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Mostly Angst About Munchkin's Death

I've been having a rough few days. I feel like I should have spoken up earlier and more insistently about my interpretation of how Munchkin was feeling. I'd been pretty convinced for about two weeks that she was only really living her life maybe half an hour out of every day, but I just clung to that half hour and convinced myself that it made her life worthwhile, that it somehow canceled out 23.5 hours of apparent desire to die (or at least disappear). And as a result of this, I dragged things out for her and let her die a terrible, scary, miserable death. Her desperate, frightened cries waking me in the middle of the night were the worst thing I've ever heard, and they haunt me. I'm sure my guilt will fade with time, but right now it's still very difficult to live with.

She trusted me to look out for her. She was my responsibility, and I accepted that 17 years ago when I adopted her. I feel like in those last few days, I didn't do right by her, and it hurts.

I don't ever want to experience anything like that again. All the death I'd seen previously had been peaceful. This horrified me. I can't stand seeing someone I love in pain, and when it's someone who has relied on me to look out for their best interests ... well, it's hard. I feel like I did this to her.

I try to comfort myself with the fact that I did hear her cries in the middle of the night, and I did go to her, and I did insistently wake Shannon up, and Shannon and I did hold her while she died, and maybe that did help her be less frightened in those last moments. I wish I could have prevented those terrible moments, but I hope our presence and our touch and our voices helped.

So I'm still crying a lot ... not about the fact that Munchkin is gone, because I knew that was going to happen soon, but about how she died and my role in causing it to happen that way.

So today I did some art, and I talked to some friends, and I went for a couple walks in the sunshine, and I bought some cheap-but-cool stuff at the Daiso store, and I took a bath in our new bathtub with some nice-smelling bath oil, and I'm feeling a bit better. I'm bouncing back. I'm still very sad, and I still feel very guilty, and I'm still crying sometimes, but I'm enjoying the good things. And I'm enjoying them for more than a half hour out of the day.


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 24th, 2012 11:00 am (UTC)
*Hugs* You did what you thought was best at the time, and you loved her. Obviously if you could have seen the future you would have done something different, but you can't, so you had to do the best you could not-knowing. Which really when it comes down to it is all we're doing all the time. *More hugs*
Oct. 24th, 2012 11:58 am (UTC)
Knowing when it's time is probably the most difficult thing we do as pet owners. Because it's just as bad to go too soon as too late. You did what you could.

And ESPECIALLY with cats, who have tendencies both to try to put on a brave face and not let you know when they're in pain, AND tendencies to be drama queens and complain a lot when they're NOT in pain.
Oct. 24th, 2012 07:57 pm (UTC)
One more thing... it sounds like maybe something happened suddenly. She was having blood pressure issues, right? Maybe she had a stroke. But the two weeks before that, she was probably really tired, but not in crisis and not feeling that horrible. Strokes are unpredictable.

And one more thing after that... not fun to think about, but most deaths are pretty scary to witness. We have this mythology of "the good death" where there's time to wrap everything up and say our goodbyes, but it's not really the norm. (There's a great book on the subject called "How We Die"...) The important thing is the 17 years of Munchkin's life that preceded the horrible last few hours, 17 years in which you took very good care of her. And she didn't die alone. She died with you guys still taking care of her.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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