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26 August 2009 @ 12:57 pm
after sixteen years, she's gone  
Yesterday, a bright summer day I will never forget, I put James to sleep at 5:39 PM, at the office of a kind veterinarian a few blocks from my condo.

I am feeling grief now even worse than what I felt right after Mom died three years ago, perhaps because James was still a central part of my life every day.

Now I know at least a little of what it felt like for my Dad in 2006.

I took this picture of James yesterday morning, before I took her on a horrible car trip to be prodded and tested by a vet in Kettering:

Then the test results arrived a few hours later. They made it clear her kidneys were failing very rapidly, and very soon she would begin suffering pain.

So I made the decision to end her life peacefully before then.

As weak and thin as she was, she still hugged me and purred in the morning as she has always done, to tell me it was time to get up.

And, after we returned from the tests, when I apologized for the trauma, she looked at me and said she understood.

Then when I prepared for the end a few hours later, she knew somehow it was over, so she lay down on the balcony in her favorite quiet place:

Then, she looked in my eyes as I wrapped her for the very short trip to be put to sleep, both of us knowing we would never look at each other this way again.

I stroked her fur as she faded away forever on the cool table.

Tomorrow I will have her ashes back, with a tiny plate with her name and the years she was with me.

Today, I feel more lonely than I have ever known, like a huge part of me is gone.

I know this is because I've tried to simplify my life so much.

This left me with just a few things of value, and my only pet was the most important one.

I told myself when Mom died that somehow I would find the will to go on living, and somehow I did.

As I stumble through this anguish now, I will keep reminding myself of that.