I spent all of yesterday crying, worrying, regretting, wishing, thinking “I didn’t do enough” for my little fur pal, Xev.
I was remembering times when she came to visit with me but I was too busy working on things which felt oh so important at the time but actually weren’t at all because here I am and I could be doing them and all I feel is the palpable sadness and sense of loss due to the physical absence of my best friend.
That last day…
She was so frail. It took her a full half a minute to stand and yet when I awoke and called “Good morning Xev. Did you sleep well? Did you have nice dreams? I hope so” to where she was (which was sleeping on a chair about 10 feet away), I heard her jump down to the floor and make her way over to me. She climbed with great difficulty onto the sofa next to where I was laying on the floor.
I had been sleeping downstairs for months. I have another cat Bonnie but she (Xev) and her son Lexx would bully her so I would spend the days equally sharing time between them and then at night, I would sleep one night on the floor downstairs to be near Lexx and Xev and one night upstairs in bed to be with Bonnie. Usually though it was 4 nights with Xev and Lexx and 3 nights with Bonnie because Mum sleeps upstairs and there’s always company for her (Bonnie) at night.
So, going back to her last day (which I didn’t know was her last day) she jumped down from where she had been sleeping and walked over to where I was. She climbed up and over me with difficulty to get to the sofa and laid there right up close to me, where I stroked her and told her she was loved as I did every day. Lexx was on the sofa sprawled out beside her. I had said Good Morning to him too and told him he was loved. I never showed favouritism. Each cat got exactly the same amount of attention/affection. I just felt more of a closeness with Xev.
He soon got up and made his way outside. She stayed with me. Then it happened. She suddenly looked into my eyes and it was as if she was searching them. She had never looked at me like that before. It went on for about a minute and a half. I remembered the quote by Rumi – “What You Seek Is Seeking You.” In those precious moments, I became aware I was no longer looking into the eyes of a cat or even my best pal but rather the very depths of the Universe. I went into what I can only term a bliss state. I at first smiled and this made way for a grin. I beamed from ear to ear. We merged. There was no Xev and Jonathan. We were One.
It was at this point, she got up and it took a long time to do so as it was such an exertion for her. She moved across to where I was and climbed right up onto me so she was perched on my left arm (I was on my right side, looking towards the sofa where she had been), her little paws dangling over the edge of my shoulder and her little face looking down at me. I put my hand over her paws and she licked them. I stroked her from that very awkward position because she was laying on my left arm. I winked at her and she winked back. I had trained her to do that. She then began purring and did that long blinking cats do when they know they are safe and loved. I returned the compliment. Her purr was beautiful and contained within it so many frequencies.
We laid like that for perhaps 7 or 8 minutes and then I needed to get up. She slowly moved off and I went to have a pee, wash my hands and then went into the kitchen where I had a cup of tea. She came and stood just a few feet from me. She looked so small that morning. For some reason, I didn’t stroke her and that has bothered me however had she moved towards me, I absolutely would have done. She didn’t look up at me. Just stood there. She then went to get some water and I made my way through to the coffee table where I usually sat and used the computer.
She climbed up the armrest of the adjacent sofa just inches from where I was sitting and this exertion totally exhausted her. She half stood, half laid there shaking and panting. I moved across to her and kissed her left shoulder and she immediately began purring and leaned in to me. I told her she was loved, over and over again. That she meant the world to me. It was at this point I looked at Mum and we knew it was time.
I continued to hold her and told her she was loved, stroking her as she purred and continued to lean into me. I held her like this for 5 or 6 minutes before the carrier was placed in front of her. She fought against going in there, clinging to me. She wasn’t having any of it. Then I tried by lightly touching her paws and she let go immediately and got into the carrier with no issues at all. I didn’t know that would be the last time I would see her again or else I would have made a bigger fuss of her when she was inside the carrier. I regret not having done so.
I had no idea she was so close to death. They ran various tests at the vet’s and then she was sedated so she could be scanned. It was then they discovered she was ‘riddled with cancer.’ She was put to sleep very shortly afterwards and her passing was instant. She didn’t suffer at all.
I couldn’t be there when she died.
She died in the arms of a veterinarian, a stranger, because of all this Covid business.
She died just hours after I last saw her.
I regret not being around as much as I feel I could have been in the run up to her passing. I could have spent more time with her however when I think about it, I was there a lot of the time even if I wasn’t as actively present as I would have liked to have been and I slept down with her on the floor 4 nights out of every 7 each week. She lived in a warm, comfortable home with a beautiful garden and she was free to do as she liked. She had her toys which she loved playing with. She was told she was loved dozens of times each day.
So yes, I could have done things differently along the way but then I guess we could all say that however when it really mattered, I was there for her and when she signalled her quality of life was minimal, I absolutely did the right thing by her and I have zero regrets where that is concerned. So, with recriminations and regrets aside, what it all boils down to is that, at the end of the day, she knew in no uncertain terms, I cared about her and that she was loved.