It took me until late yesterday afternoon to be able to clean out the room we had Puzzle’s litter box and food in. Even though I knew he was gone, somehow I felt like the act of getting rid of his stuff would make it all so…final.
As we opened the door, I could feel the tears well up. A part of me still expected to see him sitting there waiting for his evening food. It was the same part that expected to see him laying on my bed when I walked upstairs to change. Or to see him sitting at the corner in the kitchen when I turned around.
Puzzle was everywhere, yet nowhere. And throwing away his stuff would confirm it.
At first I just stood there with the bag as Mr. Universe put his stuff in it. That was pretty much all I could manage to muster. Once Mr. Universe took the bag upstairs to put it in the dumpster, I was left standing in the room by myself. Slowly I grabbed the broom and started sweeping. Sweeping up bits of litter…bites of food…cat hair.
It was official. He was not coming back. His stuff was gone and so was he.
As the evening went on, I started to feel better about the decision. It kinda reminded me of when you break up with a boyfriend. At first it’s really hard and it feels like your heart is literally breaking into pieces. But then the perspective starts to settle in and that feeling of knowing that you did the right thing begins to put the pieces of your heart back together. Eventually, you ask yourself why you didn’t do it sooner.
That’s how I felt when I woke up this morning. I’d had just enough distance from the emotion to remember Puz in all his glory and health…and the ability to see how sick he really had become. Just that small bit of perspective was enough to bring me the peace I needed to feel settled. To know that I’d given him the best life I could and by ending it had given him the gift of peace.
I knew there was a part of me that wondered every time I heard him sneak out the dog door if he was going off to die. That’s what old cats do when it’s their time. They wonder off and you just never see them again. I didn’t realize how much those kinds of thoughts consumed me until today. When I didn’t have to wonder anymore…because I knew he was off someplace safe.
And the meowing…never really knowing what he was trying to say. Was he hungry or in pain…or just making noise? We didn’t know so we were constantly feeding him to get the meowing to stop…so we’d feel better.
All these little things brought a level of anxiety to the house that this morning was gone.
I still miss Puzzle terribly, but I’ve found my own peace with the decision we made yesterday. I know in my heart it was right. If I have any regrets, it’s that we didn’t do it sooner. Looking back I knew…I’d known for some time…I just couldn’t bring myself to do it until yesterday.