Saying Goodbye

In our family, the order was Lucy, Hobbes, Facilities Manager and then me, Tamara. Next came the chickens and Sweet Pea the turkey. 

The captain of our family is gone. My heart is damaged beyond a measure I did not know existed. David and I do not have children; our Furry Family are our children. I just lost my little girl. 



 I received Lucy on January 28, 2006. She was 6 months old. She was a rescue from a Bengal cat breeder who could not sell her. She was too shy, too sensitive, no one wanted to buy her. I adopted Lucy without seeing a photo first. She was brought home to me with much joy and love. This is the very first photo of her.


Lucy slowly warmed up to me and even on her first day together, was willing to play with some silly toys I had gathered in anticipation of bringing my furry baby home.


She and I became inseparable right away. This is one of my favorite photos of her because she looks like she has a goofy overbite, an endearing image if ever there was one. 


We had good times together. We were best buddies. She was my rock, and I knew that, especially when I was down or sick. Lucy was always by my side when I was home. She was my Lucy Bear. 



 I had to give her a proper birthday party for her first, so I invited her buddy Chui the Bengal over as well as a bunch of non-furry friends for cocktails and cat food cake. And sushi for the non-furry ones. This was the front of her birthday party invitation. We had quite a turnout and gathered toys and food for a local shelter in lieu of birthday presents (she was pretty spoiled already).


A very bad photo of that cat food cake. The sushi was great, though.



 One day, after realizing Lucy was lonely in my little apartment while I worked all day, I decided to adopt a buddy. This is the look on her face when I told her I had found her brother and he was going to come live with us.


The short story is Hobbes is her litter-mate brother. He was sold to a cattery in Idaho as a breeding stud for a hefty sum. Unfortunately, he had a heart condition known as HCM and was neutered so could no longer be a part of a breeding household. I randomly found him online on their website under the tab "adults for adoption" while looking for an adult cat in need of a good home. I immediately recognized his photo as one that Lucy's breeder had sent me to give me an idea of what she looked like as she had no other photo. It was fate.

One plane ride later, Hobbes came home to his sister. They were both just one year old when they were reunited.


 Lucy was pleased.



 Where's Lucy?



We met our future Facilities Manager and were one big happy family in 2009. It was a complete unit from that point to now. She and Hobbes (aka, her Bigbee) were two peas in a pod and on a chilly day could always be seen together on their cat bed. 


No, really. They loved each other. 


See? They really did. We have this one framed in our bedroom. 

After knowing about Hobbes' HCM and the fact they came from the same litter, it came as no great surprise when she became sick earlier this summer. She was lethargic, not her usual spunky self. It turned out, after several emergency vet visits, that she, too, had heart issues, namely congestive heart failure. Dove Lewis Emergency Pet Hospital became her chief cardiologist and champion. Those folks are great, they let us know everything we needed to know step by step, constantly checking in with us to see her progress. It was all pretty stable until a few days ago when she stopped or rather could not drink or eat any longer. Her kidneys had also failed, dammit.

What do you do? Am I enough of an authority to determine when to take a life? When to say enough? We are their spokespeople, these furry pets. We know them intimately from snuggling up at night, we touch, rub bellies (Lucy's was her squishy), we kiss them and are physically close to them. Did I do the right thing? Everyone says I did, but I have doubts. Then I think of her final difficult days and realize that she would never be better. It was inevitable. We decided to end her incredible pain. That seemed the compassionate thing to do. But so painful, so very difficult to go through.

We said goodbye while she was in my arms. There are many, many, many tears in this household, for I am so sorry she had to go through so much pain. I feel like I failed her on some level, and then I realize that everyone must go and that I must look at the time we had together through love, not pain.

Already the house is quiet. No more asking for salmon treats or a squeak to go outside to graze on grasses and catnip (Facilities Manager called her "Squeaker Toy" when she meowed like that). No more greeting Mommy at the door every evening. No more "did Lucy have her goo?" referring to her myriad of daily prescription medicine ground up in her wet food. 

Hobbes is confused. He sniffed her body and moaned a sorrowful meow when we returned from Dove Lewis. I know he will search her out in the coming days. So will we, and we will likely see her out of the corners of our eyes.

