I was kissed by an angel, before she got her wings.
It's going to take a while to process it, but I am in those dreaded days...when time stands still. The aftermath of losing a beloved one, in this case my beautiful kitty, Baby.
I am so grateful for my time with her, mostly especially the past six weeks, which I spent only with her. Much unconditional love and fun was had by both of us.
I got to see her out in the garden, scratch at a tree, wonder at butterflies and bees, chase bugs, run after a crow, and rest beautifully in the shade, as many of her admirers came by to give her a pet or tell her how pretty she was. She learned to turn her head away when she heard the camera click on.
Before the news of her illness, she was never allowed outside, much as she sat by that window dreaming of it, everyday. Now, it was our routine. Once, and sometimes twice a day, I would carry her downstairs to the garden, gently put her down and watch her pad around like a little albino lioness, in all her puffy splendor. She was very proud, so she did not like me to pick her up to move her, or tell her when it was enough, that she needed to go inside to rest. Plus, once inside the house, there were the prison walls of the fortress that stopped her from smelling and seeing and dreaming of her freedom and incredible adventures. And maybe spotting a bug.
I took her to the abandoned neighboring house. She went everywhere, curious, curious, curious. Endless bliss, those outings were for her. When it was time to go home, I'd pick her up and carry her back to our house, behind the gates, where she was safe, and I was never more than 3 feet away.
I knew eventually I would have to say goodbye to her. I swore that it would not be when she was really sick and unable to enjoy anything. I did not want her to suffer. I kept hoping the chemo would hold. She got a blood transfusion, and she became like a kitten again. Happy, so happy. Running, jumping, kissing my face and purring as she nuzzled her little face in my neck. Waking up to find her right next to me, waiting for me to open my eyes and smile at her. It was a magical gift of time.
In the last days, I saw her begin to falter, even as she struggled not to show it. She walked so slowly, but so happily through the garden. She looked in her usual spots, and went to nap under the banana trees, where she watched everything, but could be in the shade. Friday was the last trip to the garden. She cruised and lounged and licked her paws and washed her beautiful angelic face, and hated it when I picked her up to go inside. It was time for her checkup.
They did a blood test and the red cell count came back. It was down to 13. At her most critical, before the transfusion, it had dropped to 10. With it, she got up to 23, but, within 10 days, it can fallen back down to critical. I couldn't fix it for her. Powerless. No amount of money or specialists or interventions were going to change the horrible reality. At that point it became clear that this was as good as she was going to get. Any further and she was going to feel very, very bad, very soon. I broke down when I needed to be strong for her, and did not want her to feel my sadness. I was a mess. Then I pulled it together. It's the point of that hard decision, where they trust you to look after them, and you betray them in an effort to protect them from further harm.
As I held her close, I knew I had to let her go.
Everyone cried at the vet. They truly loved her. She usually had a lot of fun there, making friends with dogs and cats, accepting kisses from all her friends. She was never afraid to go. She liked to walk the counter at reception. Baby owned the place.
I'm not going to write about what I said to her, because that is between us, but I can say that the love and affection this little creature showed me, taught me, and gave to me, was not what I expected when fate brought us together a little over a year ago. I had no idea the lessons that I needed so badly to learn about myself would come from observing this lovely, gentle little soul.
I miss her terribly, but I view it from a place of gratitude and humility. That is what I know.
I hope she's off in the heavens, chasing butterflies, watching bugs and feeling free, knowing that she was very, very loved and adored by the one who was fortunate enough to become her caretaker.
Rest in peace, my beloved girl. The angels are the lucky ones.