And he’s gone.
We lost Ringo. Last night, after the kids were in bed, something told me to go to him. I took him out of the cage and brought him into the living room. I sat on the couch and put him on my chest, skin to fur. As he lay there, I rubbed his back. He started to cry. I knew. I told him that it was okay to go. That he fought hard, but it was okay to go. And a minute later, he was gone.
It’s interesting to see how each child processes death. I’ve been fielding the questions all morning from Mae, “Where’s Ringo?” “Did he die under the couch? Is he here? There?”
Luca is more matter of fact. “Ringo died. He’s dead.”
Claire spent the majority of the morning on the deck looking out at where we buried him. Lost in her thoughts, not saying much.
The good thing about losing a kitten late at night, is, that I got all the cries out so I could be strong for the kids. That of course all went out the window when I took a good long look at George this morning and saw the same telling signs that Ringo had.
I told the kids to put on their shoes and I packed up the litter and mama.
Before we left, we stood at the grave site, with soft sniffles coming from Claire. She had her backpack on with her special notebook where she draws things. She drew a picture of Ringo and on the other side, Taylor, a sick dog we walked on Wednesday from the shelter.
I called my friend Mary, who is the community outreach coordinator for the ARL, and asked if she could meet us. Claire asked for her to be there with her. It was helpful, because I, again, was crying and was probably not a good support.
Claire held George on her lap the whole ride there, crying and talking to him. Truth be told, I was surprised he was still breathing when we got there; He declined that fast. Mary quickly got everyone to help and George was whisked away and put out of his suffering. She said it was quick. The vet tech looked at the remaining three and decided to change their antibiotics. Give them more of a fighting chance.
Before we left, Mary got George, who was wrapped in a towel, and Claire insisted on holding the whole ride home.
And she cried, again.
I’ve been a lover of animals my whole life. I’ve lost many, too. It never gets easier. Ever. What breaks my heart the most is seeing how it’s affecting Claire. While I was in the room with the kittens having them looked at, Claire sat on the bench drawing a picture for Taylor the shelter dog. I had told her that sometimes when I’m sad, I write out my feelings. Or draw. I think it helped her cope a little better.
So here I am, again. In this place of loss and sadness. I’m proud of myself for seeing the signs in George and I feel like I did right by him, letting him go. Mostly, I’m glad I was there for Ringo as he took his last breaths. After he died, Matt brought him to his mama, where she rubbed against him and said her goodbyes. You can tell she’s so sad. I don’t blame her. I can’t imagine losing a child.
For now, it’s a waiting game. Can the remaining three pull through? I don’t know. Yesterday, as I held Ringo’s lifeless body, I asked the universe how much more do I have to take? And today, saying goodbye to George has numbed me.
I just need a little bit of time. This was a big loss for us. I really could use a win.