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RIP, Beloved

A week earlier, Chester told me he planned to pass on Friday.  It was Thursday lunch and he was perched on my lap, purring away.  He hadn’t eaten for days.

As we schmoozed I said, “you know Chet, we have that appointment with Stacey tomorrow at 11:00.  You’re going to have to take a big turn for the worse if we’re gonna keep it.”   I’d retained the veterinarian in case Chet wanted her to help him pass.

I reminded him if he chose to stay the weekend we’d be thrilled, but Stacey wouldn’t be available on Saturday and Sunday.  It wasn’t like me, but I felt no need to convince him of anything and I held no hope.  I left to pick my daughter up at school.

When I returned 30 minutes later, everything was different.  He’d abandoned his blankets and isolated himself on the foot of the bed where the mattress was exposed.  He was turned away from me and when I asked, he told me he wanted to be left alone.

As the afternoon went on he moved onto the floor.  In retrospect I think he had a destination in mind but maybe he was too weak and so he lay down where he was.  He wailed if I touched him so I left him there.

In the evening I took him downstairs to the potty box.  I tried to set him on the floor but his legs legs were soft and floppy.   So I gave him some IV fluids, took him back upstairs, spread out plastic and towels and laid him down.   He had a little seizure at that point; I kept my hand on him so he wouldn’t pedal into the loft railing.  I told him everything would be okay.

He was silent in the night.  I woke often; in the wee hours we made a lean-to above him with a blanket so he could have some semblance of privacy.   In the morning he was cold to the touch so I covered him with towels and rearranged the lean-to to make it darker.  He smelled bad, typical of kidney failure.

Throughout the morning he was alive but he wasn’t “there”.   I’d asked St. Francis to attend him and they were above and to the left of us, watching and waiting.  In spirit, Chester was his radiant, loving self.  He told me he was waiting for Stacey.  He said he preferred to be cremated.

Together with Stacey and Melanie, my husband and I saw Chester off at 11:45 on Friday morning April 29.   Melanie wrapped Chet in a green blanket and carried him carefully to the car like a baby.   They stopped to salute Maggie on their way out; she found the experience unremarkable and went back to her heating pad.  She turned her head upside down in the “happy” position.  We all cracked up.

The relief was instant, palpable.   All day long I had the sensation that I was holding him next to my heart.

 

 

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