Thursday, April 18, 2013
When you aren't there
Being away from home is hard right now.
It is hard not to be able to be with our 18-year-old cat, Roscoe, as he leaves this world.
It's hard not to be able to be there with Lee, when he takes our big, black-and-white kitty with the longest tail ever to the vet's office today. He needs hugs from me, and I need hugs from him, but neither of us can get them until I go home.
Roscoe's health has been declining for the past year. But as is so often the case with pets, the vet couldn't give a solid diagnosis. So he'd been on medication that helped for a little while. For a little while, he gained back some of the weight he'd been losing. But then he started losing it again.
Cancer, we worried. But there aren't really any good options for treating an 18-year-old cat (or cat of any age, really) even if you know that he has cancer. All we could do is keep a close eye on him, see that he is eating and using the litter box, and let him enjoy his life. Let him keep doing the things he likes to do:
Be let out in the morning so he can pee against the privacy fence to mark his territory against that marauding orange tomcat.
Sit on the arm of the sofa, burrow his nose into my hair and purr loudly into my ear.
Knead my hair with his paws at every opportunity.
Glue himself to Lee's leg while he's sleeping.
Plant himself on top of all the catnip I've scattered on the floor just so that he doesn't have to share it with Stazi Lu.
Roscoe has wrapped me in pure, unadulterated love. I've been his person all these years since we brought him home from the humane society, his primary person.
He chose me first. He chased off the other shelter cats and refused to let me leave him behind. After his rough start, he has had a long and happy life, but it is hard not to be there with him when he is leaving us.
If I could go back home right now, I would. What was I thinking, leaving my little family behind?
So I sit crying for loved ones far away, alone in a place that isn't mine, reminded that loss can come any day, any moment, whether we stay or we go.
Oh, precious little life, goodbye.