Cleo died this morning at 9 a.m. She died just like Sweetcheeks. I found her gasping for air and as I picked her up she was lifeless. She moaned a meow at me as I frantically ran her to the car. I placed her gently in front of the passenger seat. She then involuntarily arched her neck just as Sweetcheeks has done. I secretly hoped it wasn’t what I suspected.
But once I got into the driver’s seat I didn’t even bother to start the car. She was gone.
Cleo is now the fourth of our pets to die since February 8, 2010 – three on Monday (two of my childhood pets died on a Monday). The only difference is it was completely unexpected. We have no idea what happened. Cleo has hyperthyroidism and was on medication. The only indication she wasn’t feeling well was, of late, she wasn’t taking her medication which we hid in a pill pocket. But eventually by morning she ate.
It’s starting to feel like old hat by now but Cleo is more or less my son’s cat. He took a summer job near his college so his first venture away from home and his cat died. What’s even more excruciating is we spent this past weekend with him and he was hoping to come home this coming weekend all because he missed Cleo. Other than her hyperthyroidism she seemed perfectly healthy.
I can’t pretend to know what he will feel. I can only imagine. Perhaps guilt. Anger. Overwhelming grief I’m sure. All I am acutely acquainted with. My son is actually my stepson and after years of questioning my own father figure abilities it occurred to me as I cried over Cleo that my grief of losing her was also accentuated by knowing what’s in store for my son. I guess that means I am a father.
Gary Smalley and John Trent said “The better we are at seeing through trials to what they can produce in our lives and our children’s lives, the better able we’ll be to provide calmness, assurance and genuine love to our children, even in the midst of trying times.” I read that yesterday in my Bible devotional calendar. Interesting timing.
Last year I questioned why God did not answer my prayer when Tigger (Cleo’s brother) died two days before we got home from a trip. We knew he was terminal and prayed he would stay alive for us until we got home. Now I question why Cleo died seemingly four days before her “owner” was hoping to see her. What’s even more painful is we had no idea. We thought she’d survive the longest of all our cats.
Sometimes I wonder why we even have pets. The grief is too overwhelming. Just as I did when the prior ones died I’ll look at sisters Chloe and Twitch and wonder how much longer I have with them. Unlike the others, Cleo surprised us. I suppose after owning so many cats and dogs nothing should come as a surprise anymore.
My son knows now. We texted him earlier to call home. He finally did and it went as expected. Now he’s on his way to say good bye to Cleo.
Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials; knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. – James 1:2-4
My son’s cat has died expectantly and now he has just called again. He’s wondering if he’ll even make the drive home because he has car troubles. I’ve never heard him use the F-word. Until now.