Thursday, July 09, 2009

Terry: October 14, 1990-July 9, 2009

Terry, 4 months, 1991

Death, you are not my friend.
In fact, I hate you.
I want you to take your greedy little hands and go away from here.
You take...you change things...you leave a hollow void behind.
You are not "a blessing", you are not okay because "he lived a good, long life".

Inside, I am throwing a tantrum. I am slamming my fists, I am screaming, "It's not fair!".
Another part of me is just overwhelmed by sadness and loss.
I am enveloped by the pain. My stomach is in knots, I feel nauseous.
My tears have etched ridges on the side of my eyes.

Yet another part of me reminds myself to be grateful for all the moments I did have, and for this special closeness I was granted.
This very very special angel that came into my life, and stayed three months short of 19 years.

And hopefully, eventually, this numbness will soften into a peace.
All I know is my love for Terry is so huge as to cover the earth.
If only I had special powers, if only I could perform miracles, I would have kept him here by my side forever.
I can only pray that Heaven exists, and that God lets animals in the gates.
Knowing I will see him again gives me hope.

me and Terry

Some people don't like animals, and don't have pets.
Others say they like animals, but treat their pets as backyard ornaments.
Some people love their pets, but on the same level that one loves a favorite piece of furniture--it's great, but if something happens to it, well, life goes on.
For me, it's an entirely different experience.
Being a pet sitter, obviously bringing joy to animals is my primary focus.
I love the pets I watch.
Nothing makes me happier than seeing a dog smile.

But my heart always beat the strongest for Terry.

A boyfriend gave me Terry in 1991, for Valentine's Day.
I had a fluffy gray male cat at the time, and had asked for a companion to match. Literally.
I asked for a long-haired, gray, female kitten.
It was pretty funny that what I received was just the opposite--a short-haired, black, male that was four months old.

But the truth was that he was the best cat on the planet. I have had cats my whole life, and I love cats, I know cats, but Terry was extraordinary.
Sweet sweet sweet.
Would climb on my shoulder and purr.
Would sleep under the covers with me and snuggle.
A little spirit companion.

For some of us, our pets are our friends, companions, rock, support...and family.
I called him my "super special angel kitty".
He was my "bear bear" for almost 19 years.
I am so so thankful for having had him in my life--and that is what I am trying to hold on to....the positives, the gratefulness.
Because to wish him to go on forever is thinking of my own selfishness.
But it is just so damn hard.
I verge one moment on falling apart, so the next I am in zombie mode to protect myself.
So many people don't understand. He was "only" a cat, they think.
But how sad for them that they haven't experienced a connection with an animal, because that connection is a truly magical thing.

Terry definitely lived all his nine lives--two or three times he just missed death's grasp after urinary tract problems, hyper thyroid, raspy breathing, and high blood pressure.
There were multiple trips to emergency over the years.
Trips to the vet on holidays.
Over a year ago a vet told me he didn't expect him to live more than a few months. I am so glad that vet was wrong.

When I would be gone for extended times house-sitting, he would deteriorate a bit. He always revived when I came home.
Imagine my guilt when I was caring for someone else's cat last week, in someone else's home, when my own was dying.
It's so hard to juggle life and bills and still give adequate attention to family, friends, and our pets.
I try so so hard, but always question if I've done enough.

I found a new vet who is more loving and understanding.
She said listen to him, and he'll tell you when it's time to go.
She said he hung on this long because he wanted to stay with me.
God that makes me cry every time.

Right now I am just holding on by a thread.
Prayer gives me a life vest.

previous posts about Terry here, here, here, and here.

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13 Comments:

Blogger Jennifer said...

So very sorry, Barb. I had a special cat like Terry of my own who got me through a very difficult time in my life. She ended up dying a few months after I met Brent. It's like she waited until I found somebody to take her place before she left. My added guilt is that she was sick during my first week of classes one quarter in grad school, and I didn't take the time to take her to the vet sooner. I still beat myself up about it, and have a hard time bonding with animals. Hence my nonchalant attitude about our current cats...

It's amazing how these little creatures become such an important part of our lives. Usually the animal itself thinks he or she is your equal, so damn anybody who says it's silly to treat pets like people. I know you have so many beautiful ideas for pet memorials that when you are ready you will find a way to allow Terry's spirit to live with you forever. {{hugs}}

11:15 PM  
Blogger Claudia said...

