Thoughts / Painful Goodbye

Painful Goodbye

I was hoping that our string of unpleasant events would be left behind as 2003 went away. Apparently not.


It was just a cat. Buffy had owned us for 13 years. Since we moved back into our house (see Car Attacks House), she had been confined to Josh’s bedroom. There were a couple of reasons for this. First, for her own protection, since we still have had siding installers, painters, drywall finishers, electricians, etc. traipsing in and out of the house providing ample opportunity for a little furball to escape unnoticed. Second, for the sake of our new carpet (think hairball)… at least until one of us spills something on it or tracks something in.

She had not entirely been pleased to be confined to one room, so her downward trend was somewhat masked and a little hard to notice, until she finally simply stopped eating a few days after Christmas (2003). After a couple of days of not eating and increasing lethargy, on the day after New Years, we called the nearest vet who told us to come in as soon as possible.

Long story short: the results of the biopsies came back. Lymphoma.

It had spread to the liver, and only God knows where else. Buffy was too weak to undergo chemotherapy or radiation treatments, and would almost certainly not survive surgery. Buffy was suffering and would only get worse. What else could we do?

God, when is enough enough?

Bitter cold, but dug a grave under the crabapple tree in the front “alcove”. Birds love that tree. That’s why we picked it.

Made a little coffin from pine. There’s tears mixed in with the sawdust. Used a woodburner to put her name on the lid; but then the bit broke off.

Put her bed in the coffin. It was made so that the bed would just fit. Put in the little fuzzy ducky that Denise had gotten her a few months ago. She always went wild with that. Also put in the mice that Corky had given her for Christmas several years ago. You never knew when you’d find her flinging one of those little things up in the air and then batting it around.

Nathaniel has been invited by a friend to go to a youth function at the friend’s church. He doesn’t want to go with us, he needs a diversion. He’s gone home with the friend from school.

The three of us take her to the vet.

Wait. Paperwork. Pay. Wait.

Now we are led into one of the examination rooms. She can barely move as we get her out of her carrier. I had put her bed up on the table and she headed straight for it. Barely got all in before she just laid down, too tired or in too much pain to go further. No circling for three times like she normally did.

Wait. Pet Buffy. Talk to Buffy. Cry.

Doctor and nurse come in. Lift her out of the bed and place her on the table (they have a nice soft throw rug drapped over the cold steel).

A shot. More pain, but only briefly. Josh has turned his back not wanting to see the end. We pet her and say goodbye as her pain ends forever.

After a while, we put her in her bed and go home. Put the lid on and seal it with four screws.

I write on the lid:

We love you
We miss you

Next to her name:


On the side:

You were the best kitty in the whole house.

I always use to tell her, as she was sitting on my lap, “You’re the best kitty in the whole house.”, making “whole” last longer than it should. Now I have to go sit in my chair and cry, with an empty lap.

Denise writes her final words on the box. She comes in and sits on the couch and cries.

Josh waits.

After a few minutes, we go out. Place the coffin at the bottom of the hole. Say a few words. Each one does a shovel of dirt.

Then we all fill in the rest. And go inside to warm up.

The world keeps turning. Several billion people don’t have a clue, and most of those wouldn’t understand because they don’t even have a decent place to live or enough food to eat.

Is it wise to have a pet, knowing that loss is inevitable?

The same question could be asked about any relationship here on earth. Is it wise to love knowing that separation and loss are inevitable?


But the wisdom of man is foolishness to God. And vice versa.

Without risk of loss, without the inevitability of pain, one could not possibly love.

awc 2004-01-18 23:56

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