Friday, October 5, 2018

The obnoxiously short goodbye - Freakinly Awesome Jack 2002-2018




I want to start off this post by being horribly callous and possibly even mean by saying none of you could possibly understand how shattered Jack's loss has left me. I know many of you have had beloved pets and were shattered by their loss, and I can't know how, but I only know how I feel. I do not want to diminish your grief in the least. So please take this as my brain being addled by grief..

I have loved this cat more than I can possibly express, more than any other. He wormed his way into my heart the second I met him and he stayed there, curled up in a ball purring contentedly, ever since - and for always. I always dreaded this day. I knew it was going to come one day, but I was hoping, stupidly, that it was a decade away.

I will never do him justice trying to explain him. Despite what the vet said upon his initial exam, he was an incredibly remarkable cat (the vet said "he is unremarkable - meaning that there was nothing to remark on during the exam nothing wrong to keep an eye on).  He had demands, requests, and he constantly asked us questions in his whiny howl of a meow that I would give anything to hear again.


Jack had an uncanny ability to be where I needed him to be, and not necessarily where I wanted him to be. I was unemployed when I fostered him so I used to travel with him quite a bit. We took him out for ice cream, I took him to visit the Catman at work. This made him an incredibly outgoing and friendly cat that believed that everyone loved him.. and they did.

I fear that his last few weeks were 'less than' because I was emotionally distracted by the death of Graham. I did my best to care for him. I knew something wasn't right with him because he had been licking litter and peeing outside the box. When we did a senior panel we found he had an infection and was a bit anemic. I was given antibiotics for the infection but nothing came of the anemia. It wasn't dramatically worrying so I thought I would bring it up on the follow up for his UTI and we could address his symptoms and issues then. There had been some confusion about his final wellness exam as I had asked for an exam for blood work and the front desk scheduled me for blood work only so I was a little rattled and didn't ask all of my questions - again, I thought they could wait.

Then Graham happened.


I was trying to tell if he was feeling okay, trying to observe his attitudes and his demeanor. He stumbled once while walking on the bed which freaked me out but he didn't actually fall and righted himself and continued on like nothing happened. I could tell something was off. I thought it might be his urinary issue. I thought it might be kidney issues since things were headed south in that department. I thought it might be his arthritis that prevented him from "leaving work" and coming to bed when we went to bed at night (he always made his way up eventually and we snuggled almost up to the last) I had no indication that things were going to go south so quickly.


I took this photo on Tuesday maybe an hour or two before things went down hill. We sat here at "work" and I was working on my personal computer. I was kissing his head frequently. I was thinking that the upcoming Friday I would take both of these kitties in: Jack for a follow up and Muffin for a senior exam. He was laying there with me. He stood up and shook his head every so slightly and sniffled and my world shattered.  There were blood spatters on my computer and my hand.

I have had two other cats develop nose bleeds. Em developed nasal cancer. Kit who developed throat cancer. I knew our time was coming to an end. I was hoping I'd have a year like I had with Em. I emailed the vet and asked for the first available.

Jack was freaked by my reaction so he wandered off. I wanted to see if he was willing to eat. Jack was never one to turn down a meal. We offered him some canned food up in my husband's office and he ate some of it but not all. He parked himself there and did not leave.


It hurt that he didn't want to hang out with me, but considering my panicked state of mind I wasn't surprised. He was still bleeding a little.. just a few drops an hour it appeared.. and we found blood droplets in the water bowl and where he was sitting.

I tried calming down and hanging out with him but I failed miserably. He kept walking away from me. Wanting him to rest and hopefully recover, I went to bed. I found he had vomited up the food he had just eaten. I didn't see any blood in the vomit so we cleaned it up and went to sleep.

I woke up with Jack in the bed, licking my nose, purring, happy.. I had hope.

I took him to the vet, we did an exam, we found a mass that could not be explained. I took him home on supportive care hoping that he would be okay. He was not. I came home and offered him food, he wasn't interested. I ran to the kitten room to give him some dry food - his beloved dry food - and I got him to eat a few bites.

I wanted to give time for things to work. He started hanging out in my husband's bathroom. I tried to give him things to be comfortable. It broke me that he didn't want to be with me. Muffin and Fleurp spent some time with him.


He was not eating, he was not drinking that I knew. I was worried. I researched and reached for straws. Dr. Lisa was incredibly kind listening to all of my questions and possible suggestions of what might help him. Realizing that surgery on a mass in his abdomen was not going to have a great prognosis, I wanted to find something outside of that which would give us some time.

