Tag Archives: pet death

One of those weeks caregivers dread

Last Monday, I tried to call Mom but her line was busy. This is not that unusual, so I didn’t think too much about it. A few minutes later, I received a call from an unknown number. By the time I Googled it and saw that it was the Lifeline number, the call had gone to voice mail. I immediately called back without waiting for the message.

Mom had slipped off the bed and fallen. She fell on her butt, thankfully, but was still sore and shaken up. Fortunately, she was checked out by EMS and seemed ok, so no ER visit was necessary.

Still, I fear it is the beginning of the “no longer can live at home alone” phase. Mom’s done pretty well this past week, all things considered, but the tricky part for caregivers is knowing when to make these key decisions for a loved one’s care.

Beautiful Elle, RIP.

Beautiful Elle, RIP.

At the same time that was going on, our 16-year-old cat was rapidly declining. A cancerous lesion on the roof of her mouth meant she could no longer eat without discomfort, even with pain medications. Sadly, over the last few years, I’ve become used to the euthanasia process. While thankful that we have that choice for pets, it is still brutally heartbreaking to have to make that decision.

My mom wishes she could be like the cat and just go on. She says she is ready and she is not afraid of what is beyond. She is miserable with being in constant pain, and having a loss of appetite and fatigue. The doctors are no closer to diagnosing her than before. Is the cancer back? She’ll have to have a colonoscopy to determine that, but at barely 100 pounds and weak, she’s in no shape for the preparation.

She also hates to be a burden on others. While certainly I can’t deny the stress the last few years have created, I don’t want my mother to feel guilt over something she cannot control.

With wry humor, I know that we are going to have to get a bigger shelf to hold all of our memorials, for people and pets lost over the years. It’s getting crowded up there.

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Dad and Bruce

Today, we said goodbye to our 17-year-old dog. If death comes in threes, then this should be it for awhile: Dad, my cat Michigan and now Chloe.

Dad met Chloe once, many years ago. He said she reminded him of an old family dog named Bruce. Now that I know Dad’s grandmother had a farm, I guess Dad and Bruce enjoyed plenty of romping around the grounds.

Chloe. R.I.P.

When Dad’s dementia began to surface, he would talk longingly of getting a dog just like Bruce, who had been a Labrador Retriever. He talked about how animals can provide one so much comfort and companionship.

Little did he know how much of both he would need in the coming years, as the dementia turned his world upside down.

He also suffered from hallucinations. I remember on one visit, Dad pointed out the window and said, “Look at that black dog out there. It looks mean.”

There was no dog to be found, but I told Dad that it seemed like a nice dog.

Like Chloe.

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Saying goodbye to another family member

Yesterday, I had to put my beloved cat Michigan to sleep. Michigan and I had a very close bond and he’s been in my life for over 14 years. He had battled a rare form of cancer for over three years. He was your typical scaredy cat that turned out to be quite the fighter when it came to the cancer. He wanted to stick around and for the most part, the last years of his life were still good quality. But finally, it was time to say goodbye. I was prepared for the event, but not for the moment.

My kitty Michigan, 1997-2012. RIP sweet boy.

Of course, Michigan’s death made me think about my father. I was not present at the moment of his death, and that bothered me as well. I’m actually headed out to Mom’s this week to pick up my portion of his ashes. Little did I know that I would be receiving two urns this week.

My dad never met Michigan, but he would always ask about him and the other pets when we talked. When his memory started fading, he asked me once, “How’s Missouri doing?” Close enough Dad, close enough.

Hopefully Dad and Michigan/Missouri are in a better place now, free of pain and suffering. Michigan was picky about the people he liked in his life, but I think he would have approved of Dad.

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