I told him he could leave. I told him it was ok to go and I asked him to do what would end his pain, even if it meant more pain for me.
And so Aníbal left. Without help. And left me wondering why did this happen to him and what did I do wrong. Why couldn’t I save him or take his pain away. Why couldn’t I feel his pain instead of him so that his last hours were not filled with agony.
We were going to the veterinary to get some help for his pain. He was struggling to breathe and to move and he did so much for me during his 8 years on this planet that I knew he didn’t deserve to suffer. But he died before we got there. When I found out he wasn’t breathing I could only cry and yell and demand an answer from the heavens. An answer from the god I don’t believe in. An answer from any god I don’t believe in. We decided to take him to the country house where he would be buried next to my sister’s dog and so we (my dad, my mum and I) started the painful journey. I kept him in my arms the whole time. I held him close to me. Carefully. With love. Protecting him as if he were still alive. Making sure the bumps on the road wouldn’t bother him. Nothing could bother him anymore, I know, but I decided I was going to keep taking care of his little body even now that it was getting colder and stiffer. I cried the whole time and kept talking to him. Kissed him. Held his paw.
When we got to the country house my dad helped me get out of the car. I walked down and went to my bedroom carrying my little cat with me. My mum gave me a blanket so I put him on the bed and wrapped him. I kept holding him and decided I would keep him close to me until there was no other choice. I sat outside in the corridor waiting for the hole to be dug. Every second was a second closer to goodbye. So I kept holding him and crying and talking. I kept him close to me. His final resting place was ready and I wasn’t ready to let go, but I would never be ready for that, so I walked to his little grave and stood there. My dad offered help to lay him down, but I refused it. It had to be me. I had to be the one who did that. Mine had to be the last hands that touched him. And so they were. I laid him in his grave and covered him completely. And that was goodbye.
Now who’s going to greet me when I get home from work? Who’s going to meow and demand to be loved? Who’s going to purr me to sleep every night? Who will grab my hands with his paws and make me rub his chin? Who’s going to lay on his back and demand to have his belly rubbed?
My cat is gone and this pain is something I had never felt before. I’m bleeding inside, I’m broken, I’m empty and I don’t think this void will ever be filled. He left me alone with the good memories of all we shared together and the times he saved me. We saved each other. Who’s going to save me now? I really hope he’s watching over me.
May I go now?
Do you think the time is right?
May I say good-bye to pain-filled days
and endless lonely nights?
I’ve lived my life and done my best,
an example tried to be.
So can I take that step beyond
and set my spirit free?
I didn’t want to go at first,
I fought with all my might.
But something seems to draw me now
to a warm and loving light.
I want to go. I really do.
It’s difficult to stay.
But I will try as best I can
to live just one more day.
To give you time to care for me
and share your love and fears.
I know you’re sad and afraid,
because I see your tears.
I’ll not be far, I promise that,
and hope you’ll always know
that my spirit will be close to you
wherever you may go.
Thank you so for loving me.
You know I love you, too.
That’s why it’s hard to say good-bye
and end this life with you.
So hold me now just one more time
and let me hear you say,
because you care so much for me,
you’ll let me go today.
Thank you, Gareth, for this poem.