Sophie was given her release this afternoon.
On her last vet visit, in November, her weight was down to a bit over seven pounds; today she barely made it to five. Within her skin-and-bone frame Dr. Anderson palpated what felt like a mass in her abdomen. It wasn’t painful, but it confirmed the decision I've been coming to over the last couple of weeks.
And so my little old lady -- who always enjoyed visits to the vet (once out of the annoying carrier) because it meant attention! from people! and she loved attention! from people! – purring throughout, received a sedative, drifted into a doze, and lay quiet and light in my hands as the last injection slipped into her.
She was a good cat. Her life was long and happy. She went peacefully, with dignity, painfree, purring and unafraid.
It hurts like hell.
In the aftermath of immediate grief for Sophie, as the first fierce wave of weeping ebbs, the words below of Emily Dickinson have crept into my mind, crept in and stayed with me, exquisite distillation of what I’m feeling now. “It’s only a cat,” one might say; “surely a loss too small for such powerful poetry?” But grief has its own logic; each new loss dredges up echoes of old losses, past pain reverberating in the present grief.
After great pain, a formal feeling comes –
The Nerves sit ceremonious, like Tombs –
This is the Hour of Lead –
Remembered, if outlived,
As Freezing persons, recollect the Snow –
First – Chill – then Stupor – then the letting go –