Sunday, January 30, 2011


I am so sad today. It seems that my grief is endless and that there is no end to the guilt that I feel, believing that I failed Spankee in so many ways.  I know that I was  a good mother to him throughout his eleven years, that I did my best to care for him and to love him in so many ways.  That was easy.  But when he was diagnosed, I froze emotionally and the parts of me that should have jumped in to action, froze as well.  And this is where I feel I let him down terribly.  He was my responsibility, his very life depended on me, on the actions that I took, on the care that I sought out for him, and I failed.  I should have done more research, asked more questions, made sure that I was doing everything I could for him.  But I didn't.  I continued on with the motions of day to day life, working, interacting with people, going on vacation, all the while, dooming him to an earlier death than was likely his fate because I didn't want to face the truth of his dying.   When the vet gave me websites to research, when friends suggested different modes of treatment or other people to contact, I started the process of looking in to care options for him, but then I became so exhausted and I did what I always do in times of extreme emotional devastation, I shut down.  And in this case I shut down the very parts of me that he needed.  He needed me to do the work of finding how best to care for him, and instead, I went inside and sat with my own self: my feelings of loss, my not wanting to be without him, my 'how am I going to do this', me, me, me.  I am so selfish.  Taz keeps telling me that it wasn't me that killed Spankee, it was the kidney disease.  And yes, I get that.  I get that his ultimate death was not my fault.  But I do believe that the timeliness of his death, only three months after his diagnosis, was because of my inability to dig deep and find my inner strength and do what needed to be done for him.  So, in the end, I failed him.  Just like I failed my other cat Gidget.  Just like I failed my Dad.  And ultimately, just like I fail myself on a regular basis.  How do I find my way through this?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Moment by Moment

Today I spent a couple of hours with a girlfriend.  We talked for a bit about Spankee and her experience in losing a pet as well.  Then we shifted and shared about other things going on in our lives.  It was wonderful to have a reprieve from my grief and do something "normal".  I am grateful for my friends and family who have reached out to me during this time. I know that it is not easy to witness someone in their difficult moments of pain, but I also know how powerful it can be for both parties.  I am thankful for these people who know my tendency to go internal, to prefer to be alone and lick my wounds, and so those of you who have made the extra effort to connect with me during this time and encourage me to be other than internally-driven - thank you for your love and caring. 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Fuck, fuck, fuck, shit, shit, shit.

The World Keeps Turning

Here I am, sitting at work, pretending to give a shit about all of this stuff that seems so unimportant.  How is it that the world just keeps on going?  I know that it is crucial that I keep moving so that I don't get "stuck" in all of this emotional shit.  I don't want to lose the memories.  i don't want to let go.  I don't want to face the reality of moving on without him. I'm still wearing my dirty pyjamas and holding tight to his blanket because I can smell him.  I can't face going back in to my cabin yet.  I can't imagine a time when home will feel like home again.  Spankee is everywhere, and this hurts and this is wonderful.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Pissed Off

Taz and I took Spankee up the road yesterday, with him on my lap the entire trip. It was so hard to leave him behind.  As we got closer to home, I found myself talking and talking and talking, and quickly realized that this was my way of talking over top of my impending feelings of fear at being back in my house, surrounded by Spankee's things, without him.   I have lived in this cabin for eleven years, and not had one night without Spankee with me.

I stood in the entryway of my cabin for a long time, crying with Taz, unable to turn around and face the rooms filled with the physical connections to him: his toys, his medical supplies, his food, his litter box, the window sill he sat on, the chair and couch he snuggled in, the countertop he jumped on, the pot of water he drank from...

Taz encouraged me to spend the night at his house instead; to give myself time away from the emotional weight of and emptiness of what was my home with Spankee for so long.  I had to go to the loft to get some of my things, and this is where I broke apart completely.  The loft is where Spankee and I spent most of our time hanging out.  And it is where he spent the last twelve days of his life.  And it is where he died.  

How do I begin to let go?  How do I begin to say goodbye to him, when all I want to do is cry and scream and moan?  I want him back.  It is unfathomable to me that I will never feel him in my arms again, never hear him talking, never see his face in the window, never has his body snuggled up against mine under the covers, never hear him scratching at the door to come in, never hear him growl at an approaching dog, cat or person...

When we got Taz's, I cried and cried for a long while.  And then I was overcome with guilt and anger. I feel so badly that I left him for 21 days at Christmas.  I know my reasons were that he was doing so well, that the Vet said that he seemed fine, that I made the best arrangements for him to be cared for on a daily basis...  But still, I have to live with the knowledge that I LEFT HIM.  Did he feel abandoned?  Some people don't believe that animals can feel or think or have these qualities of time or space or emotion, but I believe otherwise.  I believe in my deepest heart that part of Spankee's failing in December/January was from the lonliness and separation from me.  Part of me thinks that this is egotistical, like narcissistic to think that he would die without me, and yet a larger part of me believes that he spent a great deal of his time waiting for me, wondering where I was, why I left, and when I was coming home.

