Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Farewell Feather (aka Feather Sweet, Baby Cake, Munchkin, Bobbin)

Last Wednesday afternoon, on my flight home to Oregon, my thoughts were of our sweet cat, Feather, and of the unknown number of hours remaining for us to be together. I knew they would be limited because of phone reports from my husband about her weakening condition while I was at the family reunion in Minnesota.

One cannot live with a white cat and not be reminded of that pet when looking at clouds, and, so, as the plane coasted along over the states I saw puffs of her in every floating form. I felt gratitude to be in that floating space that I envisioned Feather attaching to, and disappearing from, very soon.

I was glad my window seat was on the side of the plane where this view of Mount Hood could give me peace and strength.

Although it was not quite 6:00 p.m., the cloud cover over Portland made the night seem so near.

My shuttle ride into Salem did not leave the Portland airport until 6:45 p.m., which gave me plenty of time to gather my bag and get a double-shot latte at Starbucks. Michael met me at the shuttle drop at 8:00 p.m. and we had a fast dinner in the restaurant on site before heading home to Silverton.

Feather was not on any bed or couch or chair where she could be comfortable. Instead, she hunched under a table in the upstairs bedroom, where I laid on the floor to greet her. Crying, I thanked her for waiting for me because it was evident that she could have just as easily let go. When Michael went to bed she stayed there with him for awhile, but before long he called to me to let me know that she had cried out. I placed her in the cat box where she dutifully left a spot of urine and two tiny turds that broke my heart.

Our pattern for so many years has been my being at the computer late into the night, with Feather on my lap or, more recently, laying on the rug beside my computer chair. Wednesday night, however, I felt hyper and so did not sit, but instead unpacked and cleaned up the kitchen in between checking where and how Feather was. I was at the sink when she made her way down three stairs on the stairway just to watch me. And to tell me with her eyes that she wanted to give up but did not know what she was giving up or how to do it. At 1:00 a.m. I woke up Michael, rather beside myself in an uncharacteristic inability to decide what to do, and when he mentioned the overnight Salem Emergency Vet Clinic, whose marvelous services we have used in the past, everything fell into place. While he dressed I called the clinic to advise them that we were driving in with Feather for her to be euthanized. Feather's adoring cat companion who died in 2007 was put to sleep while cozy in a favorite wool afghan, and it was in that same afghan that we nestled Feather to ride in my lap in the dark of night. I selected a yoga music cd to play because she knew it well from all the days she was at my side during yoga practice, and she seemed soothed by it while possibly slipping in and out of consciousness. When we were only blocks from the clinic she let out two kittenish mews, which confirmed her need for release.

Michael rang the night buzzer and they let him inside, where he filled out the paperwork and paid for the euthanasia and for a private cremation (her ashes will be ready for him to pick up after work today and we will have something tangible to treasure). I cradled Feather in my arms in the car until all was ready for her. The vet and her assistant were both so kind. The clinic was hushed in the silence of night, as four loving people and one beloved and loving cat shared in that most solemn and precious of moments. And then she was gone.



Anonymous said...

Beautifully written piece Lydia

mythopolis said...

I sat here for several minutes wondering what to say, still sorta lost for words. I have this life event approaching in my own life (my dog). I am glad you were there when those last moments approached.

Fireblossom said...

Oh Lydia. I'm so sorry.

Don't Feed The Pixies said...

ok - so firstly i am so sorry for your loss of Feather - cats are as much a part of the family as any child

Secondly - a beautifully written piece and beautiful mountain shots - please please say you'll let me have a go at trying a painting from one? Can't guarantee it'll be any good mind :)

Roxana said...

a silent hug, holding you tight.

Roxana said...

i am just staring at the clouds, without thoughts... a strange peace...

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing this with us. Losing a companion is awful.

Rob-bear said...

A difficult story told so beautifully, Lydia. I'm sad that you had to go through this.
Blessings and Bear hugs in a challenging time.

Lydia said...

jane~ Thanks much for being here.

mythopolis~ What I hope for you and your dog is more time than you expect, a gentler ease into each new phase than you hope for, and a deepening of the bond you think cannot be deeper so that when the final phase is there you will be love for one another to see you through the final phase.

Fireblossom~ I know you are, and it helps.

Pixies~ Thank you for your dear comments. I am absolutely honored that you would like to paint Mount Hood as seen in these shots or in your own imagination. That is wonderful.

Roxana~ Hug needed and accepted, most definitely. "A strange peace" describes how the clouds affected me during the flight; thank you.

Amber Lee~ Thank you for caring. Sharing it with you does help to work through the loss.

