Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Saying Goodbye

Warning: Post is about pet death.

This is really long.  I've been feeling so sad since Macie died on Saturday night that I felt like I needed to get my feelings down in writing.

When hubby and I got married our senior year of college, I (naively) thought I wanted a baby right away.  Hubby offered a compromise and suggested we adopt a kitten instead.  We wound up adopting two kittens from the same litter, a male and a female - Mac and Macie. 

They were little fluffy balls of energy.  Our favorite memories of those early days were of Mac and Macie chasing each other all around the apartment and falling asleep mid-stride on the carpet.  Mac once fell off the back of the couch and before he hit the seat cushions, he was sound asleep.  They played together.  They snuggled together.  When they stayed overnight at the vet to be declawed and spayed/neutered, the vet techs had to put them into the same cage to sleep together because they wouldn't stop crying apart. The kittens were so tiny that they both fit into the front pocket of hubby's hoodie sweatshirt, where they loved to snuggle and nap.

The cats were our first "children."  We loved them.  My mom sent them Christmas gifts.  They became part of the family, as pets usually do.  After Anna was born, both cats were very interested in the loud, smelly bundle we'd brought home.  Mac was jumpy, but Macie just seemed to know that Anna would be her buddy.  As Anna learned to walk, she'd follow Macie around, chanting, "Kuh! Kuh!" (how she pronounced cat) and Macie would let Anna pet her for a few minutes before she'd seek refuge on the top of the couch where Anna was unable to reach her.

When Anna moved into a big girl bed, Macie seized the opportunity to snuggle up with her on almost a nightly basis.  Anna quickly learned that Macie didn't particularly like being hugged or forced into doll cribs.  Macie was incredibly patient, but did nip a few times to remind Anna to back off.  Anna always forgave her.

We took Macie to the vet shortly before Henry was born because she was visibly losing weight.  The doctor said it was stress.  I wish I had forced the issue.  I wish I had asked for blood work then.  Because a few weeks later, the baby was born and my life got turned upside down for a while.  And by the time I saw just how much weight Macie had continued to lose, it was too late.  Hubby says not to blame myself, but I can't help it.  I feel like I let her down.

We tried for almost a month to save her life after the vet diagnosed kidney "issues."  A round of antibiotics, two rounds of steroids, even daily IV fluids (thank you so much to my dear friend who came over every day for a week while hubby was traveling to help me with this!).  Things would improve for a day or two, but she continued to eat less and less.

We came home from picking hubby up at the airport after a week long business trip Saturday night.  I went up to the bedroom to put clean sheets on our bed and discovered that Macie had had an accident behind the chair.  But as I tried to get her to move away from the area so I could clean it up, it became clear that this was more than an accident.  She was so weak she could barely move.  She moaned and laid down and couldn't get back up.  She was bleeding.  We found evidence that she'd been searching around our bedroom for a place to die.  Poor Mac, in an effort to alert me earlier that day, had peed on my side of the bed (wake up, woman, my sister is not well!), but I figured he was ticked off that I had taken Macie's special food away from him.  So Macie had spent the day in pain and alone.

Hubby took her right away to the animal ER.  They said it was end stage kidney failure.  There was nothing more they could do.  She died in hubby's arms. 

I never thought I would be this sad about an animal dying. Anna has dealt with it in spurts.  Her initial reaction was to get out crayons and paper to make a project in honor of Macie, but she dissolved into tears at the table.  She told hubby later this past weekend that she thought she had gotten Macie sick.  And that about broke my heart. 

This afternoon, the vet's office that last treated Macie sent us a card with something special enclosed.  It was a pet sympathy car with the rainbow bridge story enclosed, plus 3 colored notecards with Macie's paw prints stamped on each of them.  Anna claimed the blue one right away.  I hung one up on the refrigerator.  And then cried for a good long time.

Something is missing in our house.  It just feels off.  I keep thinking I hear Macie's triumphant meow of discovering the perfect beanie baby to haul around in her mouth or her twittering noises she used to make at light reflections on the ceiling in the living room.  Mac is grieving in his own special way (peeing and pooping all over the house).  I just feel so bad for him that he's lost his sister.  Until Saturday, he'd never been away from her a day in his life. 

We're all adjusting.  I know I won't be sad forever.  I know she wasn't a person and I feel a little silly that I'm this sad over a cat.  But she was MY cat.  And I loved her.  An I miss her.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Anna's "How To" - Back to School Edition

Anna's "How To": How to Get Ready for School

1. Play dead when mom comes in to wake you up. 
2. Erupt into tears when she suggests you remove your PJs in favor of the outfit she picked out for you.
3. Choose your replacement outfit on your own while she's not looking.  Stripes and polka dots DO go together and pants are ALWAYS optional. Also, no matter what mom says, tights ARE actually pants and CAN be worn on their own.  That woman has no clue about fashion.
4. Feign ignorance when mom suggests that you need breakfast.  Breakfast?  Please.  Breakfast is for the weak.
5. Change your mind at least 4 times about what food is acceptable to your distinguished taste buds for today's breakfast.  Foods you loved yesterday are now disgusting to you.  Keep mom on her toes by deciding halfway through breakfast preparation that you no longer want what she is making.
6. No matter how many times mom says "Eat your breakfast," DO. NOT. GIVE. IN. This is a scare tactic employed by adults who are out to rule the morning routine.  The longer you hold out, the more you are stickin' it to the man (or the mom, as the case may be).
7. Brushes of any kind are not to be trusted.  It's best to hide at the mere mention of a tooth or hair brush
8. Growls and mean faces are the only forms of response required when mom demands that you "stop fooling around and just put your shoes on already!"
9. Get in your car seat, buckle your seat belt and DEMAND your favorite selection of music be played immediately.  Chant, yell or roar until mom complies.
10. Make sure you finish picking your nose before it's time to cross the street to school.  Don't worry about a tissue.  Moms don't care if you wipe it on their hands.
11. Act cool in front of the other kids about saying good bye to your mom and brother, but as soon as she walks out the door, run after her screaming, "WAIT!  I WANT TO HUG MY BROTHER!"  Moms don't need hugs like babies do.

*Anna is thoroughly enjoying school now. She's made some friends and loves recess.  She was very angry with me that this past weekend was four days long.  Hope she's ok with this coming weekend only being two days!