When Cathy went to California I kept her two cats. I was more attached to one than the other. Then I got very attached to the other, a black cat with a beautiful face that I loved to look at. We found her in a carrying case on a shelf in a candy store loudly complaining about the indignity of her situation. That was about 14 years ago. For two years she’s had terrible, painful dental problems. In August she had six teeth removed. I hoped that might end the problem, but it didn’t. In September, she stopped eating and drinking and just lay on the carpet for four days. I came close to euthanizing her but, at the vet’s suggestion, tried a cortisone shot. It worked like a miracle; within hours she was at the door waiting for me again. For nearly three months she was almost her old self. It was great constantly putting food in her bowl and watching her eat. At some point during the day she’d come looking for me, which made me very happy. I liked living with her a lot.
The enormous pain returned, as I knew it would. Another cortisone shot lasted for almost two months. Two weeks ago, the pain returned. One more cortisone try. This time it took a week for her to rally and start eating again. But now only once a day, and very little. Four days later she was back on the couch sleeping, sleeping, licking her lips, shaking her head. The eating and drinking stopped. She didn’t come to me seeking comfort. Yesterday I euthanized her. I wasn’t able to be in the room when she departed, but I was with her immediately after. I petted her and told her that I loved her. I was so very thankful that I was able to end her suffering.
When I woke this morning, I thought of Ajax. My stomach made some convulsive movements but they didn’t rise up into my throat and eyes.
“The bird opens its beak and sings its note
And then the beak comes together again in Silence.
So Nature and the Living meet together in Void.
Like the closing of the bird’s beak
After its song.”