Sunday, December 25, 2011
At her first vet appointment, we were given the sad news that she was positive for Feline HIV. She had a 20% chance of making it out of the first year. We were advised to take her home...love her and not expect too much. We spoiled her on liver and shrimp cocktail. By the age of three, though still testing positive, the vet declared she would probably outlive us all. An indoor cat due to her illness, she became adept at hunting in the garage and cellar. She has gifted me on many occasion with mice, chipmunks, a startled frog and even a baby snake.
She had a two hour head start yesterday before we knew she was gone. As we scoured the woods behind the house, accusation and guilt lay heavy between us. Like a bitter pill, the words stayed at the tip of our tongues ....we knew it would be so easy to say something we'd later regret. We spoke in hushed tones about the bear tracks and fox scat we saw on our search. We looked into the trees and amongst the roots at their base. Our guests were subdued, not quite sure how this would all play out. "So this is is how it ends I thought"...what starts out as a typical day can so suddenly change. The day my father died, I called the house to invite him for dinner, not knowing he was already gone. I couldn't remember our last hug or I love you. Each time I visit my mother, I say good by and tell her I love her as though it is our last visit. Most days you don't wake up thinking to behave with others as though you won't see them again. Maybe hugs, I love yous and shrimp for breakfast need to be part of every day.
Darkness settled in last night. By this time, she had been gone a good 4 hours. Tears had already been shed. We were trying to figure out how to do Christmas Eve in spite of this, when a bump on the back door brought us up quickly. She came in fast without a backwards glance and went straight to her bowl. We cheered and laughed, the mood suddenly lightened. She ate voraciously for a couple minutes, looking over at us from time to time as if to say...."just wait, have I got a story to tell you"! Last night she made her way up towards my collarbone as I drifted off to sleep. Merry Christmas....