Regardless, I will never know what he went through while I was away.  It is enough for me to ackonwledge that I was away, and that he declined drastically during this time.  I am angry.  I have been expressing this anger through tears, but what I really yearn to do is scream from the top of my lungs until I lose my voice.  The only reprieve that I have right now is to sleep.  When asleep, I lose all illusions of control, I can dream that Spankee is still with me, and I do not have to face this painful reality.

I am very grateful to have a wonderful partner who is understanding and patient.  He gets that I am sad and angry, and he does not take it personally when I am short with him.  I do not take his being this way for granted, and I also do not expect that he should feel the brunt of all of my emotions.  So I am trying to keep a connection with him, while I feel completely empty inside and have nothing to give to him right now.

Today was a cool day of rain, wind and stormy seas.  And I found this comforting and went out seeking solace it in, relieved to be in a space that echoed the storm lurking just below the surface within myself.

Tomorrow begins a work week that I can't avoid. It is probably a good thing to be busy, to have a schedule and to be forced to pull myself, even briefly, from all of this unrest.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

A Difficult First Night

It's 4:30 in the morning and I cannot sleep.  Spankee is laying next to me, nestled in to one of his favorite blankets.  His eyes are still open and I swear that at times I see his chest moving up and down.  God, this is so hard.  I want him back so badly.  At moments I wonder if I made the right choice, and then I remember him crying in the night, and I am overwhelmed with gratitude for how easy he made it for me to know when he was ready to go.  But now, the real work of letting go has begun and I am stuck. Stuck in the "why him", "did I do everything that I could", "was he being punished for something that I did", "did he know he was loved".  On and on these thoughts pierce through this haze of grief and I cannot stop the tears from flowing...

Friday, January 21, 2011

Letting Spankee Go

Spankee, my beloved cat companion of eleven years passed away peacefully on my lap this morning, surrounded by people who love him.  Letting him go was the hardest decision I have ever had to make.  The rest of the day, I have moved back and forth between being numb, and being overwhelmed with grief, anger and disbelief.   Right now, even though he is tucked up in to a blanket, cold to the touch, I can't believe that he is actually gone.  It seems that he is just resting.

He was sick less than three months.  Well, he showed symptoms at least, for just the past three months.  He was diagnosed with kidney failure on October 21st.  The time since his diagnosis has been frantic: regular visits to the vet, doing research online, trying different medications, ensuring he was comfortable.  One of the most difficult parts for me throughout all of this, was trying to find the balance between enjoying the time that I had with Spankee and celebrating the beautiful cat that he was, allowing myself to feel the moments of  anticipatory grief when those tides would wash over me, and then still managing to go through the day to day tasks of living.  I did not find this balance.

Tomorrow we will drive to the city and leave him to be cremated.  We'll drive back up the next weekend to pick him up.  I don't t want to let his physical body go.  I believe that his spirit is still here, will always be, but my attachment to his physical body remains, and so I am crushed knowing I will be letting that part of him go.  Knowing that I will never have him in my lap again, purring and soft, is unbelievable.   The weight of this loss sits heavy on my heart, and I cannot catch my breath.

Already, my cabin feels so empty with him.  He is everywhere.  Every cushion, blanket, pillow and jacket has his hair on it.  His medication is on the counter.  His bag of fluids is hanging from a nail in the kitchen.  His food is in the cabinet.  His water dish is on the floor.  His litter boxes are in the corner.  His carrying case is on the chair.  His last meal of turkey and tuna is still on the plate, next to the bed, where we spent so much time of our life together, just hanging out and being.  I am leaving everything just as it is for now.  How can I do anything else? 

I miss Spankee.  I swear I feel his weight in my lap.  I swear I can hear his purr and his call to me.  I swear I can hear him jumping from the bed to the floor.  Am I crazy?  Yes, crazy with grief.

And so today I have lost my dear friend, son and companion Spankee.  I was emotionally paralyzed and could not write about the experience of going through this with him before today, though I had wanted to.  I had to hold all that I was feeling inside, a refusal to believe that he would not get better, that this time would ever come. Writing anything would have made it too real.

I do not know how to begin to grieve this loss.  I miss Spankee terribly and I want him back.  I want just one more minute with him, one more purr, one more meow, one more pet, one more lick, one more flick of the tail, one more anything and one more everything...