First written on: 11-21-07
Over the years, I have struggled with this concept of letting go. Wondering what it really means or how to truly let go. And how to let go and let God, how do you do that?
And then I found out… I experienced a big lesson in Letting Go.
I watched my cat, Thumper, die of kidney failure. I chose to take no more actions, not that there were any actions to take.
We took her to the vet and found out she was in kidney failure and had little time left. She lived just one more day. I even kept living my life the day she died and did the things I had planned to do and she died in between our outings when we were home. I realize that sounds cruel that I did not stop everything to be home with her. Yet, somehow it worked out and I was at peace with it. Thumper was not the kind of cat that ever liked to be held, not since I first got her at 4 months of age.
I did spend the night before her passing sleeping on the living room couch to be near her and I woke in the night and I went to her and held her for a while.
So I was with her when she died, holding her and my children and I watched and said Unity’s prayer for protection as she passed…
The light of God surrounds us
The love of God enfolds us
The power of God protects us
And the presence of God watches over us
Wherever we are, God is
And all is well
It was not easy to say goodbye to Thumper. And yet, I had nearly 15 years with her. We said goodbye to her with a burial ceremony and sent a balloon with a message off to the sky. We cried. We grieved. We let go.
Yet, the big lesson, the ultimate lesson in letting go, was 4 months later when I had to choose to say goodbye to my second cat, Lassie.
I had gotten Lassie and Thumper after moving over 600 miles from home to start my new life, fresh out of college. My sister’s friend’s cat had kittens before I moved and I decided to take these two liter mates in when I moved. My sister brought them to me the week after I moved into my apartment. As I told my husband, they had been with me longer than he had.
Unlike Thumper, Lassie loved to be held. True to her name, she followed me and liked to be held and pet and was the most tolerant and gentle cat I have ever met. When my son was born, she hung around him, tolerating her tail being pulled, knowing that she would get more attention if she hung out near the baby.
From my perspective, Lassie liked having the company of Thumper. They had been together since birth. I always figured Thumper would be happy to be a solo cat but not Lassie. And so after Thumper passed, it did not surprise me that within a month or so, she became sick. We went to the Vet but knowing her age decided to not pursue anything further. She had some sort of tumor on her spine that slowly immobilized her and required me to clean her up as she could not move to the litter box and eventually needed to be hand fed.
As she progressed and went down hill, I struggled with the idea of ending her life. I knew it was the “humane thing to do”. Yet, I did not like the idea of driving her to the Vet’s office because she hated being in the car, and did not like the idea of her dying in the sterile environment of the Veterinarian’s office. I struggled with the idea for some time.
It took months of caring for her, bathing her nearly every day, and thinking things over for me to realize that her life lacked quality and the kindest, loving thing to do was to make the decision. She was such a sweet cat and although she could no longer move, she still perked up when we came in the room and enjoyed being held. Even when she could no longer make a noise to meow, she opened her mouth and gave us a “silent meow”.
And so I came to realize that I had to make the decision. I let her know it was ok to leave. And I hoped for a long time that she would die on her own as Thumper had, in her own time. I cried often in this period. Knowing what was to come but not wanting to make the decision.
Thanksgiving was approaching and we had plans to head out of town. I knew I could not leave her home which pushed me to take the next step. It was difficult to just make a phone call and I continued to resist, the following took place over about a week’s time frame. It took all my courage to call my veterinarian and ask if he would come to our home to end her life. My vet was not able to come to my house and so I decided to find one that would. I trusted my intuition in finding one as I first scanned the names in the phone book and then on the computer screen. I was glad to find a woman Veterinarian.
I then made the difficult phone call.
I called the veterinarian that I did not know to ask her to come to my home and end my dear cat’s life.
I choose to let go, to let go of holding on to her physical life.