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...


emkaywhy said...

Christina, I'm sitting here in Arlington crying with you! Grieving our furry children is so complex. A dear friend and her husband actually went to a grief counselor to help with the sudden loss of their dog. I considered doing the same thing after Jose passed. I still long to hold my Jose and see him one more time. My grieving process was stilted because we got Thor so soon after Jose passed to help Loki over his loss. I do find comfort in knowing that I was able to see Jose when he was sick and give him the gift of letting go before he endured too much. In the end, holding on would have been for me and not for him. I honor him still by hanging his pictures in the house. If you need anything at all during this time, please let me know. Sending you much love!

rangerbeggs said...

I hope you feel an ounce lighter today and posting this relieved some of the weight on your heart. It is a wonderful tribute to Spankee. Remember he is also wrapping his arms around you as you let him go.

Hugs from afar!

Gail Suzanne Baker said...

Keep writing. Keep feelling. Spanky knows.

Anonymous said...

Dear Christina,

I feel privileged to have known, loved and cared for Spankee.

I cried with you this morning, cried for the loss of his closeness and his beautiful, loving ways....

I found these two poems for you and Him. Remember, Spankee the spirit is near you. Only the body is gone.

I'm at loss for words. So sorry.
With love, Aulikki

I Remember 

I stood by your bed last night, I came to have a peep.
I could see that you were crying. You found it hard to sleep.

I meowed to you softly as you brushed away a tear,
"It's me, I haven't left you, I'm well, I'm fine, I'm here."

I was close to you at breakfast, I watched you pour the tea,
You were thinking of the many times your hands reached down to me.

I was with you at the shops today. Your arms were getting sore.
I longed to take your parcels, I wish I could do more.

I was with you at my grave today, You tend it with such care.
I want to re-assure you, that I'm not lying there.

I walked with you towards the house, as you fumbled for your key.
I gently put my paw on you, I smiled and said "It's me."

You looked so very tired, and sank into a chair.
I tried so hard to let you know, that I was standing there.

It's possible for me to be so near you everyday.
To say to you with certainty, "I never went away."

You sat there very quietly, then smiled, I think you knew...
in the stillness of that evening, I was very close to you.

The day is over... I smile and watch you yawning
and say "Good-night, God bless, I'll see you in the morning."

And when the time is right for you to cross the brief divide,
I'll rush across to greet you and we'll stand, side by side.

I have so many things to show you, there is so much for you to see.
Be patient, live your journey out... then come home to be with me.

Author unknown

Rainbow Bridge

 Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge. 

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. 
There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. 
There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable. 

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. 
The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind. 

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster. 

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart. 

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together.... 

Author unknown... 

Anonymous said...

Dear Christina,

I'm so sorry you had to finally say goodbye to your sweet, dear, Spankee. It's never easy, but time will heal your pain. Being with people and other animals you love will help too. I know Spankee had a wonderful life being with you! Just try to focus on the memories, you'll always have those.

I met a woman this summer in agility, she lives up in Anchorage, she's a bead artist. Elise created a memorial bead when she lost her beloved pet. I know others who have purchased these beads and are so thankful to have them. She mixes some of the ashes into the glass bead so you can always have your pet close to you.

Here's the link if you think this is something you might want to do.

Aunty Pat & Uncle Blair said...

Hi Tina,

We are so sorry to hear about Spankee! He was such a unique animal and I know you will miss him terribly. When we lost Tiffany several years ago, it was the worse experience of my life. It is like she took a part of me with her. She provided us 17 years of companionship and loyalty and for the longest time I could feel her presence.

When Jeff and Sandra lost their dog, Truffles last year it was also very devastating for them as well as me because I was also close to her. She would greet me at the door each time I came and stay by me the whole time I was there. After she was gone a few weeks, Chris and Kerry and their kids as well as Blair and I were visiting. Josh was in the playpen sleeping in Jeff and Sandras bedroom. I thought I heard a noise and went to check on Josh. The room was dark but when I entered I could feel Truffles presence as if she was there in body. It was amazing to feel that and she was so happy when she greeted me. I fully believe she was there looking in on Josh and her spirit wanted to be present when we were gathered there. I have no doubt the spirit of Spankee will be with you for a very long time and feeling him around you, on your lap, etc is real, in my opinion.

Below are a couple of websites that helped me through my grief and will continue to as I journey through my life. I hope they help you as well.

Our thoughts and prayers are with you!

Love ya,

Aunty Pat and Uncle Blair

Anonymous said...

This, I guess is one of those times where there is no way around the pain. the path to healing goes right through it. I didn't live with Spankee, but I feel the pain as if I did. I see the pictures & can't stop crying. As it is with all our loved ones who have changed 'form', I believe Spankee's spirit will remain. It's a time of adjustment & accepting the reality of the spirit world. I hope my tears will join with yours to help sooth your soul and begin your healing. Love always, Mom

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry Christina. I agree with your Mom. You can't walk around the pain; you have to go straight through it. There is no right or wrong way to move through your grief - just keep moving, and take things one moment at a time. It won't always hurt this bad and you will always have the memories of your time together. Some day, these memories will bring smiles and not just tears. He was a very special cat and I always loved listening to him talk and watching the two of you interact. You had a very special bond, and his passing cannot sever this. He was one lucky cat and you were one lucky Mom! I just know that he's still hanging about, keeping an eye out for voles and squirrels and those neighborhood cats. Now it's up to you to scare them all away!