Dear Lila

today (5/24/19) was the hardest day for me. yesterday, we saw that you weren’t walking much, and had to rest much more often than normal. we resolved to get you into the vet ASAP.

our vet was booked solid, and we couldn’t in good conscience wait until after the holiday weekend. so we took our vet’s recommendation and went to a different clinic.

it was so much worse than we thought. you’d lost half your body weight, and were severely dehydrated. the doctor gave you a physical, and noticed that one of your kidneys was much smaller, and weirdly lumpy. they wanted to run some bloodwork to see if they could pinpoint the issue.

you were a good girl, and let them take what they needed with minimal fuss. and when the tests were done, they told us the worst news. your kidneys were failing. the enzymes were at least twice the upper normal range limit. even with hospitalization and IV fluids, there was only a 50% chance you’d get any better. then it was only a matter of time before you got bad again.

months, maybe.

it wasn’t news, honestly. it was more…confirmation of what i knew last night when i pulled you into my bed for the last time. i said my goodbyes last night as i fell asleep with you curled next to me for the last time. it didn’t make the decision any easier.

but it was best to let you go. to stop making you suffer. keeping you with me would be selfish and only hurt you more.

we gave you so many head kisses. so many. my lovely syrup head. and then i gave you pets as you peacefully left us.

right now, you’re in the Summerlands, frolicking with your brothers and sisters who went before you. give my love to them all: Natasha, Kitty, Sterling, Tigre, Sphinx, Jenneth, Kaneda, Stormy, Tetsuo. i really think you’ll like Stormy. you’re two of a kind.

tomorrow, we start on your box. we’re gonna paint it and line it with your blanket. this weekend, when the time is right, we’ll give you a small funeral next to the faerie rock. your body will be between the hawthorn and the yew, so you’ll always get morning sunlight.

i miss you. i keep looking across the room, expecting to see you in your bed. but you’re not there, and my life now has a Lila shaped hole.

when we knew she was coming home with us

i remember the first day we met. it was 2 May 2015. we got to sit in one of the getting to know you rooms, and just let you walk around, sniffing at us. you let us pet you a little. we knew we were taking you home. we didn’t know i would be your human. you were supposed to be for Gana.

for whatever reason, you decided i was your person. you’d sit on me, climb into my bed, climb on my chest and purr. you wanted to be near me, and i loved it. i pushed you away sometimes, because i was trying to eat or work, or you were trying to sleep next to me when i was sick, but it was never malicious, and now i wish i hadn’t.

you changed so much in four years. at first, you didn’t like being held, or petted on your hips. petting anywhere but your back was pretty much a mauling offense. but you softened. you learned to trust. and i got to pet your belly. you loved gentle pets, and having your neck/chin scritched, and head kisses. i didn’t even have to actually kiss your head, just make the noise and pat you, and you were happy and asking for more. but head kisses were your special thing.

i don’t remember when you first climbed into bed with me, but it soon became a habit. you’d wake me up, pawing at the blanket so you could curl up next to me under it. you liked the right side over the left, and didn’t care for the body pillow. for two nights, you actually slept on my chest instead of next to me, and those were magical.

in the four years we had you, i was only away from you once for more than a night. even that was made bearable by the boarders sending us pictures every day to let us know how you were doing. you handled it like a champ, and we were set to board you again in two weeks. but then you stopped walking, and i knew you wouldn’t make it. so i pulled you into my bed last night and petted your head and side while i fell asleep, fully expecting for you to not make it through the night. but you did.

i’m sorry we didn’t see the signs sooner, when there was actually a chance of helping you. i feel like i failed you as a pet parent. you were my responsibility, and i let you get so sick that you’d never recover. i let you suffer without knowing it was going on. i knew you were losing weight, but i thought it was just time to transition you to senior cat food. i didn’t know how much you lost. i didn’t know, and i’m so sorry.

i used your boarding money to pay for the vet trip. i still didn’t have quite enough, so i dipped into my car payment a little. we would have moved heaven and earth if keeping you with us for years was a guarantee. but i couldn’t let you keep suffering. i couldn’t keep you in pain.

facebook tells me this is also the five year anniversary of Tetsuo leaving us. that timing is pretty awful, honestly. i think i may just try to avoid these three days completely in the future.

i’m trying to focus on all the wonderful you brought to my life, instead of how much i’m going to miss it. i love you forever, dear Lila. you’re the apple of my eye, as the song goes. maybe in a few years, i’ll be able to try again. i don’t know. the stars were right when we met. everything was right.

the first morning you slept in my bed
forever my sweet girl