Today is the first anniversary of the death of Isabella Jiardini, Princess of Mercer, my soul mate and familiar. There will never be another Being like her again in my life; grieving her loss has been very painful. But writing about it has expelled it from my mind, where it no longer belongs. May only joy and love persist.
“Sits in one spot all day, not sleeping or grooming, some drinking (with some food in bowl), urinating in box, no feces, seems to breath a bit heavy, does still respond to me – blinks eyes and purrs if pets (sic), if walks, does so rather slowly and a little creaky.” These observations I recorded on a computer sticky note, so I could report to the vet about my kitty and best friend Isabella. It was the next day by the time the vet rang back and by then I choose to believe she was not eating because she didn’t have the right foods to tempt her. But when she was presented with all her favorite treats by her other best friend, Jamal, and she did not eat one morsel, we knew something was seriously wrong. We took her first to one vet, and then back to her original vet. They did blood and urine testing and X-Rays. When her poking and prodding was finally over, the vet came out with a grim look on his face. Her lungs were almost completely full of fluid and her digestive organs were also rapidly filling. He guessed at lymphoma. When we asked if we could get her hooked to an IV so she could get nutrients, he said she was too filled up already. He suggested we come back later that afternoon to euthanize her. We stared at each other and shook our heads in idisbelief. Neither of us EVER wanted to put our sweet Isabella to sleep!
In the next days, we tried everything we could to help her – energy healing, petting her, singing to her, playing bird songs, and trying to syringe feed her pro-biotics, broth and bits of meat. The feeding was very stressful: I could tell she did not like it and I was afraid of her choking or throwing up what little was going down. And we prayed. Hard. We prayed that she would get healthy and go on to live a good long life – that she would be able to play, go outside and eat grass, roll on her back, and do all the things she normally did. Or if it was her time to go, that she go gracefully and peacefully.
I talked to a FaceBook friend’s friend who was an animal intuitive – she could sense what animals were feeling. I was very concerned about the fact that Isabella NEVER closed her eyes. I was afraid that she would not be able to recover if she was unable to rest. The intuitive reassured me that she was getting rest, even if she wasn’t truly sleeping. That comforted me. Then she told me, that although it was not yet time to put her to sleep, she would not survive this illness. I tried not to believe this. I started praying in earnest.
We thought we had seen some improvements, I was told about some supplements for cancer, so we spent multiple hours looking around town for this medicine and even more time on the Internet and phone. On a sunny day, we put her in the window. She seemed to enjoy seeing the outdoors.
The night before she died, I had a lovely dream about Isabella. She was running down the hall, all full of energy and happiness. I took this as a good sign. It was the fifth day after diagnosis, five days after we “should have” put her to sleep. The sun was out again. Midmorning, I carried her from the litter box, where she had been laying. Her stomach felt like a water balloon. I brought her to the window so she could look out. I cracked the window so she could smell the air. I stood next to her, our heads close. We used to do this a lot – look out the window together. At one point, she turned her head towards me and I did the same and gave her a little kiss on her furry cheek. It was the sweetest last connection. I made a courageous attempt at thinking positive thoughts. When I wrote down more and more positive sentences, I did feel more empowered and Isabella stirred as if she was content to know this. She wanted to come down and I put her on the bed, pushing her back from the edge. My neighbor knocked on the apartment door for exercise class. Isabella stared at me from the bed; I told her I’d be gone for a while and that I loved her. Then I left.
At the end of the exercise class, we had a meditation where surprisingly the instructor talked about how the death of others can teach you to appreciate life and to let go of negative emotions. I imagined releasing sadness like a helium balloon. I got back home and saw her in the bedroom, in her cave (a box with a small door cut out) – her hindquarters sticking out. I affectionately petted her rump and tried to rearrange her so she could fit better inside. After making some calls about her supplements and eating a bit, I opened the top of the box, lifting up the interwoven flaps, flopping the box around. I apologized to Isabella, but when I finally got it opened and looked down, her body was splayed out and her head was to the side. I slowed to a halt and thought, “Oh, is she dead?” I didn’t want to pick her up because I didn’t want to hurt her if she was still alive. Finally, I reached down in, cradled her in my arms and bring her to the bed. I laid her gently on her side. I listened for breathing or a pulse and felt nothing. I felt relief – I didn’t have to see her suffer any longer. I pet her over and over. And waited for Jamal to come home.