And so the sun went down today with the temperature gauge on the car reading Minus 1, exactly how Mr M and I are feeling. Last night was just awful and though I’d planned for our own vet to visit Mia today, things didn’t go according to plan. She had a terrible night and I was up watching her deteriorate as it just became so clear that she couldn’t cope on her own and it wasn’t fair to make her wait, even though I knew car journeys make her stressed and this was that last thing we wanted. For nearly 15 years of car journeys she has blasphemed at every passing street light, mostly as car trips meant either moving to a new house or visiting a man who put a thermometer up her bum but this was a very quiet 5am drive through the streets of Manchester, with only her shallow breaths and my tears to break the silence.
Even though, when you’ve made this final decision for your pet you know it’s for the best, it doesn’t make it any easier when it happens. I’ve never had to make it before. As she lay wrapped in my arms, trusting me to look after to her as I always had done, I felt like I was betraying her, but looking after her in the best possible way, all at the same time. Mr M was wonderful, supportive and upset at the same time – when I first met him he announced “I don’t like cats”, more fool him, he hadn’t met Mia, who won him over with chats, strawberry yoghurt stealing and regular exposure of a soft undercarriage. Although I have heard bad things about Pet Medics, there was no choice but to go, and they were both professional and kind. She gazed at me and I held her as they gently shaved her leg, it was almost surreal. I wish I’d have known it would be so fast, the vet gave her the anaesthetic and within seconds my girl was gone. But she was peaceful, instead of the gasping rasping breaths there was silence and I sat and held her on my front as her chest slowly ceased to move. Something in her flew away and something from me joined her.
There’s an option then, of what to do, and I can’t tell you how beyond happy, a strange word to use today, that I am we opted for the path we did. Some people bury their pets, but somehow I didn’t want that, in case I ever had to leave her behind in the ever moving property world I live. The vet said that they could keep her and organise a cremation and then we could come and get her ashes, but I didn’t really trust that corporate world. Also I didn’t want to let her out of my sight. Not just yet. I’d been on line and seen a place in Cheshire, and you know sometimes you just get a feeling, a subconscious nudge, well, I’d had one of those when I read about Sleepy Meadow. Wrapped in a blanket Mia came home with us, her beautiful face looking so at rest and pretty, but I guess I’m biased. Heading home at 6.30am, I posted a tweet saying my heart was broken, the replies and texts and love we’ve been sent today has been overwhelming, you great soft lot x
It was perfect for my girl to spend time where she had been happiest, as we managed a couple of hours sleep with her in her usual spot at the end of the bed for the last time. Then as we got ready, I lay her up in my office near my chair on her favourite pillow by the radiator. I’d been worried about the practicalities, but my girl was curled up in her towel, looking to be in a heavenly sleep. I could take my time to say goodbye and stroke her soft fur, running my finger along that line from her eyebrow to her cheek which had always made her nose twitch forward and whiskers quiver. This time for me was so precious, if you lose your cat, don’t let anyone tell you it isn’t the ‘right’ thing to do, it was immensely comforting for me, to follow some of our old routines for this short but very precious time.
And so, via a drive past and nod to the Red Lion Pub, where a skinny little stray had chosen me all those years ago, to Sleepy Meadow with my girl, now was known by the Bernard the Vet as ‘one of our heavier clients’ – the cheek! We chatted to each other and I to Mia as we drove down the motorway and the sun came out, low golden bathing light right onto us which felt a bit magical really. When we arrived it was a bit of a shock, a scruffy portacabin in the middle of nowhere, not even a proper building and the interior design left Mr M looking at me warily in case I fainted. I can’t tell you though, how filled with love it was, cards everywhere from people whose pets they have looked after and photos sent to Susan the owner, but somehow the chaos was very real and not contrived or business like or fake. She was so kooky, but sincere and caring, an animal lover who set up the business after a bad experience when her own dog had died ten years ago. Our experience there, the care and respect she showed to Mia, her empathy and understanding made what could have been a terrible experience a very personal one, where every consideration was given to our feelings. I can’t praise them enough. I said my goodbye to my girl, squeezed her paddle of paws, tickled her ear and kissed her for the last time.
We left for an hour to allow the cremation to take place, laying her down first as I didn’t want anyone else to pick her up, she hadn’t liked it in life so nothing was going to change now. There is a lovely local country pub close by where a stiff Henricks was imbibed and we resolved to go there each year on Jan 3rd for a drink and some seafood, in honour of the Prawn Whore, as Mia was affectionately nicknamed by a special friend due to her willingness to be anyone’s lover in return for a King or a Tiger.
When we got back to Sleepy Meadow, Susan was ready with my Mia’s ashes, she’d put such care into the little casket and her name on it, and a rose, it was very sweet and very touching. I felt so very sad and empty but so relieved that we’d made our choice in this simple and homely place. Thank you, Susan.
RIP My Moregeous Girl, I will always love you and always think of you and you will always be in my heart, my home and my head xx