Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Alex part 2

I admit I am not an animal person. 
We originally got Alex 18 years ago from a family in our ward, 
the Alexanders (hence her name).

My sons loved her, even fought over her at times. 
Whenever we were doing something together, like having FHE or watching a movie,
 they would take turns holding her. She was part of our family.

I didn't like having her in the house, and more or less tolerated for the benefit of my sons. 

When I married Dennis, he wanted Alex to become an outdoor cat. 
I was relieved. 
No more cat hair in our home, no more worrying about leaving food on the counter 
and wondering if Alex had touched it.
No more having a cat suddenly be in bed with us in the middle of the night.

As the boys left home one by one, guess who got to take care of her? 
Well okay, it was mostly Dennis, but I was concerned for her, too. 
As she aged we made her a special cardboard bed complete with an electric heating pad 
which she so loved on the cold winter nights. 
She became our little friend. But also, the final remnant of my sons' childhood.

We tried to be matter of fact yesterday morning as we drove to the vet with her in a box in the backseat.
She was calm in that box so Dennis thought it best. 

So I started filling out the new forms with Den reading over my shoulder. 
He quickly points out to me... "She's not a male."
I quickly pointed out to him that "I know Alex is a female." 
I think marking M for male is just reflex for me. 
I've lived with only males for the past 38 years.

Then we are lead into the examining room and meet the vet.

She checks Alex out and tells us several of her organs are failing and she's jaundiced.
I asked the Dr if there was anything she could do for Alex.
She assured me that anything they would do would only prolong her suffering.

Then I cried.
Because after all these years, I love Alex.
And I also see in her, my boys' childhood.

They have their own lives, and their own loves now.
But I'm their Mom, and I feel in my heart the devotion they had for Alex. 

Then we are sent into another room, which Dennis called "the mourning room." 

We were told to wait for about 10 minutes 
while they get the IV in Alex 
and then they would let us say our goodbyes before they give her the final shot. 

I didn't understand why they had to give Alex an IV.
The vet said something about it being easier for Alex. 
Made no sense to me, but I'm new at this so I said okay. 

So we wait much longer than 10 minutes. 
I go out of the mourning room and ask the desk what is taking so long...
plus it smelled awful in that room and I wanted out.

The desk tells me to go back in to mourn 
(well not in those words, but she wanted us to stay in there)
So we did, but with the door open this time.
In walks an assistant and says to us, 
"We are having a hard time getting the IV in because Alex is so spunky." 
I immediately said, "Spunky? She's spunky? Well then maybe she isn't ready for this." 

The assistant assures me the Dr thinks it's time. 
So then I ask again, "I don't know why they have to give Alex an IV??'
She explains they are actually installing a port so the medicine can go right into Alex.

So the assistant leaves and we wait again. 
She comes back and says, "Alex's blood pressure is so low that we can't get an IV in her." 
So I'm thinking, what happens now? Do we come back when she is healthier?

She continues, "So we will have to give Alex a shot instead. 
We will bring her to you as soon as we complete the shot." 
I said, "But we haven't said goodbye to her yet. We want her eyes still open." 
The assistant assures us that her eyes will be open. 

They soon brought her to us.
Dennis stroked her and rubbed her and we both talked to her as she purred...
She purred until her last breath,
and then she was gone in less than a minute.

I wish I would have known enough to tell them to just give the one shot, 
like they ended up doing at the end anyway!
I hate the thought of them poking her trying to get that dumb IV in.

Tonight the neighborhood seems empty. 
Goodbye Alex

PS  Thank you Heidi G for this great picture of her. 
I hope you don't mind that I'm using it here.


Karen Mortensen said...

What a sweet story. That was so nice that they let you be with her.

the Rich girl said...

Alex is very lucky to have had such wonderful care for all of these years. I'm sorry for your neighborhood's loss, but glad she doesn't have to suffer anymore.

And that picture from Heidi is beautiful!!

Heidi Garvin said...

Thank you for posting so much about Alex. I am having a harder time dealing with her death than I thought I would and it's so nice to see the details of her life.

I remember when I had surgery almost two years ago now, when I was home trying to recover (but not doing that too well), my mom covered me and the couch with an old sheet and let Alex into our house. Alex immediately jumped up and snuggled into me, purring. Thank you for all the times you let us borrow your cat for some comfort and companionship. So many people loved her!

And I of course do not mind that you are using that picture of her.

Grandma Honey said...

Thank you Heidi for writing your memories of her. I am so thankful for the love she got from you and your family. She thought our yards were intertwined and felt like we were just one big family.

Heidi Garvin said...

Wait... they aren't??

Just kidding. :-)

Ammy said...

Oh my goodness...Jill! I am not a pet person and definitely not a cat person, but the way you worded this post and the sweet things you said made tears come to my eyes...

Dad and Susan said...

This was very hard to read Jill. Bless you and Dennis both and also the neighborhood. It is easy to become attached to pets. They really are part of your family. Love, Dad and Susan

Tyler Heasley said...

Thanks for posting, Mom. It's been great to think of Alex's life and how, really, so many things wouldn't have been the same without her.

Anonymous said...

This brought tears to my eyes. Goodbye Alex! It reminds me of when my cat died on June 3, 2008 (Ollie's birthday, only 3 years earlier) I'll try to give you the link to that post. I like how you had a picture of her before she died. They have a certain "look" that my cat had too. Try this:

Tamara Swerline said...

My thoughts are with you at this time.

Scrapally said...

I am not a pet person at all...but this post and your beautiful way of writing made me cry! You have a wonderful gift. thank you for sharing your family, pets and all, with us.

Grandma Honey said...

Darlene~~ I just reread that post of yours 4 years ago....wow, has that been 4 years?? I remember thinking at the time how I wished I could be more like you, but I can't. So I think the way we handled it was 2nd best.

Anonymous said...

No comparisons meant, GH. We both did what we felt was needed at the time. It's all good... but sad, no matter how it's done.
I love the sweet picture of Alex when she was young. That's the way to remember her. A very pretty cat and a treasured family pet.

Sue said...

Goodbyes are always hard, but it sounds like you did the right thing. And 18 years is a good, long life for a cat.


Mar~ said...

So sorry that this loss has been so difficult. I think anything attached to memories of our children when they were young are the hardest to let go. And she was with you for so many years. You will always have the memories, even though the reminder is now gone. It's good you have recorded your thoughts and memories.

Holly Decker said...

i can TOTALLY relate.
i was always complaining about Holly the dog and then i cried harder than Jeff when she died. i miss that dog and i am sorry you lost your cat.

ps. you are hilarious about the "male" check box! haha!