Today, after a really good cry, we buried her under the oak tree where we can see her grave. We placed a bouquet of her favorite catnip between her paws, wrapped her in her bengal blankie and put her inside her crackle bag, her favorite napping spot when the temperatures were cool. We will plant a tree in her honor, I know not what or where, but it's coming. She gave us her trust and 13 wonderful years of companionship for me (10 for Facilities Manager), I am lucky to have spent time on this planet with such a gentle soul. Loooosay, Lucy, Lucy Bear, Loopy, Squeaker Toy. You were the jewel in our lives, our sun, moon and stars. You were our captain, our #1.


This is the last photo taken of her in the garden. I'd like to think the garden was a haven for her that brought her much joy and peace. I imagine now she's walking this same path towards a fabulous garden over that rainbow bridge where she's no longer in pain.



Lucy Paulat-Pinson
July 7, 2005 - September 1, 2018

All life is sorrowful. All life is suffering. All life is joy. To participate fully in life, by saying YES to life with all of its suffering and loss, you become a part of this world. I said YES with wide open arms to life, to my Lucy, knowing the pain and emptiness I would likely face in one day losing her. 

I would do it all over again if given the choice.

As well as saying goodbye to my little girl, I am saying goodbye to this blog for a few weeks. I hope you all understand.

Here's to Lucy and every furry family member we have ever had the good fortune to know and love.

Comments

  1. So sorry to hear this. Sweet kitty. We both know just how hard it is to say goodbye to our dear, dear little furry ones. So hard and strange and just awful. Peace and love to you all. xoxo

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  2. So sorry Tamara, it is hard to know when to say good-bye. We have an almost 15 year old Aussie who is not doing well...but as you said...when do you know? We lost our 13 year old kitty after the hurricane in 2003. Hers was a clear decision. Our Aussie is our fourth dog, none of whom who predeceased him were easy decisions. Our desire that they weren't in pain helped with the when. This guy is slowly declining. It is hard. Part of loving them is to keep them comfortable. With that thought we watch him closely and wonder if today is the day.
    Hugs to you and the rest of your family. Your hearts are broken.

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    1. It is hard, thank you for sharing your story, Janet. Loving them is keeping them comfortable, yes, and happy and secure. It sounds like you to that in spades.

      Give your Aussie doggie extra love, but of course you already do that.

      Yes, our hearts are broken. Shattered. But we must take care of Hobbes and one another.

      xoxo

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  3. Farewell to Lucy, and thank you for sharing her with us. Good luck to you all as you adapt to life having let your Captain travel forth, no longer in pain, without you.

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    1. Oh, Saurs, your words bring tears to my eyes. So beautifully expressed. Thank you. xo

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  4. Aw Tamara. I'm so sorry. What a lovely tribute. I'm sending this to my little sister who is going through a similar sadness with her ailing boy.

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    1. Thank you, and I'm glad it can be shared. We must share our grief, for it is not ours alone to keep. We all experience it. xo

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  5. I am crying big heavy tears for you, and David. To lose your furry love, and to have to make the decision that it was time... that’s almost more than we can bear, I know. I am so very sorry. I’m so glad she got to call your garden home and that you have there, home with you. Big hugs my friend. And let those tears flow, you’ve got to get them out.

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    1. Thank you, Danger. You know so very well, I am sorry to have to say. The tears have been flowing for several days with many more weeks to come, I fear. xo

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  6. I'm so, so sorry, Tamara. There's nothing that I know of that makes the letting go any easier. Please don't beat yourself up on that hard decision. I held onto one cat, Gumption, longer than maybe I should have and beat myself up for that, only to beat myself up again about whether I let go of my Ming too soon. Ming's brother, Max, died of congestive heart failure and I wasn't there when he went and I do know that was the worst. Trust your instincts - you did the right thing. You and David have my deepest condolences on your loss.

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    1. Thank you, Kris for your kind words. I am trying not to beat myself up, but it must be human nature. We all seem to beat ourselves up for either waiting too long or not long enough. In the end, they let us know somehow.

      I am sorry you had to go through it too :(

      xo

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  7. Oh Tamara, I'm so sorry to hear about Lucy. It's so hard to lose a great pet. Thanks for sharing her story with us. I was afraid we'd be seeing a post like this when you posted a few weeks ago about her heart troubles. That decision to let go and end their suffering is never easy. I've done it and I always second guess. Wish I could give you and David a big hug.

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    1. Thank you, Alison.

      I am happy that others enjoyed her story, for it is a good one, full of love.

