Last updated March 3rd, 2019
Today we lost the heart and soul of the Chirpies, our precious boy Earl Grey. For the past three years, he fought kidney disease and within the last couple of months, his health was declining rapidly. We knew that day would come to say goodbye eventually, but I forgot just how hard it is to let go.
He fought long and hard and even with his frail bones, he still managed to pull himself up onto the bed. He would climb down the stairs, sit on his cardboard perch and wait for supper, always at the same time each day. He wanted to be immersed in the hustle and bustle of the kitchen, where it’s noisy, dishes clinking, the symphony of his housemates meowing for breakfast, the odd chair being knocked over when one of the cats comes sprinting into the kitchen. He became blind after dental surgery, so he would ‘see’ the world through these surrounding vibrations, paw steps, footsteps and voices. This was his level of interaction, just being present absorbing it all, even if he couldn’t see. It’s as if he would have been able to narrate his whole day into a story about the other cats if he could.
But for the past month that extra spark, that something, call it a will to live, just disappeared.
When I used to give him his daily subcutaneous fluids or brush him I would ask him to let me know when it’s time. When he stopped wanting to be the silent observer of the madness at supper time and when he no longer sat ready on his perch listening to the breakfast acat-pella performance of his housemates, he was telling us to please give him his wings. Fluids and buprenorphine were keeping him alive but that was not fair to him if there was no quality of life.
I asked my husband to make the call, for the third time. Yes, we’ve made “THE call” twice before but then canceled because he would do something that made us doubt that that was his check-out date. That was a month ago.
This morning he left us peacefully with Kevin and me at his side. I am still trying to process the loss and cannot get his sweet handsome face out of my mind. I play the event over and over in my head, wondering if I told him I loved him enough just before he drifted off. He went so quickly that when the vet looked up sympathetically and told me “he’s gone” it was like the final blow hit me, “this is it!” I was a blubbering mess.
We will take comfort from the fact that he lived a long and good life filled with many adventures abroad and at home in the catio. He always had words of wisdom for his younger pals and I wonder how his best friend and longtime travel buddy, Sarabi will take his absence.
For now, I’m allowing myself to cry bucket-loads and let the grieving process take its course. I have wonderful memories of laughter and funny stories embedded in my heart. I will probably end up sharing more about the life and times of Earl Grey, of all the untold stories of his life with me in Ireland and in South Africa.
Earl Grey, my sweet angel boy, fly high and pain-free with your spanking new wings! You will remain forever in our hearts.
I leave you with an Instagram video of Earl Grey earlier this summer drinking from the watering hole.