The guilt of wanting someone to die is life changing. You question how you could be in a place where you would wish that upon someone you love so dearly. And you feel selfish for even considering it or it being a thought that your mind could create.
But this is how I was with my mom. The doctors told us for weeks, “She doesn’t have much longer.” Over and over again. And then I would ask, “Well, what does that actually mean?” And their response would always be, “Well, we really can’t say.” So for weeks (months), I prepared myself every day that I would get a phone call in the night that she died or each time I got to the hospital in the morning, the room would be empty. It was exhausting. And I was to the point that I just wanted her to die. I wanted her to die so we could grieve her death and I could leave North Battleford and I could try to pull together my life again. And I felt devastatingly guilt over this. I remember finally admitting this to a dear friend of mine who had lost her dad years prior. And she comforted me and shared that she had felt the same way and it was such a release for me. I didn’t feel so alone in these horrible feelings.
Believe me, I cherish every moment I had with my mom while she was in the hospital. I learned so much about myself, and her, each day that I sat beside her and worked on my computer or read my book or brushed her hair. But she wasn’t living. And neither was I.
I have lived with death. I know what it looks like. And now I am living with it again. My poor cat Albatross is really sick. The last vet appointment was a diagnosis of pancreatitis (on top of his IBS), so he was put back on daily steroids to try to help with his appetite and reduce the inflammation in his joints, as his hind legs were so weak he drags his little legs behind him. He really has been sick for over a year now, getting a bit better and then another trip to the vet is needed. And I feel that I am back in the land of guilt, wishing he would just die.
That sounds so heartless and cold. But the poor guy isn’t living. He sleeps all the time (more than a normal cat) and limps to his bowl when he does eat and just meows. It breaks my heart and I feel so helpless. And I want to do everything I possibly can for him, but I don’t know what that is. I am taking him to the vet again today, because he is just so skinny and now his eyes are watery. It’s to the point that I don’t even want to pick him up because he is so bony I am scared I will hurt him. And he seems so sad. But still wanting cuddles and purrs. He’s a trooper.
So last night I had the talk with Arrine about Alby and how sick he is. I alluded to it before, but never had an official sit down talk with her. I never came out and told her that we may need to CHOOSE to put him down. I just told her how he is so sick and I am not sure if the doctors can make him better, so we need to prepare for him to die. And then I made reference to Grandma Anne-Marie, so she could understand better what I was trying to say. She was sad and gave him pets and then when I started crying, she once again placed her hand on my cheek and said, “It’s ok, Mommy. Don’t cry. Don’t be sad.” And I said, “But I am sad about Alby. Because I will really miss him.” And in her sweet 4 year old mind she said, “But we have another cat… Minos!” And I giggled at her and gave her a big hug and kiss.
So off I will go today, taking skinny Alby to the vet. And need to ask questions and make some decisions based upon those answers. I don’t want to choose to put him down just to do it. The vet said last time that he isn’t in pain, but how do you make a decision about a cat’s quality of life? And how do I not know if we wait two more weeks with the steroids that he will improve? All these questions with no obvious or easy answer.
These last few nights when I have come home, I have found Alby tucked into the pile of stuffies on Arrine’s bed. It’s like he is a little toy kitten, just enjoying his time, surrounded by his friends.
I feel guilty over not having more time to spend with him. I feel guilty for the times I got annoyed with his meowing and scolded him. I feel guilty for all the times I was mad at him for puking on the carpet and needing to clean it up. I feel guilty for all these feelings I have surrounding him. I feel guilty for so nonchalantly, thinking about putting him down.
I love this flipping cat…