Since my cat died, I've received three sympathy cards- one from the animal hospital, one from the vet and one from my dear friend Michele.
The one from the animal hospital is a stock card with a drawing of a cat on the front that everyone in office signed. I've never met any of them. I wondered they signed the card specifically for me or if they keep a stockpile of signed cards for the situation. It arrived before we'd even returned from vacation.
The one from Michele is the most comforting one. It's sincere and from someone who truly cares.
The one from the vet had a cat and a dog sitting facing a sunset. The inscription was expressing sympathy. It was signed by one person on behalf of the whole office. It had a personal note that read: Our thoughts and prayers are with you in your loss of Rhiannon.
I stood in the kitchen and read the note several times and stopping on the loss of Rhiannon part. The words felt foreign. Loss of...loss...loss. I've lost her...lost Rhiannon. She's gone. After fifteen years this was the strangest feeling. I'm not going to say that it feels like losing a child. It doesn't. It's different. She was still a being that was apart of my everyday life and suddenly she isn't here anymore. There is a void.
When she was first diagnosed with diabetes and the vet only gave her three months left, I spent the weekend crying. And made the decisions that when it was time, I would be with her when she was put down and that she would be cremated. As the three months came and went, I think I developed a sort of amnesia to her prognosis, after all she was still going strong. Her sudden and swift decline brought reality back to her condition. So I realized it was time to let go. It may be that she waited until we were all safely away before she let go her final breathe.
Our first night back home, I had a dream or something. I was in bed asleep and I could feel her weight laying next me as she often did on cold nights. In my dream I pushed against the weight without opening my eyes and said, you're dead, you are not here, repeatedly until I no longer felt the weight.
I still look around the floor for her. I know that will stop one day as I grow used to the house without a four legged family member.
The other morning Jay briefly mistaken a throw pillow on the floor next to the chest of drawers for her. He said he could have sworn he heard a meow. He was about to tell her he'd feed her in a minute when it hit him.
I received a call from the vets office this morning letting me know that Rhiannon was back and ready for pickup. I went numb. I automatically responded that I would pick her up in the morning. I hate the way she put it. Rhiannon is back and ready for pickup. Like she had just been to the groomers or had to stay at the vet for a day and now I could bring her back home now. No, Rhiannon isn't back. She isn't coming back. She wasn't in that blanket wrapped tray at the vets office. Only the shell of what she once was. Right now I'm not positive why I chose to have her cremated. I knew we couldn't bury her in the yard- too rocky. And then the thought of moving away. It just seemed like the most respectful thing to do for a loyal companion. I'm not sure how I'll feel tomorrow when I pick up Rhiannon and hold a small box that is all that is left of her. Because at the moment it seems pointless, since I'm not really bringing her home.