Wednesday, July 6, 2016
Our Last Day Together, 365 Days Ago
A year ago today started out just like any other day. Little did I know it was destined to be a day that will remain with me until I draw my last breath.
The night before had been a late one. Rain at Daytona had pushed the NASCAR race into the wee hours of the morning, ending around 3AM. I sat on the floor to watch the closing laps and you seemed to be urging me to hurry up and get to bed. I wonder now if you knew it would be our last night together. Even though it was extremely hot you curled up between my legs which had been your favorite spot on the bed since the day I brought you home less than two short years before.
I woke up a little drowsier than usual but it was Monday morning and a long week stretched ahead. In the back of mind I was thinking a vet visit was probably in the near future because your breathing had been bothering me all weekend. Even your grandma had asked why your tummy was noticeably moving from across the room. I googled abdominal breathing and read some pretty scary things, but you were four years old...why would I think it was anything more serious than being overheated? I must just be more paranoid than usual...after all, tomorrow would be the two year anniversary of saying good-bye to Tara.
After work I came home to find that you hadn't eaten much, and then you went in to lay on the cool bedroom floor. Throughout the afternoon I kept checking on you, watching you breathe. After dinner we finished up our blog post tribute to Tara and while I watched a little Investigation Discovery and Food Network, you took a nice long nap in your favorite window. But even while watching TV I had this strange, sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach that I still can't explain.
Then at 9:45 all hell broke loose. I won't go into the details again of what you went through; you've already so eloquently done that in your farewell post that has touched so many peoples' hearts.
I remember watching the people in the emergency room that night. It was so busy, and I just sat there watching everyone coming and going with their pets. I was so jealous of those paying their bill and heading out the door with their best friend, knowing you most likely wouldn't be returning home.
I've never told anyone that while at the ER I didn't cry, even when I received your diagnosis. It was the weirdest thing, but I couldn't cry. The whole situation was just so unbelievable to me that I didn't know how to react. It wasn't until I got in the car and headed home without you that the floodgates opened up. But still, the whole route home I was completely numb. To this day when I'm on those same roads I remember the horror of that night.
My greatest regret is that I left you. Why did I head home, saying I'd see you in the morning? If I'd stayed there just another 30 minutes I would have been there for you at the end. I could have held you, comforted you as you took your last breath.
Going home for the second time without you was even worse than the first, because that time I knew I would never see you again. And walking in the door, seeing your food dishes, your toys, your cat beds, just as you left them, is a heartache I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. With other cats I picked up their things after a couple days because it hurt too much to look at them, but I didn't pick yours up until just before Mudpie arrived. Maybe if your toys and beds remained you'd come back to claim them. Maybe the whole thing was just a bad dream.
They say anger is one of the 5 stages of grief and I can't get past that. You didn't deserve the tragically short life you had. You were a baby...we were robbed of so much time together. To this day when I tell people that I lost two cats on the exact same day two years apart, almost to the hour, they can't believe it. How could they when I still can't believe it?
The one bright spot of the year has been Mudpie. I know you and Tara conspired and sent her to me, and you couldn't have done any better. She's absolutely perfect in every single way. I only wish she could have come to me under different circumstances.
You don't know how I dread the thought of tonight and tomorrow coming. I wish I could completely erase July 7th from the calendar. I fear that date is tainted by a poison there's no escape from.
It's been a hard year, but a year in which I learned the true value of friendship. So many people loved you and will never forget you. And it goes without saying, but I miss you desperately.
I always will.
Love you forever,
Labels: Remembering Truffles