Rob-bear~ Blessings and Bear hugs gladly accepted. Thank you.
I looked for, but did not see, any bears in Minnesota - but I know they were there.

English Rider said...

They never truly leave us. Their paw prints remain on our hearts.

Rob-bear said...

Believe it or not, Lydia, we Bears are generally pretty shy, and would rather not be bothered by Humans.
I think I'm the only Bear who has a blog. That level of contact with Humans is considered "living dangerously" by some other Bears.

pohanginapete said...

I'm so sorry, Lydia, even though these times are inevitable. But I'm glad you had the opportunity to say goodbye. Feather was a lucky cat.

Words never seem sufficient.

Cat Chat With Caren And Cody said...

My heart is just ripped apart for you. This was the most beautiful piece. My heart is just breaking, I am crying with you.

This brought back memories of when my Bobo passed...I understand as so many of us do. Feather had to have loved you so much to hang on until you came home. I am so deeply, deeply sorry (((((hugs))))))
BTW the name "Feather" is simply exquisite for a cat, what a gorgeous, gorgeous cat she was

Nancy said...

This was a beautifully written tribute to your dear cat. We had a white cat, by the name of KiKi, that was loved as your little white cat was loved. It is so hard to let them go. Take good care of yourselves over the next few days.

Lydia said...

English Rider~ I love your comment about their paw prints on our hearts. Thank you.

Rob-bear~ This statement was so charming that it enchanted me:
"I think I'm the only Bear who has a blog."

pohanginapete~ Your words mean so much always.

Caren and Cody~ Thank you for your heartfelt expressions here. I find comfort in knowing that you are crying with me, and also in the thought that Bobo and Feather may meet now.
When we adopted at the shelter Feather she was just out of foster care and was a special needs kitten with a lifelong condition (her head shook,--hence one of her nicknames "Bobbin"--especially when excited, due to a condition passed on by the mother who had distemper) and so tiny. My husband thought of the name Feather for her right away and it was purrfect for her always. She never topped 7 lbs. and in the end weighed less than 4 lbs. Her little floral-design tin of ashes is, needless to say, feather-weight.

Nancy~ Thank you so much for being here and sharing about your white cat. I am sure that you were finding bits of KiKi's white fur around the house later on, as I am discovering Feather's fur, which makes her seem close by. It is comforting for now.

Rhiannon said...

Oh Lydia, I was waiting for you to come home and to find out how Feather was doing and "Hanging on" just seemed to be waiting for "mom". I cried and tears came to me as I read your post. I don't cry easy these days..I usually just try to suck it up..and all keep telling me I need to cry a lot and "let things out" a "release"...and so I hope you are doing the same.

My heart just goes out to you and your husband. It's strange isn't it that we as humans, know "death" understand what's happening...but our pets must be so confused not quite understanding what the "pain" and such is all about. I was thinking after reading your post, that maybe that is best for animals..they don't carry the stress or worry of death..so they are there "in the moment with you" and don't even realize they fall permanently "asleep"..I hope I didn't hurt you or make you more sad by anything I said here. I feel so much for your sorrow my friend. Our cats are our "little family" and we love them as they loved us "Unconditionally"..

My Lizzie is tiring a lot and I give her lots of attention. She and I have been through a lot together. I think she is just slowing down and I love her so much..she is the family I never had...Her yellow eyes look up at me with so much love and trust.

So, remember that dear Feather waited for her "mom" and the love was all unconditional and you all were so brave to be there for her. Most people won't do that. I've been "there" quite a few times when others just couldn't handle it..I knew it was too hard for them
and I respect and admire you both for that.

Bless you all...the vets that were there and you and your husband..and most of all "Blessed Feather" up in those beautiful white beautiful clouds. He spirit is free now floating up there looking down on you all and watching over you...just like an Angel.

Love you, and take good care of yourself..grieve some, it is natural and must be so. Again I hope I haven't "said" too much or upset you.


Lydia said...

Rhi~ Your words could not upset me, dear friend, and to the contrary they seemed like the sweetest soothing blessing right now. I have had insomnia tonight, quite restless, but now after reading your comment I think perhaps I can settle down...maybe dream of little Feather. Thank you so much. Love you too.

Everyone~ My husband has been reading your comments on this post, as they are helping him in his grief also. Thanks so much.

susan said...

Oh, I'm so sorry to read this but I'm very touched at how beautifully and tenderly written it was. You have my deep condolences.

I was lovely seeing pictures I never took of the landing run into Portland through the mountains. It's a magical flight.

Lydia said...

susan~ Thank you for your expression of sympathy. They helped on Thursday which was just one of those difficult days.
It is a magical flight, as the plane or as the crow flies!



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