I started prenisolone and hoped.

He did not visit me Thursday morning; my heart broke. I got the kitten webcam so I could watch him and realized pretty quickly that it was time. He was not sleeping, he was moving every ten or twenty minutes to try to get more comfortable. Several times I heard him actually groan.

Every time I would go and visit him to give him meds, or fluids, or force feed some baby food into him, or just love on him he would basically try to get away from me. He didn't want any more. He didn't want me to fight for him. I made the appointment.

Could we have gotten him through this if I had given the pred more time to work or got more food into him? Maybe, but at some point and some point pretty soon he would end up exactly as he was and I could not face the idea of doing this to him again. To try would be the most selfish thing I could think of - and yes I seriously considered it anyway.. I have always been a firm believer in a week too early than a minute too late. It was my second to last gift to give him. My grief is my last.

I had my husband spend time with him because he wanted nothing to do with me. My husband hated that I say it that way, but it is true. My energy was on a level Jack could not handle.


This has broken me. I had no time to get used to it, to be okay with it enough to be there for him. This is why I get seriously pissy when people try to guilt others into "being there for the pet" at the end.. there are times it is the absolute wrong decision.

I was very fortunate that the vet does final house calls and was available that night. I can not express how fortunate and thankful I was.

Jack's final photo
The vet found him in the bathroom. She gave him sedative to make him sleep. She asked us to tell her about him which I can't explain to you how much that helped. To hear my husband tell stories of his youth.. to remember him being healthy and happy..

He had gotten up and came closer to me while we were doing that as the sedative took effect. When he was out, we took him to a more convenient location and I got to hold him and kiss his head and drench his ears with my tears. When the vet left, I sobbed. I pulled it together and we went to bed and watched a movie. As is routine, I like to do a head count before bed, I always look for kitties in order.. Jack, Muffin, Eli, Twee, Kit, Fleurp, Skippy.  Before when Em and Ollie were still around it was Em, Ollie, JackMuffinEli.. kinda like LMNOP when you are saying the alphabet.  It is almost two years since Kit's passing and I still have a hard time skipping her in the routine.. but last night I could not start with Muffin.. I kept trying and trying, but it was always Jack.. I saw Muffin and Eli so I just kept going but I kept throwing Kit's name in the mix and then from then on I simply could not get the names right or in order..

And then there were five..
***
Maybe one day I'll gather up the strength to get through a Jack retrospective of just how freakin awesome he was.. because he was freakin awesome. but since I still haven't done one for Kit, I can't imagine it will be any time soon. Even now I am typing through the tears.

***
None of the kitties wanted to sit with me during the movie.. My energy was still so wrong.  My heart actually hurt, not in the emotional broken heart sort of way, but in a I strained a muscle sort of way.. When I finally drifted off to sleep Muffin came around for some snuggles. She woke me up and I tried to snuggle with her. She always enjoys snuggling with me but my energy was still "wrong" and she didn't want to be with me. She sat on her hammock and whined a bit and then settled down.

I'm grieving. I cry. I wail... I am eating copious amounts of yummy food and I am doing obnoxious things to my kitties like grabbing them and covering them with kisses - which only Jack ever appreciated. I am watching the Doctor Donna..

I will get through this, but I am basically in shock. I will eventually be fine, but right now I can't people. I am sorry I have been absent from social media and I've been staying away from email. If you want to reach me, leave a message, I'll respond when I'm ready.. Maybe Monday, possibly before.

If you want to make a donation in honor of Jack, NHKittens.com would be an awesome place. As Jack was a foster (my first fail) it seems only fitting. If you would like to send me a card (I have been asked for it) my address is PO Box 554 Grantham NH 03753. If you met Jack and want to share a story about him that you remember, I would love it. If you want to share your favorite Jack story that I've shared with you, I would love that too.

There is a kitty waiting for me, she is pregnant, and I have left word I am ready. The distraction will do me good. Being needed will do me good. Time will do me good.


THE LOVING ONES

60 comments:

  1. Hugs and purrayers from us. You don't need to "people," you don't need to do a d*mn thing. Just get through each moment as best you can, in whatever way fits. Peace to you.

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  2. We send love, sympathy, and healing purrs to you. You are fierce brave and wise. You did right, as always. Now cry your head off and eat carbs.

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  3. I know there are no words I can say to comfort you right now. Just know that if there were, I would. You all are in my thoughts.

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  4. My heart is so broken for you.

