There are so many great people here, and you are all so generous with your time and your concern, that I felt compelled to pen a message about a recent loss, if only to get it off of my chest.
On Wednesday, September 13, we had to put one of our dear cats to sleep. He was diagnosed with colon cancer in October of 2003 (three years!). The vets were confident, as he had an isolated tumor, and we held strong for the surgery and ensuing chemo treatments. That process was incredibly hard (and expensive) in itself, but this was no ordinary cat. He was the most gentle and human-friendly cat that I've ever known, and I had the pleasure of having lived with him for 7 years. He was so worth it. He held hands, he held conversations, and he was always, always around and happy to see you.
My now-fiance had already been his mom for 12 years before the cancer. The surgery was a success, the chemo taken to the max treatments, and we carried on with nursing him back into normal catness. For the first few months, I, a freelancer working at home, took care of him as well as possible on my own. My fiance eventually began working at home as well. For the last 3 years, through thick and thin, we've both lived and worked in the same place, while taking care of him.
He never fully recovered, but was the happiest cat ever, and had tremendous periods of relative health and total happiness. Two people constantly feeding him, two people who said his name excitedly every time he entered the room, two warm laps to sleep in whenever he liked. This did not come without a price; we were unable to leave him alone for longer than a few days for fear of his continuing to lose weight. So for three years, we rarely went out for anything more than dinner, never went "away" together, and always worried about him. But we loved him enough to sacrifice for him (though admittedly, I had a little more trouble with it than she did).
More recently, his condition deteriorated, and the increasing medications and subcutaneous fluid treatments, pursued based to the hope and conviction that he could be ok, were obviously not working. In the midst of (and in spite of) all of this stress, I proposed and we started down the path of planning our somewhat complex wedding, which is coming up in exactly one month...
This week, after a particularly bad health issue, we made the most difficult decision we've made together so far (far more difficult than moving cross-country together after having been together for only a short while...) and called a vet.
My fiance loved him like a son, and could not bear to see him go. I bore the task of being with him in his final moments. We were fortunate to be able to do it in the back yard, in the sunshine (his favorite place in the world), and to be able to spend hours with him out there while waiting for the vet. It was fast (too fast), peaceful, and necessary. My last words to him, after the obvious, were "thank you."
It has taken days for me to feel any inkling of the relief that I thought that I would feel after this terrible period ended. The pain of his loss has far outweighed any peace that's in there. We are devastated. Our wedding is in a month. Yet we are thankful to have known him, and are trying to see the light at the end of this very long tunnel, and have the strongest proof possible that we can bear any suffering, turmoil or stress that life can throw at us.
Rest in peace, Sundae, and thanks again for teaching us so many things. The image attached is Sundae in 2002, happy and smiling.
And thanks to you, if you have read this. I just had to get it off of my chest.