The vet’s words faded in and out. Key phrases caught my ears.
“Kidney levels…off the charts…heroic efforts…even then it’s unlikely…”
He paused and looked at me for a long moment. “It would be a kindness,” he finally said.
I stroked my cat’s soft fur and my eyes filled and my heart ached. I remembered her as a small fuzzy kitten, skittering about the house. Then, later, as the valiant cat who had recovered from serious injury and re-adjusted to life on three working legs. The cat who greeted me each morning and afternoon. The one who raced to the kitchen whenever a deli bag wrinkled, to beg desperately for sliced ham. The one who meowed plaintively from the hallway when she felt it was time for me to go to bed, and who slept snuggled by my side. Who purred contentedly as I stroked her in the dark hours when insomnia visited. And now I cradled my featherweight cat in my arms, feeling the weight of her years. After a moment, I looked at the vet and I nodded, marking the beginning of the end of seventeen years of our togetherness.
Later, as the poison flowed into her veins, I held her body in my arms, pet her, and wept, whispering to her.
“Thank you, sweet Ling Ling. You were the best.”
“I’m going to miss you so much.”
“You won’t hurt anymore, sweet girl.”
I kissed the top of her head three times, once for each of my children, saying softly, “This is from Connor. This is from Addie. This is from Lyddie.”
And then it was over. Oh, so quickly.
Last night, we buried her under the apple tree.