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  5. No words are sufficient to say how heartbroken I am for you. I'm keeping you in my thoughts and sending love. <3

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  6. My heart breaks for you. Sending you lots of hugs.

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  7. Farewell Angel Jack.
    You’ll be remembered akways.

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  8. There are just no words when a love like that is taken from you. I'm so, so sorry.

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  9. There are no words that will help, but my thoughts are with you.

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  10. I am so sorry for the loss of your beautiful boy. XO

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  11. I am so terribly sorry. There are no words. I would never dream of saying I understand, it is personal and borne of your connection. Each of us has our own with that cat that is special in that particular way. But I know how a broken heart feels and I know that I hate that you have to feel it. Jack was amazing. Sending love and hugs and purrs.

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  12. It's not callous or mean to express to the world that no one could ever understand how much your beloved Jack meant to you. What was special was between the two of you, just as it should be. The sadness you feel, the heartache, the desolation...your world exploded. We mere humans don't do well with such catastrophic change. I was where you are tonight August 12, 2013. My life has not been the same, and it never will be. I am so very very sorry for your loss of your special Jack. Saying those words I know gives so little comfort,and I know you probably are aware there is nothing that will bring any comfort. For myself it took finally accepting that I was going toward Abby each day as it went by, it would be one less I'd be without her. Today it's 1879 days. I count. I will keep you in my prayers and I hope that you find your new normal and equilibrium however you define. Go with grace and grieve as you should, in any way you feel is right.

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  13. My deepest condolences on the passing of Jack.

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  14. Love and light for your journey. The world will continue turning while you find your place in this new world.

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  15. Many gentle hugs from all of us.

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  16. I am so incredibly sorry. I know that means absolutely nothing but I don't know what else to say. As you said, none of us can know what you feel. I don't talk about this much, but some nights I can't sleep thinking of how Bear will be gone sooner than later and I don't even know how my life can go on without him. I've even been through that brokenness before - but I know this time will be earth-shatteringly different. I know this post will be similar to one of mine in the near future - my heart just goes out to you - my thoughts turn to you - and I wish I could be there to give you a hug and listen to you talk about your Jack. Whenever you're ready ... I'd love to hear about him.

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  17. Sometimes minute by minute is all you can do. We are so very sorry.

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  18. I am so very sorry for your loss. No one can understand anyone else's grief. All we can do is say we're thinking of you and hoping you find what you need to get through it.

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  19. I am so, so sorry, Connie. I don't have the right words for you. I doubt anyone does. I do know what it's like to feel a loss so deep, you can barely breathe. And also a love so deep, you can barely breathe. Just know that you are in my loving thoughts.

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  20. It's times like this that words truly fail. And yet, we're driven to tell you we hurt with you, that we understand—even though we never truly can.
    We love you...and are holding you close in our hearts.

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  21. Our thoughts are with you in this difficult time.
    Angel Normie, Angel Mika, Sasha & Grady Lewis

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  22. I know I'm not alone when I say that I wish I could shoulder some of this grief for you. I am sending so much love to you. I only met Jack a few times, but you were so right - that boy was pure magic.

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  23. I know words don't help right now. We all need to experience our grief in our own way and time. I could try to use a lot of words...but I won't. I do hurt with you and in my own way - I understand. I'm here if you need me.

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  24. I'm in tears over your loss, Connie. Jack was lucky to have found such a wonderful home and he had a great life. It's difficult to lose a beloved pet and it's even harder when it is one we had a very special connection with. I'm very sorry. R.I.P, sweet Jack! Big hugs!

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  25. I am so sorry. There are no words.

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  26. you're not being callous by saying we have know idea how you are feeling about losing Jack,how could we he was your cat ,your baby,and your relationship that you both had was unique,but we do understand the shock and the grief you are feeling ,most of us have been through it and we all have our own way of dealing with it.Do what you need to do and never mind what anyone else says ,take all the time you need,don't rush to be ok ,only time will help to make you ok.Just know that Speedy and I send you much love and hugs and snuggles (from Speedy),You will see Jack again one day,xxx Rachel and Speedy

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  27. Whatever I say, it will never be enough. No words can describe your loss of such a gift.

    How could anyone know I felt when my life fell was destroyed when Dash died. No-one has any idea what I lost. What disappeared that day. So I know what you mean.

    You have our respects, and our regret at your grievous loss.

    Marjorie

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  28. I'm so very sorry about Jack. We know how deeply you loved him, and of course we will never fully grasp the depth of your grief. All we can do is send you a lot of purrs as you go through this awful time.

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  29. I have no words. I am just so very very sorry.