Oh Barb, so, so sorry.
My thoughts are with you.
With a pet it's like with a human friend or family member; the longer he or she stays, the dearer to your heart and usually, we get the (sadly wrong) impression the person or pet will be there forever...
They will live forever in our hearts and as long as we don't forget them, they'll still be here, with us.
Take care,
Claudia

1:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Wolf Nanny. I haven't written you for a while, and just thought I'd check into your site to see what you were doing. I'm so sorry to hear about your Terry. Years ago, I had a cat that I dearly loved, "Booby." He got sick and the vet showed me his x-ray.... He was so full of buckshot that the vet couldn't believe it, and he'd developed an illness. I couldn't let him go, so I kept treating him with medicines... against the vet's advice. Well, I woke one night to terrible gasping and watched Booby die an agonizing death by me on the bed -- unable to do a thing to help him. I learned a terrible lesson -- to let go for THEIR sake when it's time. As your new vet says, "When it's time...." But I know how you're feeling-such a loss in your life!! So sorry!! But what a tribute to you that he held on to be with you--that you gave him such a happy life! After all, it could have been you going first and think of how lost he would have been!
And for your commentor, Jennifer -- don't beat yourself up for not taking your cat sooner. We're only human and we do the best we can!! I know you gave her many happy years of love! We just can't do all things all of the time!As hard as we try.... Love to all the animal lovers and caretakers!
Phyllis

8:48 AM  
Blogger Jennifer/OH said...

Barb, I understand your suffering, although everyone feels it in a different way...I won't be so vain as to say I know exactly how you feel. I lost my beloved Alix after nearly 17 years together. She died while I had to be away at a gymnastics competition. It was torture. Luckily, my husband was here with her.
Your post is so beautiful; your words so eloquent. What loving and heartfelt tribute to Terry.

7:07 AM  
OpenID aimeewrites said...

Oh Barb, I'm so sorry. My thoughts on heaven are probably a little different than yours, but I KNOW we're going to see our beloveds again. My thoughts are with you. HUGS.

8:18 AM  
Blogger Jules said...

I was watching a show on Disney's Grapefruit Cake, looked for the recipe, found your's, was checking out your blog and read about Terry. I cried. I've felt that gut wrenching hollow feeling 3 yrs ago too. It doesn't go away. But the wonderful memories outweigh that pain. My Husband was relentless on another dog, but I refused to go through that pain again. My husband won. I know that day will come again. I think about it often. Barb, you will see Terry again, as I will see my Ren again.
My thoughts are with you Terry. Your a wonderful person to care for animals like you do.
Julie

7:06 PM  
Blogger Gina E. said...

Oh Barb, I'm so sad for you. Our first cat lived for 20 years and even though we knew when his time was up, we begged the vet to give him so more time with us. But our vet was wise and asked us to look closely at our beloved Patra, and ask ourselves if we really wanted him to keep living when he was so sick. So we agreed to have him put out of his misery, but it was gut wrenching. We still have photos of him around the house, and my blogs are named after him.

9:36 AM  
Blogger Melanie said...

Huge huge hugs Barb. I strongly believe that pets go to heaven too. They are part of creation and become family. For some people they are more family than humans. God wouldn't not let them in too to give us more joy and friendship.

Hang in there hun, it will get easier to deal with.

7:41 AM  
Blogger Carrie said...

Big hugs. What a lovely memorial.

7:56 AM  
Blogger SkitzoLeezra said...

Grief is the price we pay for love.

2:03 PM  
Anonymous Janet J. said...

Barb,
I'm so sorry for the loss of your beautiful Terry. I recently lost my "best dog ever"-pal-angel-on-earth, Monty. It was cancer found in Feb and he was gone by April. This on the heels of my fathers passing was almost too much. I totally get you wanting to take a break. Take all the time you need. We'll be here when you feel up to posting again.
Janet J.

3:18 PM  
Blogger kt said...

Barb, so sorry. Sending hugs and well-wishes.

11:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Our animals love us unconditionally and that is more than most people can give us. It makes them special in our lives. I am sorry ,I know it hurts.

8:47 AM  

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