I didn't want to leave without saying good bye.
So, granted my last wish, I am here to tell my story.
This morning, bright and early, the alarm went off. Usually I am the alarm, so I was a bit surprised. Is today to be moving day? I hope not. I have spent my life living in my wonderful forest, then the fire came along and my life as I knew it was gone.
Then, coming here to live with Keli and Elizabeth wasn't so bad. Though I missed my forest, at least there are those two pines out front I could lay beside and enjoy the fragrance of old times and dream old dreams.
I know I haven't been doing well lately. I forget things, A LOT! I come in and go out, and come in and go out, and I can't remember. Did I just come in? It seems like I haven't been out all day, so I ask to go out.
It's sort of the same with food. Though Elizabeth leaves a feeder out where any of us can have a meal to our heart's content, sometimes I forget where it is located, and it has been worse lately to the point of frustration. Elizabeth literally has had to pick me up from the door and remind me to eat. Or sometimes I have just eaten and I go back to eat. I forgot that I already ate. That really causes a problem because then I up-chuck on the furniture, the bed, the carpet, whereever I am located. I really feel confused when that happens.
The kids call me old man. I'm now 18. I've had a good life. Did I tell you before? I can't recall. Sometime I'll tell you about the good old days.
Well anyways, Elizabeth was gathering everyone up and placing them inside there travel cages. I was outside and she was looking for me. Those plumbers had arrived and were planning to start up the jackhammer. I've heard a lot of big noises before but I wasn't wanting to hear that. So, I quickly slipped to the back door, did a polite meow and waited. I could tell Elizabeth was relieved.
The kids were disgruntled with me for holding them up. I just did a hiss and that shut them up. I get tired of hearing them complain. If they would only calm down, they would be more relaxed, like me. They gotta take life in their stride. Take what comes and wait it out. Be with the moment, then see what the next moment brings, and so on. Sometimes one moment will be the same as the next. Sometimes there are subtle variations.
So, we all got settled into the car, our cages all lined up in a nice order. My cage is bigger than the rest, of course, because even though I am thin as Abe Lincoln, I am also very long as he. So, I need some stretching space. It's not that it wasn't big enough. I just started to crack around the edges. All these weeks, these months since Keli died, I have wanted to go, too. These young whipper snappers have their lives ahead of them. Mine is finished, and unlike Keli I have had some major medical issues for quite some time now. Maybe that is what set me on edge. Did my blood sugar go haywire? My thyroid give out?
All I know is that I began to feel intense anxiety. I couldn't bear to be in that cage for one more second. But we were already on our way to Santa Cruz. Elizabeth didn't have a chance to stop and kept talking to me soothingly. But, it did no good. I felt like every nerve was on end, every sound was like the jackhammers we had left behind. It all echoed and reverberated like a chinese gong right inside my head. My eyes burned like fire. Like the Trabing fire last June. The fire that destroyed my home and separated me from the family I had lived with so long, separated me from my trees and my forest friends. The fire that scorched my fur and filled my lungs with heat and smoke.
It all came back to me in that moment. I panicked, I couldn't breathe again, I felt the heat again, I felt the terror of my animal friends, the horses screaming, the dogs down in the next gully howling like banshees. And suddenly I was a banshee. It seemed. I couldn't stop screaming, howling and I just lost my cool completely. Everything was so intense. It was like I was living my whole life all over again in fast motion. All at once the good things and the bad, but mostly those last years of not being able to play anymore with my buddies, of not having my front fang to chew anymore, of having a body that has been failing me. It all was crushing down on me. I had to get out of that cage.
I didn't know where I might go, even if I did get out of the cage, but it didn't matter. I unsheathed my claws to the fullest extent and began furiously to rake them across the metal door of the cage. It hurt to pull on them like that. I know that I must have scared the kids, but I was beyond caring. I felt like I was going to explode, and that is just exactly what happened. Like fireworks inside my head, I exploded and like fireworks I fell down empty. I fell down and the light was expended. I hovered above my body and watched as Elizabeth had finally found a safe place to pull over. All her soothing words were not heard. They fell upon deaf ears. Her pets did not soothe. I had no sensations of feeling left. I was just a little tiny spark floating there.
At least the turmoil had stopped. I could just be there floating, I could see my breathing as I laid down beside myself and curled up. I vaguely heard Elizabeth calling the vet, arranging to go there to see what was wrong with me. I wish she wouldn't do that. I didn't want any last ditch efforts, made. I just wanted to remain in this peaceful state, maybe a little longer.
She turned the car around and before I knew it we had arrived at the vet's office. At least it was the one I like, Dr. Neow. I could tell that he knew I was unconscious. I could tell that he knew there was no number ten to come along. Nine was all I had and it was finished. I was terrifically grateful when he explained somewhere far off in the distance that it would be fruitless to prolong my agony. I know Elizabeth petted me over and over again. I know she whispered in my ear those loving things, our own special language, she speaks those words for only me. Like a lullaby, like a poem, like soft purrs from the depths of my momcat's chest. There she was waiting for me. Momcat. "Son, It's been a long time. I've been waiting for you. Please come home now. But, I clung on filled with angst and floating both at once. Then the vet explained the fees involved in putting me to sleep. "Taking him out of his misery", he said. How understated was that? Elizabeth then fell apart and cried. And the vet told her to take me to the shelter as they could charge considerably less.
By this time, I didn't care. No more anxiety, no more digging at the door of the cage, no more yowling. Just that sense of momcat and me nudging each other peacefully. Her asking, "Are you ready son?" I don't know that I wasn't ready. I don't know what I needed to do to be ready. I just laid their on the floor of the cage and wet my blanket. How embarrassing. I have been doing that a lot lately, forgetting to go to the door when the pressure builds up. Too many accidents. And the biting, yes, I'd been biting at all the well intentioned folks who cared about me, taking it out on them. I felt ashamed but at least I never drew blood, and was forgiven each time.
Bambi, Ninja, and Spyder were very quiet. Of course they knew something was wrong. They were nervous and uneasy, but did nothing to bother me. They couldn't have anyway. I was already too far away from them in spirit. I wished I could have given a little mew to Spyder to reassure him. A polite meow to Bambi to encourage her t go on without me, and continue doing the great job raising Spyder into a respectable adult kitty. I wish I could have told Ninja to keep his eye out, to be there for the other two, especially in hard times. Actually There was no need for me to say anything at all.
The vet at the shelter was very gentle and kind. Elizabeth didn't come in with me, which was a good idea. She had a horrible time getting Keli home after she was euthanized, I couldn't imagine how it might be for her to drive all three of them home, with me gone. My Momcat licked my forehead just like when I was little and I felt comforted, and this time more than ready to leave. The vet came to me with her injection. The last time I would smell something. The last time I would taste, or hear.
Suddenly I was free. I could raise up higher and left my body effortlessly.
All is beautiful.
Good bye everyone