Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Gopher Girl

Rocket Socks died Friday the 20th. She did not go gently into that good night. Her behavior began to change Thursday evening at about 8pm. I knew she was dying and I stayed with her. As she died she became increasingly debilitated and wild. Was awful to watch my gentle cat fight to live. I wanted her to die at home without the stress of going to the vet again. I couldn't do it. We took her to the vet as soon as they opened in the morning. Mark had to put on leather work gloves to pick her up and put her in her carrier. She could no longer walk but her teeth were working big time. She yowled and drooled the whole ten miles to the vet's office. I held the carrier and cried.

The vet and her assistant were wonderful. Kind, caring and very practical. They sedated Socks and then took her out of the carrier. I am not quite sure how, but we all ended up sitting on the floor around her as she slowly relaxed into the bed they brought for her. I petted her and cried. Not just a few tears but sobs and snot. Believe me when I tell you NO ONE ever hears me cry. I might shed a few tears in public but I never make a sound. When I could talk again the vet asked, "Now?" Mark said yes and the vet found the vein and injected my Socket Set. It finished quickly, from gentle breathing to no breathing. Death is peace. I always forget the silence. Dying takes tremendous energy. When it finally occurs there is relief and rest for the first few seconds/minutes afterward. We all just sat there.

Mark was the first to move. In a strangled voice he said, "I'll go get her basket." He was gone a fair bit of time. When he returned we put her in her basket. I tucked her blue rat under her chin between her paws and straightened her collar and bell. The vet wrapped her long fuzzy tail around her. She looked like she was ready for a long nap. Mark covered her with the towel in the basket. We all got up. I still had on my coat. I'd never taken it off. I put on my gloves and picked up the basket. The familiarness of the warm weight in my arms was such a comfort. I blew my nose and tried to look normal. There were kids in the lobby.

The drive home was way too short. I held her and cried. Mollie sniffed her and then sat quietly in the backseat. I wanted those ten miles to be a hundred. I wanted to hold my kitty and never let her go. But all to soon we arrived home. Mark pulled into the garage and turned off the car. More silence. I couldn't move. So we four just sat in the cooling car. I began to pray. I thanked God for love. My love. My ability to love. My opportunity to love. My Rocket Socks who was love. I was and am so blessed by the cheerful long haired tuxedo cat who wandered into my life one fall day, collapsed in ecstasy into the leaves at my feet, and then stayed for eleven bliss filled years.

After the prayer, of which I remember not the words but the feeling, I got out of the car and took Socks inside. I put her basket in its normal place in front of the heater. Whomper immediately went over and sniffed her. She then walked off and did not look back. I sat on the edge of the sofa in my coat and gloves and cried. Mark went outside to take the plastic bags of dirt out of the hole we had dug behind the rose bush. The bags of dirt were frozen so this took some time. I finished crying and picked up Socks and took her outside. I sat on a cold bench and let the sun shine on her while Mark finished enlarging the hole. Socks loved sunshine. She would lay on her back in a sunbeam and I would sing the first verse of "You Are My Sunshine," and she would meow the second verse. We were a big hit at daytime parties. When the hole was large enough I went over and placed her at the bottom. I then got a big trash can and filled it with leaves. I took them to the hole and let them fall over and cover her. Mark cried. We took turns gently putting the earth back into her grave. When we had made a little mound we patted it smooth and went to look for rocks. The ground is frozen so it took a little time to find and dig out the right size and amount of rocks. I cried while I pried out the rocks. Oddly enough there was no one around. In our little hamlet there is always someone out and about doing something. But not that day. Just us in the cold clear sunshine. When we found enough rocks we covered her small grave to make a perfect oval. We moved the shovels, brushed the dirt off ourselves and stood one on either side of the grave. We held hands. Mark said a prayer and thanked God for "Our friend Socks." We cried some more. We were finished.

Grief is hard today. It was hard the past three days. I imagine it will be hard for the next few weeks/months. Friend Kim who just lost her beloved Peg suggested I get out pictures of Socks. This I have done. I have one in every room so I don't feel so alone. Before Mollie this cat was my dog. She followed me everywhere. When I sat down she was on or near me. TV watching is no fun without her. Doing my devotions in the morning is agony. Everyday we would have a fight over my Bible. She loved the feel of the thin pages and would lay on it and lick the corners. Very hard to read something with a ten pound cat right in the center of it. Phooey. I believe there are animals in Heaven. If God worries about sparrows surely cats HAVE to be included. I will see her fuzzy little self again.

But right this minute, I miss my cat. It snowed five inches shortly after we finished her grave. I can't even see it. I want her to come back to me. Phooey. Guess I will cry some more.

Take care. Love Bea

P.S. Gopher Girl: A cat who sits up on her hind legs with her front paws at her chest and waits patiently to be petted.


Cindy...154 said...

We had our Howie for 11 years and he was our "dog" before we had a dog. I buried him alone in the bitter cold. I am glad you had Mark with you. I saw Howie vividly in dreams for a time afterwards as if it were really him. I get real sad when I think of his last few days struggling to breath and me taking him to the vet and leaving not knowing that we would have to have him put to sleep. He was the best cat. One thing we did was write about our cats right after they died (we had a younger one die a year or so before Howie) and tell stories, all the things we could remember about their personalities and habits. We kept these memories, and talked about them. We still miss our cats even though we have new ones. I am glad you are able to cry freely about it. Crying is healing. Take care and know I am thinking of you and I will tell my daughter also, she's a kindred spirit of all animals and people who love them. Hugs and prayers.

Annimal said...

You have my most heartfelt sympathies. I am crying with you.
Cats in heaven? Let me tell you, if there aren't cats in heaven (&dogs&chickens&birds&bunnies), then I ain't going there.

Anne M. said...

Your Rocket Socks was loved every moment she was with you, and she knew it and took comfort from you as much as you did from her. I'm so sorry she is gone. Annimal is right, how could there not be cats and other animals in heaven? The sparrows would take over and kitties can't allow that!

Anonymous said...

I cried all the way through the post. They are our family members, greeters, snugglers, confidants, best friend and best of all they always keep a secret. I still miss Miss Peggy, I don't have to worry where I put my feet on the floor next to my bed, but I won't mind it at all. Her picture is my comfort, but I still cry.

Chocked up, and snotty.

Evelyn said...

I am a long-time blog reader who has never commented on your posts, but this time I had to leave a comment. I cried all through this touching entry. I have had my Daisy for 5 years after she showed up in my garage one rainy day. We always had dogs, I never really considered myself a "cat" person, but this little kitty stole my heart with one little meow.
My deepest sympathies go out to you and your family. Your Kitty was so loved and she knew it. I pray that you can find some comfort in the fact that she was yours for such a precious time. I know you will see her again too...there is no way I will believe that our so deeply loved pets won't be there in Heaven waiting for us.

Helen said...

I'm so sorry, Lynn...I know how hard it is to lose a beloved kitty...I have had to go through it too many times. I don't have cats anymore because DB is allergic to all animals and when my most recent ones died, they were not replaced. This means I won't have to go through the pain again after my sweet Doglet is gone. I love cats. The only good thing about not having them is not having to say goodbye. My thoughts are with you and Mark.

Lori G. said...

I had a hard time reading this as it brought memories of my sweet kitty and taking her to the vet. My DH at the time (now ex) was too traumatized to go with me and so I had to do it by myself. I'm SO glad Mark was with you. XOXOXO

tiger said...