      It's never easy, you are right. We always second guess ourselves because their love is the greatest of all, in my mind. So pure and so unconditional.

      xo

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  8. So very sorry. It's so hard to have to say goodbye to our furry companions, they move into our homes and rather quickly into our hearts. They stay there forever. Many hugs. xo

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    1. Thank you, Gail. They run our lives -- in the best possible way. They are there forever, indeed. I remember every single pet I ever had the joy to know and love. They all have special places in my heart and it still hurts.

      xo
      hugs back

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  9. So sorry, we went through the same thing just a month ago. (Damn those finicky feline kidneys!) Your sorrow will soon turn to smiles from the memories!

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    1. Oh gawd, Alan, I am so so sorry. Uggg...when their little bodies fail like that, what can be done?

      I hope your sorrow also turns to smiles as well, sending YOU a big hug.
      xo

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  10. I'm so sad for you, FM and Hobbes. I'm sure you know that Hobbes will be grieving her, too. There is nothing easy about any of this, but she had a wonderful place to live out there in your wonderful garden.

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    1. Hobbes is really grieving. He is with us all the time and wants to be in our presence.

      Thank you for your kind words, they help a lot.

      xo

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  11. Gosh Tamara, I am so sorry to hear this. I know there is a big hole in your heart right now. What a sweet girl. I know she will be missed for ever. Big hugs to you and FM.

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    1. Thank you, Lisa. There is a huge hole for such a sweet little girl who didn't deserve to have such a weak body.

      She will be missed, we are working on some kind of memorial for her as well as a mural on the side of my shed. Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.

      xo

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  12. So sorry for your lose. Pets fill out hearts with love, but they leave a big hole when we lose them.

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    1. Thank you Tracy. They do fill up our hearts, it's true. And oh, the pain when they are gone...it's unbearable.

      xo

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  13. That decision is so hard, and I can think of one instance where I probably waited too long. Hugs to all of you, including Hobbes. The best ones are missed the most.

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    1. It is SO hard, you are right. We never know the perfect time, you know?

      Hugs back, thank you so much, Denise. Hobbes is well hugged indeed.

      The best ones are missed the most. Well said.

      xo

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  14. Heartfelt condolences to you. Just keep remembering she had a wonderful life. Remember the good times, over and over.

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    1. Thank you Hoover Boo, I try to keep remembering that, the good times. Thank you for the gentle reminder. It helps.

      xo

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  15. Oh Tamara, I'm so sorry for the loss of your furry child. She was a beautiful and sweet girl and you were lucky she chose you to spend her all-too-short life with. May sweet memories of her time with you bring you comfort as you mourn her loss. She is forever with you but now the suffering is over.

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    1. Thank you, Peter, very much.

      She was beautiful and sweet, I count myself the luckiest to have had her as my faithful best friend for all these years. She was my confidante, as odd as that sounds, my rock and my sweet friend.

      Sweet memories indeed and yes, I need the reminder that she is no longer suffering, thank you.

      xo

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  16. Reading this I get tears in my eyes. I was already touched by first sentence: 'In our family the order was Lucy...and so on'. In our family the order was the same, first dogs and cats, then my husband followed by me and the plants. You wrote a great tribute to Lucy, you will miss her but I hope you can give it a place in your heart.

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    1. Oh, Janneke, I remember you had Lucy in your life too. I hope you have found peace and I'm sure your Lucy has a special place in your heart. My Lucy will always be with me in heart and soul. Hugs to you, Janneke.

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  17. So sorry to hear about your sweet girl. What your wrote was beautiful. She sounds like she was a wonderful member of your family.

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    1. Thank you for your kind words, Rebecca. She was the best of all of us, and we loved her dearly. Hugs.

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  18. Oh ... I do understand, and HOW; with tears in my eyes!

    After I have lost my darling Kara (the one in the middle of the photo-the Great Dane baby girl); I did not even answer phone calls for 3 weeks!
    I was speechless for weeks when 3months after I have lost Kara, I have lost my 23 year old companion Ishtar the Siamese!
    I was drunk for couple of weeks when I had to put Gece (the Great Dane mongrel) to sleep after 4 operations from the same stubborn tumour within 5 months!
    To be able to take 'that' decision of putting her to sleep was even more painful than praying for my 87 years old beloved mother to die when she was suffering tremendously from a post-stroke plus cancer!

    With my full sympathies I send you a big hug full of love from Turkey,
    Ceylân

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  19. I just read your post and my heart goes out to you. I just lost one of mine last month - 14 year old. What a beautiful tribute you have written.

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