I literally burst into tears. Like a baby. And I said I didn’t think I would be staying there with her until she died, I just wasn’t strong enough. She patted me on the back and told me it was all right, that they’d be very gentle with her. And I blubbered a thank you, signed the euthanasia certificate, wrote the check, and got out of there. Oh, Stephanie girl, we’re going to miss you so. We got home, both tearing (both meanings of tear appropriate in this context) all over the place, and without a word we both started picking up all her things, all the papers, all the accumulated drinking glasses, the food dishes, the litter box. I immediately thought of one of the Dickinson poems about death: “The bustle in a house / The morning after death / Is solemnest of industries / Enacted upon earth. / The sweeping up the heart / And putting love away / We shall not want to use again / Until Eternity.” Were we ever bustling around, and sweeping up our hearts. Now I have a headache and feel like I could go to bed and sleep for a week. Rosalie said this afternoon that Stephanie came out of the bedroom and threw up again . . . on the papers. That’s the fourth time she’s spit up on the papers we had in the hall, just like she knew why they were there. Well, she did. No dummy, Stephanie. So we’ll cocktail, just as we always do, and we’ll supp on a salad. Then we’ll tv a bit until we fall asleep in our chairs, then stumble off to bed to dream of Stephanie. And maybe weep another silent tear into our pillows."
I went to PetSmart this afternoon . . . just to look. And there was a 6-month-old gray tabby named Ashleigh, who looked at me with Dusty eyes. I nearly brought her home with me. But maybe I can talk Rosalie into going there tomorrow . . . just to look.