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  30. I'm so very sorry for your loss. I feel like I got to know him through your blog over the years, and that I got a sense of just how special he was to you. My heart goes out to you - nobody can understand the pain of that kind of loss because it's different for every person. In "The Healing Art of Pet Parenthood," author Nadine M. Rosin, after losing her nineteen-year-old dog Buttons, writes: “…being out in public felt totally bizarre, as if the world had come to an end because of some horrible disaster, life as we’d known it on the planet was over, but I seemed to be the only person who knew about it.” I've always felt that that passage perfectly describes the awful loneliness of grieving. I wish you strength as you mourn your beautiful boy.

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  31. I am sorry about your loss but from the story you told you adored Jack and he adored you. There is nothing more precious than that bonded love. loosing one of our kitties is like loosing a child for they are just as much a family member. I myself am still getting over our loss of Munchkin after 18.5 years. I also know Munchkin's brothers and sisters missed her too for they treated her bed as a shrine. Not one used it till I washed it and poor Cosette misses her sister the most for she would always bath her.
    Please know that my prayers are with you and your family and I know that Jack is gazing down upon you with loving cat eyes and awaiting the day you rejoin him and all your others you have lost.

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  32. I am so sorry. Holding you close to my heart.

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  33. We are so sorry for your loss.

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  34. We are simply heartbroken for you over the loss of your sweet mancat, Jack. Comforting purrs and hugs to you and Catdad.

    Laila and Mom Peggy

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  35. Currently reading this as I sit for breakfast at a restaurant in Yellowstone and I am tearing up. Hugs.

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  36. We're so sorry for the loss of your sweet and special Jack. It sounds like he was your "soul cat", we don't find better words. We send you comforting purrs and gentle headbonks. Purrs and hugs

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  37. I was so very sorry to read about Jack's illness and that he was unable to recover
    Hugs Cecilia

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  38. Thank you so much for adding the link to "The Loving Ones" to your post. I had never seen it before.
    Someday, when the pain has begun to abate even a little (and it will...eventually) you will realize he is still with you.

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  39. My heart was breaking into little pieces as I read about Jack. He truly was a very special kitty and so bonded to you. He had such a great life with you and he will always be in your heart. Thank you for sharing him with us.

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  40. I found this post so sad it made me want to cry a bit

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  41. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  42. **Hugs** . . (previous comment not posted correctly)

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  43. I send hugs and love from all of us; yes I understand what you are going through, yet no, I can not
    FEEL what you are going through, as Jack was yours, and yours alone. I am truly sorry ❤️

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  44. So sorry for the loss of your beloved Jack. Soft Pawkisses to comfort you. Fly free beautiful soul💗💗💗

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  45. take your time we'll be right here. and don't feel guilty. jack always had our heart because he was big and grey and reminded us of Nimbus. <3 you.

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  46. You wrote that you had no time to get used to it. I don't think you would ever have had enough time. Not if you felt the way about Jack the way you describe. Every grief is different. We can't understand how you feel any more than you can understand how we would. There is no offence in individuality. Every person, every animal is different. How they affect us is different. That is how it should be. I will, if you will allow me, simply wish Jack Godspeed, and wish you peace, that I know will be a long time in coming.

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  47. I'm so very sorry. It's so hard when they leave us. So hard.

    Big healing hugs. ♥

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  48. I am deeply terribly sorry. Having gone thru this pain, I understand. I send all my care and hugs, and softest paw hugs from Katie.
    Katie Isabella and Mom Carole

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  49. I’m so sorry for loss of your sweet Jack. Sending hugs and love. xo

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  50. We're so incredibly sorry. Sending love and gentle purrs and prayers.

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  51. I'm very sorry for the loss of your beloved Jack.

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  52. We are all so sorry for your loss. Sending purrs and biscuits your way.

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  53. We are so sorry fur your loss. Jack sounds like an amazin' kitty. Mommy still spends many nights cryin' herself to sleep over Lexi, so we know the hurt. We're sendin' lots of hugs and purrayers your way.

    Luv ya'

    Dezi and Raena

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  54. Our Best Purrs Of Comfort to all of you...

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  55. My sincere condolences, Connie. Jack was obviously your "heart" cat; allow yourself the time to grieve your special boy. Hugs and purrs.

    Eileen

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  56. My heart breaks with you - I know that pain. Having regrets is human... I know because I was away when Mouci died. 4 years and I still get teary just thinking about it. Forgive yourself, love yourself and your beautiful kitty - because he will always be with you and you gave him a great life

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