Thursday, July 14, 2016

Grief and Love

Grief is the price we pay for love.
Grief is the price we pay for love.
Grief is the price we pay for love.

I read a friend's Facebook post over and over again trying to find some peace and comfort.  Yoda is gone. He's gone. My Yoda is gone.

Yoda was my first baby. He showed up at my apartment in Davis in November, 1999 - my first year of law school. I'd finally lived in a place where I could have a cat, and with Ryan being gone most of the time, I figured a cat was a perfect companion. So there was Yoda... my new buddy, my new companion. Boy, were we in for a ride.

There are so many memories that involve my cat. The morning of 9/11, Yoda sat in front of the big screen TV in my living room and watched the smoke billow away from the Twin Towers. Yoda never watched TV, but he did that morning.

There were so many road trips back and forth between Los Angeles and Davis. Road trips were always an adventure. We finally realized we'd need to sedate Yoda for the long trips. He did NOT travel which. Which is funny, because he got lost at LAX once. Yep - they just couldn't find him for a while. Even at home, he always seemed to get lost or he'd sneak outside. Someone was always looking for Yoda.

Then there was that time Yoda got thrown out with the Christmas tree. My mom found him in the plastic bag with the tree waiting to get picked up by the trash collectors. And there was that time we had to amputate his tail because cats are cats and his tail had to touch everything. It got stuck in a television cabinet and he ripped the end of his tale right off. That was probably like life Number 5. 

But yeah... so many good memories. And Yoda was just always there. My wedding, law school, studying for the bar exam and passing, moving to Buffalo, moving all over Buffalo, adding two kids and another cat in Buffalo, moving home, adding another cat, settling in. Yoda was always there. He'd make sure you knew it too with his signature yelp. He never hesitated to rub that beautiful orange hair of his on your black pants to let you know he was there. Always there.

A couple of months ago we noticed Yoda was losing weight but seemed to still have a healthy appetite. He'd been diagnosed with hyperthyroidism and it explained a lot of his problems. We always knew that he'd be the first of our pets to cross over the rainbow bridge. Duke through us a curve ball - we weren't expecting that. So when I went to feed Yoda last week and this usually voracious cat sniffed his food then walked away, my heart sunk into my stomach.. After 3 days of not eating we took him to the vet for some tests. We got the results back and it was all bad news. Yoda's kidneys and liver were failing. Yoda was really struggling, but I asked the doctor if it was possible he could get better. When he answered "no," I knew it was time to schedule my cat's death. Heartbreaking. We made the appointment for the following Monday so we could have some good time with him over the weekend.

Well, by Saturday afternoon, Yoda had mad it clear that it was time. He winced when I tried to pet him. He was unstable... he'd fall over or wobble when he walked. There was this smell - an awful smell that just didn't smell right. He'd mostly sleep during the days but all of a sudden, he was up and constantly meowing. He wouldn't stop. I thought... maybe he's just hungry - he hadn't eaten in about 4 days. So I run to the store to get something he liked. I set it down in front of him and there were a few licks, but I immediately broke down and Ryan searched for an emergency vet. 

Yoda gave me signs that it was time, and that helped. Yoda wasn't a good car rider - he had a pretty horrible meow that would sting our ears all the way to our destination. Well, Yoda meowed once as we pulled down the driveway. He only meowed 3 or 4 times during the 20 minute ride to the vet.

Just like with Duke, it was all done so quickly. After he was gone, I noticed those tired eyes of Yoda's had opened up, bright like the used to be.

Almost 17 years. I cry just thinking about it. I was so blessed to have him for so long. So yes, there is so much grief because there was so much love.

RIP Yoda. Be nice to Duke little buddy.

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