This post is disjointed. Maybe I shouldn't press publish, but I get that I need to write it. Because I need to deal with my grief somehow, and this is all I know to do in this moment.
Like with The Hoon, I've known for months she was going to go. Even as I understood that taking her to the vet wouldn't do anything, wouldn't stop what was coming. But feeling it coming helped me be clear in loving her. Even though before then, for the past few years, I've been loving her like every day would be our last.
That sweet weasel was so loved. And she loved me so deeply, so hilariously and with so much slobber. Kittens are loving, but Jacinta and I had a long time love. 12 years. We knew each other's stuffs. I'll love her for the rest of my life. And if there is something after this, I'll be loving her in that space too.
But of course the past few days, with all I have going on right now, I've been distracted, and when she called to me on Wednesday early morning, when I was sitting here at this computer checking emails or surfing or something equally as inane, I remember kind of brushing her off.
Thursday morning she didn't eat. Thursday night when I got home, she still wouldn't eat, so I called the vet for an appt the next morning. By 8pm though she was in bad shape. Throwing up bile. In terrible pain.
1:30 am and $475 at the emergency clinic later, they ruled out liver and kidneys. 9am the next morning and $610 at the vet's they ruled out a cancerous mass, and diagnosed a mild to moderate case of pancreatitis. Almost tapped out for money, they loaded me up with DIY supplies - a hanging bag for sub-q fluids, syringes for pain and nausea meds, and for feeding. They kept her for the day to dole out professional love, attention and meds, and I picked her up after work, took her home.
But she only got worse with every passing hour. By 2am she was crying in pain, and I gave her pain meds, all the pain meds, all five doses for the weekend all at once. It helped. But her breathing grew labored.
By 4am I knew what the deal was. Actually, by the time I set up the first vet visit, before the emergency clinic, I knew. But you have to go through all the steps, right?
The worst thing would be for her to die in pain, even if it was at home in bed with me, or god help us, by the side of the road like with Cassidy. The second worse thing would be for her to die in that godawful emergency clinic. So I kept a vigil. An all night vigil by the light of the full moon. Watching her breathe. Doing energywork. Speaking sweet words to her. I didn't talk much. Because I finally, for the first time in this life, understood that love doesn't need to be spoken aloud. But I know hearing the tone of it always made her purr, so I when she was in the worst waves of pain, I spoke to her in that language I always spoke to her in, and through her pain she could recognize.
If things got too painful, we'd go to the emergency clinic. If not, we'd hold out til the vet opened in the morning.
I watched the clock go 4. 4:20. 4;45. 5. On and on until we made it til 6:30.
We got to the vet's by 7am. They let us in at 7:45.
Lungs filling with fluid. Maybe a heart issue. Maybe the pancreatitis was secondary to something else. Maybe Cushings. Maybe there was cancer that wasn't caught by the first tests. But it all requires tests, procedures, money. Lots of it. But would it even help? Would it make her well?
I just realized one of the things that has been so painful about the past couple of days is how I kept trying to distract myself from the fact that she was dying. Is that what I'm doing now? Trying to distract myself from the fact that she's dead? Or am I facing it more clearly by this writing?
But I do what I know to do. So I do this.
I had five appointments with holistic clients today. I cancelled them all, for folks to reschedule for tomorrow or next weekend. The old me would have muscled through them. Let my heart be all raw and ripped open and mythic. But this person I'm becoming understands that there is no need for heroics. I'm grieving. My sister died this morning.
Then my mind, the cold, evil part of it says I'm a heartless bitch to kill my friend because it costs too much to keep her alive. I let it pierce my heart, because there's truth in that. I have about $2000 left in credit and cash. I know it wouldn't have been enough. I know the most any of this would have bought is a year or two. Maybe. Maybe only days. Or ten days, like with The Hoon. But I weighed all the possibilities, of having three other kitties to care for, a possible move for a new job in a few weeks, the insane debt load I already carry from school, from the first year out of school before I began making money again.
I told the vet point blank: no heroics. If you feel strongly, let's do it, but I don't want to keep throwing things at her, torturing her like she was last night. No more pain for her, no more suffering. We need to do the right thing. And she said doing the kind thing would be to let go. And even though I knew I didn't need her permission, or her approval, it helps me now, in this moment, when the evil part of my mind rises again.
And then my mind remembers last night, the pain, the suffering of my friend. And I'm so grateful I had the courage to tell the vet No More. And the vet said it's the kindest thing. And in the moment I felt an adulthood I hadn't before. Not out of my mind crying. Crying yes, but focused, clear thinking.
While the vet prepared things, I talked to Jacinta. Just saying all the things I've always said to her, the same phrases over and over the years, the things I'd sing. She purred. And gave me the love look, the first time since before she got sick. In those moments, I felt her understand what I was doing, and feel relief with it. She could feel me loving her, loving her like I always did. Keeping her safe. Protected.
Even if I couldn't protect her from death, I could protect her from pain. I could help her have a peaceful death.
And so they gave her a sedative. Then took her in the back to get the iv port in place. Then came out and placed her in my arms, and let us be together for a while. I waited til she and I were ready, then when someone came in, very gently, to check, I nodded. The syringe emptied, and a few moments later, she flinched just a bit, then her heart stopped. 8:32.
I stayed with her until her body began to lose warmth and I could feel she was gone. I smelled her fur one last time. Kissed her sweet head. Then handed her over to be cremated.
The vet computers went down. Estimated bill $500 more. They say I can pay it when I pick up her ashes.
It'd be easy to post this without talkinbg about the money. But of course this is also about money. About money, love, adulthood, courage, willingness, gratefulness, broken heartedness.
Driving home in the impossibly bright Carolina sunshine. Then to deal with urine and vomit soaked sheets, blankets, rugs. Clothes covered in urine and drool. In the wash. Needed to clean out the parts of her that were only about the last two days. Although a part of my mind inhales the scents, and yearns, because all it knows is this: this is Jacinta.
Malcolm and Emmaline and Baby Wallace, all so extra kind the past two days. To me. To Jacinta. They keep coming and laying on me, giving me love looks. Emmaline came twice last night to keep vigil with us, not scared away by the sound of Jacinta's pain and labored breathing. Baby Wallace keeps checking in on me, squeeking and sending me love. Malcolm is in my lap right now, purring, purring.
Outside my window, birds and trees. The sun feels obscene. But then I remember how much Jacinta loved the sun. And I feel how the sun and Jacinta will always be intertwined in my heart and mind.
I'm the only one left now of my tribe of the Hacienda of Ckats. We were about healing and chasing adventures and being bold and snuggling and snacking and watching tv and being a good family to one another. Brother Calhoon. Grandma Booty. Sister Jacinta. Now just me.
I have a new tribe. Yet we're not sure what our deal is yet. More shall be revealed. We're a young family.
Can't take it back. She's gone.
I miss her.
I love her.
Baby in the sun, 2005:
Baby In The Sun, one last time, taken yesterday evening right after I brought her home, 3/18/11: