I don't want to write this post with every ounce of my being.
But, I have to.
So, I'll start from the beginning.
I got Toby four years ago, October. My friend Heather adopted a kitten from her vet, and her kitten had a little brother that needed a home, too.
I was really hesitant about Toby at first- I am a teeny bit allergic to cats, and I just wasn't sure I was ready for the commitment.
Already knowing we were a good fit, my vet- Maggie- told me to take him home for 2 weeks. And, if we weren't a good fit, I could bring him back.
It didn't take two weeks- not even two days- for me to fall for the little guy.
Toby became my everything, my family here in Tulsa. He was so energetic and full of life from the get-go.
From jumping on my chest while I was sleeping... to putting his favorite toys in his water bowl (an act of true love, I concluded)... to stealing my rubber bands... to his passionate attempts at stealing freshly cooked pasta and tortilla chips... this little guy never stopped.
From being single to being in a relationship, through the transition of one job to another, from road trips to Dallas to cuddle nights at home... this little guy was my everything.
I've heard people say that your first pet just gets under your skin, and stays there forever. And, it's especially true when you don't have children yet. They are your children, your sole purpose and responsibility.
I'm struggling with that. I'm struggling with the fact that my number 1 responsibility, my baby, is gone.
Some people say it's better it happened so fast. But I just say, it's so unfair.
A few months ago, Toby's meow changed. It sounded different. And, he couldn't quite jump on the counter as easily as before. But, I didn't think much of it.
And I didn't think much of it when he didn't eat the whole 4th of July weekend I was out of town. He never eats when I'm gone. But, when he didn't eat for the whole week I was back... I knew something was wrong.
The vet diagnosed him with "fatty liver"- a condition that happens when an animal doesn't eat. the liver starts scarring itself. So, with a high protein diet and medicine, he started to feel better. His meow was normal again. His energy was back. He was making a full recovery.
But, we never knew why he stopped eating. We thought it was his social awkwardness. (My friends fondly knew Toby as the "emo" cat.)
Last Saturday night, I got home from a wedding, and I knew something was so, so wrong. It seemed like Toby lost 5 pounds in a day. The life was gone.
I stayed up all night, begging him to eat, even forcing him at times. Nothing worked.
Sunday, the vet told me to prepare to lose him. I couldn't understand. I didn't understand.
Monday, we went in for an ultrasound, and my hope returned. He needed emergency surgery to remove a "foreign object" from his intestine.
And, Monday afternoon, more hope. They found a piece of toy stuffing in his intestine. He would recover. Thank God.
Tuesday, they saw little to no improvement. They determined he had a bacteria infection and needed a second emergency surgery.
Toby's passionate surgeon worked 14 hours that day, and didn't charge me for the second surgery. They felt so sure they could save him, and they were doing whatever they could.
Wednesday, we waited to see if he would recover. The hours passed so slowly, until 3:50pm. Then, everything happened too fast.
His heart stopped. Hurry, hurry. My drive to the hospital was a complete blur. I walked in the door to see nurses doing CPR on him. I cried into his fur and prayed for a miracle. Knowing that his heart had been stopped for too long, his breath gone. I knew that even if he survived, he wouldn't be the fiesty cat I knew and loved. I hardly remember nodding my head, telling them to stop the compressions on his little body that were giving him the last bits of air, of life.
We went to a room together. A few more minutes to say goodbye. My chest hurt so badly, I could hardly breathe. I had to will the black dots swimming in my eyes away, praying I wouldn't pass out.
Then, the questions. Do you want to bury him, or cremate him? Don't worry about payment, we'll send you a bill. Do you need more time? Yes, I needed more time. I need 14 more years of time.
I'm angry. I'm heartbroken. I feel like my whole world changed in a week. I can't stand walking around my apartment. I can't sleep at night without an Advil PM. I can't stop crying. It's unfair, it's so unfair.
In the same breath, I tell God how mad I am at him, how easily he could have healed Toby. And I beg him to give me some kind of peace and healing.
So, that's where I'm at. I hear it's a day by day thing. I hear a lot of things. I'm hoping something starts to soak in.
Yesterday, I packed up his things. His toys, his water and food bowls. The sweater of mine I wrapped around him in the hospital, willing him to hold on, to fight a little longer.
Rest in peace, my baby boy. You don't have to fight any more.
But, somehow, I do. And I will.
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