Smudge,my cat is dying.
She's 17 and a half years old. I'm 66... and a half, I guess. She's been here comforting me through so much. One of the few constants through all these years. The longest I've been away from her was when I would take a two week holiday and even then I would miss her and make jokes with my husband about stuffing her in my luggage.
She's been dying for a while, now. I feel guilty about it. It's not time, yet, though. I know it isn't. She's still happy, still healthy enough, still finds joy in life. But we're getting close. We both know it. There are things she doesn't do anymore that she used to love to do. That's the guilt.
I want to make everyone magically understand this next part before I say it, So I'll just say it.
This isn't the cat I fell in love with anymore.
That's what dying means. Everything changes. Burns out. The heart is an organ of fire, and one day it goes out. My cat burned bright like a bonfire for most of her life. She filled the rooms she entered with an irrepressible light. As she got older, that bonfire burned lower, and we made adjustments. She has kidney disease and is on medication - just a campfire, now. Still burning, though. Had a bout of cancer a couple years ago and had surgery - now we're crouched around the fire, guarding it against the wind. She takes several pills every day to help her out, like any elderly person would or should. Arthritis. Deafness. No more cancer. Lucky.
It's just embers, now, her fire. Glowing embers that give off such warmth when you get close, but gone is the roar of the fire, gone are the days of flame, gone is the light from the room. She used to climb up onto the couch to sit on my lap - not anymore. I have to help her up as she can't jump anymore. She sleeps on the floor now. Her catnip toys collect dust in a box, in the corner of the room. She haven't played with them in a long time.
When we drove to our country house she used to sit on top of her cat carrier to watch the world go by. We don't go for rides so much anymore. Sometimes it's tough for her to keep her balance so she just sleeps in it now and can't really look out of the window anymore either.
This is what it is. Dying. The light starts to fade, and bit by bit, the quirks and unique mannerisms are lost to the dark. She doesn't climb to the top of the stairs anymore to sleep with me. I have to carry her up.
She isn't Smudge anymore. Not really. Smudge was fierce. She was beautiful. She was so smart, and so funny, and so loyal. These days we're left with just a shadow of that. The embers. Dim light in the dark. Warmth... but only if you get real close.
They spark, sometimes, though. Enough to remind us both of what once was.
She now lay's on the back porch watching the birds and squirrels As if to say, "... remember a few years ago..." and I would just nod, as if to say, "Yeah, darling. I know. I know, baby." But we didn't. We didn't have to speak. It was just a look shared between two old friends. She knew, and I knew. She was something else. Graceful. Strong. Proud. Queen.
I brush her fur and feed her by hand. I carry her occasionally. She's fading. It picks up speed, toward the end. We're not ready, yet. Not there yet. I won't let myself be selfish. Won't prolong. I'm watching. Both of us, she and I, aren't ready. But we will be soon. It'll happen here, in our home. My baby. She's the reason I made it through so many hard times. She's the reason I became anything at all.
It's like a wave building. With every little quirk lost, every thing she used to do but doesn't or can't anymore, every moment where I expect her to act a certain way, but she doesn't anymore because she's too old, the wave builds. I am standing on the shore of grief, waiting for it to crash down. Won't be long now. Dying is the wave. Death is when it breaks.
I feel like I cry a lot these days. But boy... we had some good times, she and I. What we're feeling now doesn't hold a candle to the years of unbridled joy and hilarity and adventures and love and love and love.
I just wish you could have met her, you guys. Before the embers. Back when the fire burned bright, and high. She has been the best part of my life since I met her. I know you all would have loved her.
She lit up the room.
On June 10th. 2019, As I held her in my arms, Smudge crossed the rainbow bridge.
Your loving Mom forever.
She was always there when I had a bad day and seeing that sweet face made it all disappear.
She was my rock, my anti anxiety, my hero, my warrior, my protector, my girl, my love.
It was the hardest day to let her go and I felt like my world was collapsing before my eyes.
I'm having such a hard time getting the vision of her dying out of my head. It was so fast and she died with her eyes open and that vision of her lying on the couch lifeless is honestly so awful and hard to get out of my head.
It was so stressful. In a way, I feel relieved that I no longer have to worry about her...but I kind of want to too. Because then she'd be here. :(
This has honestly been one of the hardest things I've ever had to go through and I want so bad not to be sad anymore.
I still think I’m going to see Smudge's little head pop around the corner or her snuggling with me on my bed.. I think that’s just going to take time.
I had she cremated and got two different type of boxes. One is for at home and one is for the country where we spent so much time together. I also have a sterling silver necklace in the shape of a teardrop with her ashes inside so she is always with me.
Thanks to Grammarly for helping me write this in a way I could never do on my own and to my friend Bev who taught me how to put my feelings on to paper in a cohesive manner and held me when I cried. Thanks to others on this site from whom I took some of there words and writing style and added them to my own.
Thank you all.