Last week, I told you about Jewel's last few weeks here with us. This post is also going to be difficult for some of you to read, but I appreciate anyone who can or anyone who wants to leave some kind words or hugs. The anniversary of Jewel's passing is August 28th, and it is starting to make me quite sad. Today I want to finally tell you about her last day here.
As I mentioned last week, our regular vet was on vacation when Jewel told me it was time for her to go (doesn't it always happen that when the vet goes on vacation, the babies really need them?). I called another practice where a friend of mine works to schedule with them instead. They are really out of the way, but I trust my friend, and she had given me some advice about Jewel in the past so knew her case a little.
It ended up working out for the best in the end. At our vet's office, they weren't going to allow me to hold my baby while she went. They told me she'd have to be on the metal table and that I could pet her, but it was too hard to get an IV in and allow me to hold her in my lap. I didn't want Jewel to go that way. It was too impersonal. She deserved better. I had been looking at different options for her passing beforehand just in case, but I never expected to need any of them so soon.
After I called my friend's practice and scheduled Jewel, "end of life" consultation for the next day, I sat on the floor with Jewel by her fountain in the kitchen and cried. I couldn't imagine life without her. So much of my life revolved around caring for her - everything from asking my friend D if he had given Jewel her numerous medications to me giving her subcutaneous fluids to me dropping everything to feed her whenever and whatever she wanted to just plain loving on her.
Everyone told me I would "just know" when it was time to let her go because I would "see it in her eyes." Seeing as I have a severe vision impairment (pun intended), I knew this wasn't going to be possible for me. I can't read facial expressions. Sometimes I can't even tell my cats apart if I can't touch them or hear their bells (which have different tones). So I was really worried about how I'd know when Jewel was ready to go.
But by the grace of God, I was able to listen with my heart. Believe me, I did not want to hear Jewel say that she was ready to go! I wanted to hear anything but that. Jewel began to tell me in little ways that her time was coming through her behavior over the last few weeks of her life. But it wasn't until the last few days that I heard her loud and clear - it was her time to go to the Rainbow Bridge. Carmine helped me get the message by beginning to distance himself from Jewel. Carmine's behavior confirmed the awful truth for me.
On August 27th, 2014, as much as I didn't want to, I made the appointment for Jewel to take her journey to the Bridge.
Cinco, Manna, and Robin from Playful Kitty sent Jewel this card when she wasn't feeling well.
I put Jewel inside her little soft carrier and we took her outside in the little yard area outside my apartment building. She always loved being outside, but I never let her out once she came to live here as it was too dangerous. But this was her last night, and I knew she would be safe in her carrier. I sat in the grass with her, but even the outdoors didn't interest her anymore. She used to be so curious and happy in the grass. It made me really sad, but we sat out there for a bit so she could enjoy some fresh air.
That night, D read to us like always. We were reading the Divergent series, and we were on the final book, toward the end. I tried hard to stay awake for the rest of the book so Jewel could hear the whole thing with us, but I eventually became too tired. I took Jewel and sat her by my bed so she would be near me and slept for a few hours.
When I woke up, I spent more time with her before we had to leave for her appointment. When D went to get something from the store, I had a talk with Jewel. I told her how much I loved her and that I was only sorry that I didn't have the chance to spoil and love her for more than the two years she lived with me. I told her I was sorry for the life she had before we met and told her how unfair it was, but that I was so glad she came into my life. I told her she could come back and visit me any time she wanted (and she does).
Then I went and got Carmine and tried to tell him what was going on. He already knew, of course. He didn't want to hear it any more than I did and jumped off my lap and retreated into one of the cubes.
For the last 24 hours of her life, Jewel didn't leave my side. I took her everywhere I went. Yes, I even picked her up in her cube and took her to the restroom with me. I don't mind if that makes me sound a little nuts.
I am friends with a local married couple who took us to the vet. On the way, Jewel urinated on me. I knew it was bad that it didn't smell like anything. We were going to clean her up at the vet, but she didn't get any on herself.
I held Jewel in my lap until they called us back. We all headed back - me, D, our married couple friends, and Jewel. Yes, Jewel had a whole crowd there!
The room they use for their "end of life" consultations was very nice. It had a big comfy couch, blankets, pillows, nice carpeting, and of course tissues. I sat with Jewel in my lap while the vet tech asked us tons of questions and we relayed all that had happened in the past few weeks. I rattled off her blood test results, which they were impressed by, but I just felt it was my job to know those numbers.
The vet came in and talked with us, too. She said they could run tests, but it sounded like we already had done everything we could for Jewel. It was really sweet - she even got all teary and she didn't even know my baby. Jewel was a special kitty.
I told her that I didn't want Jewel to suffer anymore while Jewel looked at me from the exam table with her huge green eyes.
So they took her away to start her IV line. When they brought her back, they put her in my lap again and all my friends present gathered around to pet Jewel and we all cried a lot. They wrapped Jewel's front leg in a colorful gauze to keep her IV in place. It was really pretty on her.
After a bit, the vet asked if we were ready and I said I was. She gave her the medications and my Jewel went peacefully surrounded by so many people who loved and cared about her. The whole room was full of love for my baby.
Jewel loved to listen to D read to us while I knitted.
I cried and cried and got Jewel's fur all wet. D said something about how my tears would be in her ashes, which in a strange way was comforting.
When I had calmed down enough to be able to leave, the vet tech took my baby, gave us Jewel's plaster paw print and told us how to bake it, and the reciptionist told us she'd call us when Jewel's ashes were ready for pick up. I just barely had enough money in the kitties' emergency fund to help Jewel get to the Rainbow Bridge and have her ashes returned to me, and I was so thankful that I did. I wanted my baby to come back and be here at home with us.
I will always hold on to the good memories I have of Jewel, and I will forever be thankful that with a lot of time and patience, Jewel learned that I was okay to love and trust as her human mom. I'm blessed to have had Jewel in my life, and I am thankful that I had the opportunity to take her out of a bad situation and give her a better life. I only wish I could have given her more than a mere few years of love and comfort before she had to go.
Jewel: 1999 - August 28, 2014