I have been working hard to not go back to Friday, April 2nd because the instant I think about it my eyes well up with tears and my heart leaps into my throat. I have had some real estate transactions get going and several veterinary days in Deer Lodge since then plus Alistair and Ike are home and our doggie friend, Jazz is staying with us and I just didn’t have time to melt down.
But I have set this time aside today because I need to share this.
Partly as therapy for me but also because 2 very special spirits deserve the tribute.
And, no surprise, I’m already crying.
You see, I had to send Bebe and Sporto both over the Rainbow Bridge that morning and Dr. Me and Mummy Me both had one Hell of a time coming to grips with the whole thing.
Well, that’s not entirely true. Dr. Me had decided that Bebe’s quality of life had gone down since the return of her oral cancer. Her days consisted of calling out for her morning Greenies, then sleeping all day in a head-pressing kind of position. She would occasionally ask for more Greenies and she was still eating her nightly canned food but the tumor was causing her to drool and smell and there is only so much Clindamycin one cat can get.
Bebe was 18 and had lived a great life, even if most of it was in the shadows of the other cats. She loved cuddling with Oscar (all the ladies loved cuddling with Oscar over the years) and she was cuddly with Boomer but it wasn’t until Boomer died a few years ago that Babs became kind of sociable in the house.
And I’m okay writing about Bebe because we have been expecting this and I knew I was going to do The Deed that Friday because Alistair and Ike were coming back to Montana that day and I wouldn’t be alone in my grief.
Plus Sport and Jockey were doing fine until, quite suddenly, Sport wasn’t.
Sport was 2 months shy of his 21st birthday and he had been gradually losing weight over the past couple of months but it was gradual. We called him my “appendage” for several years because he preferred to live life as an extension of my body. Whether he was on my lap at the computer, in my arms, draped over my legs during Couch Time or under my arms spooning with me at night, Sport was truly happy being with or on top of me.
You see, Sporto was my heart cat. I spent more time with him over the past 20 years than I have with my husband. No joke. Sport came to vet school with me in Saskatoon not long after he became a Fyfe (one of Alistair’s nurses’ new husband was allergic so we welcomed the quirky little Siamese into our house.) (For the record, the new husband didn’t last long either.)
Sport was only a year old back then and initially he didn’t take to the feline herd that was the Fyfe Farm at the time. He lived under my stepson’s bed and crept out at night to rip into the bread on the counter for sustenance.
Until one day when he just sort of joined the whole group and made the best of it.
Then I got to bring him and Cooper to Saskatoon with me and the intense bonding began.
Sport kind of became an honorary classmate of the class of 2005. He especially loved his Fritzie, who is also a Siamese cat lover. Whenever Danielle hung out at my place Sport was all over her.
He also had his own column in The Times of Our Lives newsletter I put together with Cory, Pat, and Nate, the Sports Column. It generally had nothing to do with sports but it was funny and he was a part of the team.
When Alistair leaves me every 2 weeks to return to Bismarck for 2 weeks Sport stays and snuggles and drapes himself all over me. Or I carry him around the house in my arms or on top of my shoulders and he lays on the kitchen table waiting for me to finish my supper so we can go & get Couch Time going for the everning.
Two days before I knew I would be putting Babs down Sport started giving me signs that he wasn’t having as much fun anymore. And he didn’t come and ask to sit in my lap when I checked my emails Thursday morning. He was even hiding next to the wet bar mini fridge that morning, which is really unusual behavior.
When cats display hiding behaviors like that it is usually a big sign that they know something isn’t right. Evolutionarily they know they are more easily picked off by predators. Dogs will display hiding behaviors as well. See…? I can quite rationally explain this kind of thing as Dr. Me until I have to be Mummy Me and make that horribly painful decision.
So… Friday morning…
At least he did come to my lap for email time but he didn’t stay long.
I knew Bebe was in her cat bed by the kitchen and Jockey was conked out in our bedroom so I put the Aloha music station on and gathered my things.
Then I gathered my beautiful, loyal companion of 20 years and picked him up for some final dance time together. Sport has always enjoyed laying in my arms as we sway to Keali’i Richel or Iz or Jack Johnson and it seemed like an important thing to do.
For me as much as for him.
Eventually we sat at the cribbage table (another favorite spot for him where he would join us for cards and cocktails, always in my lap.) That’s where I gave him his sedative and told him over and over again how much I loved him.
He sedated peacefully but quickly, too.
And then the final injection.
And that was it.
I should add that after he sedated I completely lost my shit and I’m okay with that.
I lovingly wrapped him in a towel and took my bag of tricks to the cat bed Babs was sleeping in and I felt bad waking her up but I also felt like I needed to say a few more “I love you’s” to her, too. Even though I say Sport was my heart cat, it doesn’t mean I have any less affection for the other Fyfe kitties who have shared our homes. Bebe was an odd cat but I respected her for that and I have enjoyed her new personality the past few years when she came out of her shell.
So I sedated her and she, too, gave in quickly.
With Hawaiian music still playing in the background.
The Angel of Darkness was in fine form that morning.
Two sweet, special souls are packed away in our freezer and while I haven’t allowed myself time to grieve their losses until today I do feel a sort of closure right now.
It helps that Jockey is sitting on the couch behind me as I type.
And it helps that Alistair is outside watching Ike and Jazz romp around together as new BFFs.
It also helps that my clinic in Deer Lodge remains a fun and rewarding place for me to work (I sutured up a dog yesterday! I haven’t sutured anything since I took out a couple of Alistair’s sebaceous cysts!) (Not that I used that line to the dog’s owners yesterday…)
And it helps that I still have real estate transactions on the go knowing, too, that I will have 3 listings by the end of this coming week.
Also helping is that I got my 2nd dose of the Moderna COVID19 vaccine yesterday and I feel great. I know a lot of you have felt like ass after the 2nd dose but I guess I dodged that bullet.
Maybe the universe thought I’d been through enough lately, I don’t know. I do know that I feel like I am part of the solution with this vaccine even though I’ll continue to socially distance myself and wear a mask when I’m around people.
The whole saying about being nice to people because you never know what they are going through kept circling around in my head the past week and a bit. I smiled and laughed and showed homes and wrote offers and drove back and forth to Deer Lodge and vaccinated pets and looked at eyes and ears and wounds and cracked jokes and straightened my hair and just lived life without allowing myself to drift back to that fateful Friday morning.
If you ever met Sport and Bebe then you are richer for it.
Rest in Peace, my Loves. A good life deserves a good death and I think I was able to give both of those to both of you.