The Long Goodbye

Don’t wanna close my eyes
Don’t wanna fall asleep
‘Cause I’d miss you, baby
And I don’t wanna miss a thing

– Aerosmith (I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing)

(c) Sloan Parker 2011

Saying goodbye to someone you love is never easy. Saying goodbye to someone you’ve had in your life every day for 16 years is really tough. Saying goodbye over the course of weeks and months while you provide daily care for them and their fading body takes love and courage and compassion.

I’m hoping I’ll have no shortage of all three over the coming weeks, or maybe months. I’m not sure how long my cat has left, but the end is drawing near. His kidneys have decided to stop doing their job. After one serious crash he’s still here, but the end is closer than I’d like. I’m selfish when it comes to the people and animals I love. I would like another 16 years with him. And then another 16. Then 16 more. Sadly, that’s not how life for these little dudes works out.

(c) Sloan Parker 2011

He and I are oddly close. So close I can often tell what’s going on with him with one look at him. Once he was sitting on my chest while I was in bed, he gave me a long look, and I knew something was up. I told my partner, “I don’t think he feels good.” When we got to the vet, the doc took what I said seriously until he’d examined him. No fever, nothing abnormal that he could find. He checked his mouth. Nothing. He looked at me with kindness, but like I was nuts, explaining that he couldn’t find anything until he checked his mouth one more time. He found an abscessed tooth all the way in the back. The vet just smiled and said, “You’re right. He’s not feeling well.”

(c) Sloan Parker 2011

He’s the smartest cat I’ve ever met. Too smart sometimes. He tries to run cons on me all the time. Oh, I’m not doing anything with my paw. I’m just stretching, but as soon as you turn around I’m putting my paw into that glass of milk. He’s also the cuddliest cat. He likes to give hugs (actual hugs) and sit on my lap while I write. In fact, he likes to sit with his front legs draped over my arms impeding my typing, but it’s still nice to have the company during the long hours at the keyboard writing and revising and revising some more.

I’m not sure what I’ll do with myself when he’s gone. I have two other cats, but they tend to go off on their merry way during the day, only coming to see me once in a while when they want a little attention. Or food. They never forget the food. One of them is the sweetest cat I’ve ever had and he does like to sit with me, but he really doesn’t like the typing. And my muse doesn’t like going too long without writing.

So how does one say goodbye? With compassion and love, I guess. That’s all we can do.

(c) Sloan Parker 2011

We’ve been renting more movies than we have in a long time and cuddling with him while we watch. I’ve been taking more breaks during the day to sit with him and give him some love. He’s still doing some of the little things that show me he’s here and not feeling terribly bad yet.

I guess none of us know how long we’ll have with those we love. We just have to love them as best as we can for as long as we are honored to have them in our lives.

15 thoughts on “The Long Goodbye

  1. Oh, your poor kitty! It is so sad when the end is near, especially for a pet that is such as close companion. I am sorry to hear that things aren’t going so well. Sending good thoughts your way!

    • Thanks, jayhjay! You should see when we give him the fluids. He really looks like such a sad little thing, but it usually perks him up afterward. Thanks for the good thoughts. They are much appreciated.

  2. Oh, that sucks. We lost our Lily in April after 14 years and it’s so hard. I hope you get as much love in as possible.

    • Thanks, BA. So sorry for the loss of your Lily. It’s hard to say goodbye, especially when they’ve become such a part of your life for so many years. Thanks for the kind words and taking the time to comment.

  3. *hugs* We’ve lost pets before and it’s always sad. They really do become like little friends or members of the family. It’s definitely hard to say good-bye. Give him extra snuggles and love!

  4. {{hugs}}

    All my fur-babies left with little or no warning. It’s never easy. I can only imagine what you’re going through. Enjoy him as long as you can. Sending positive thoughts your way.

  5. Oh Sloan, i’m so sorry to hear this. I feel like i know this kitty snuggled next to you at the computer. My hubby and i recently got a puppy. She isn’t even a year yet and i already know her life will be too short. It’s so terribly hard to lose them. I still mourn my kitty. Hugs and pets coming his way. : )

  6. Oh, my heart goes out to you! It’s great that you’re spending more lap time with him, watching movies. It sounds like he’s as lucky a kitty to have you as you are a person to have him.

  7. I feel your sadness…my cat too is going through something similar. I wish there was something I could tell you that would make you feel better, but if I knew it, I’d use it. Hang in there.

  8. Thanks so much, everyone! Your kind words & support are greatly appreciated.

    Piper: Thank you. So sorry for your own losses. Those little guys sure do have a way of becoming a big part of our lives, don’t they?

    Raelyn: Thanks for the hugs and kind words. The same to you for the loss of your little guys. It’s nice to know there are lots of people who get it. I used to work with so many who didn’t.

    Tara: Thank you so much. I feel like I’m still mourning our last one who we had to put down. It was the first time I’d ever held one of my pets as they died. I wouldn’t do it any differently, though. They deserve to know they are loved, even with their last breath. Have fun with the pup. I hope she’s with you and gives you many smiles and laughs for years to come.

    Chris: Thanks. That means a lot. We’re spoiling him up good. He deserves it. One of the best things about pets is they judge you for how you treat them. Not for how you look or if you’re funny or smart, etc. He sat with me through a lot of ugly, tearful moments over the years.

    Leigh: Oh, so sorry. It’s no fun to watch them deteriorate with little you can do but try to make them comfortable. I honestly don’t know how parents of terminally children keep on going. So utterly heartbreaking. Hugs to you and your kitty. I’m sure he knows he’s loved.

  9. Oh, sweetie.
    Damn, he looks so much like my ‘man’ Buddy, and this makes me appreciate Buddy more than ever.

    I SO know about the odd relationship, the knowing them so well. And that makes it so much more personal to see them fade, and to think of ever letting them go.

    Hugs, and just love your fella as much as you can while he’s here.

    Keep us informed.

    (((hugs to you and him))))

  10. This made me cry! I had to go smoosh on my guys, who are only 7 and 3, before I could comment. (The ‘baby’ loved it, my big guy, not so much.)

    Just like our people friends, we’re blessed to have our pets in our lives. And in his own way, your guy knows he’s just as lucky to have you.


  11. C: Thanks! Hugs to you and your Buddy. I hope he’s with you for a long time to come. Knowing mine so well does help me get an idea for how he’s feeling. I hope that will help me to know when he’s ready to go.

    Ayda: Aw, I’m glad you had a reason to love on your guys (even if the one wasn’t so appreciative). Thank you for the lovely words. Hugs to you too!

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