Bye, Buddy

Posted on May 31, 2011


Buddy just last week.

What do you tell your 9-year-old daughter when you know the worst has happened and the inevitable is forcing you to make an impossible decision about the life or death of her kitty? Her best friend?

Buddy loved us. He dragged himself home after an accident with a person or a car. We’ll never know which one. He let us bathe and care for him, still loving us and teaching us to the end. I’ve never known a cat like Buddy.

We had hope at first. That was lesson number one. Love and patience would help the healing process. He made so much progress that we thought it was only a matter of time.

But quickly things turned bad after a month of settling into a routine with him and his needs.

And a decision had to be made. The weight of the world was on my shoulders. I so wanted him to die peacefully in his sleep. But he didn’t. Everyone says , “It’s for the best”. That was hard to hear. Because I wasn’t sure. And I wanted to know that there was no other way. Life stinks when you have to choose without knowing for sure if you’re making a selfish or unselfish decision, and you know lives will be affected by your choice.

But I made the decision and then the vet agreed and he slipped peacefully away, purring to the end. Was it the right decision? Not for me. I didn’t like it. But, I’m glad he purred. Maybe it’s what he wanted. Maybe he knew. For now, that’s enough.

My daughter was devastated. I never wanted her to feel that pain again, and silently vowed, “No more pets. I can’t handle this!”

That was when my heart opened and learned. And this is what I spontaneously taught Madeleine:

” Never close your heart to love. None of us know how long we have with each other. You and Buddy loved completely and that’s why it hurts so much. You both needed to feel that kind of love. Don’t ever try to avoid loving someone (or a pet) because you are afraid of that pain. The depth of the pain reflects the depth of your connection to him. That won’t get better over time, and he can’t be replaced. Just continue sharing your love and receiving  it back as it comes. There are many lonely souls who will die never knowing the feeling of being completely loved. Love them as you loved Buddy.

“And you will see Buddy again. He’s already playing with chipmunks and cuddling with my baby brother. I know it. Just think of all the freedom he’s enjoying!

“Don’t let anyone tell you to stop crying or that it’ll be okay. Just enjoy the moments of deep love that’ll surface without warning. Cause that’s what Buddy’ll do when he thinks of you.”

Thanks Buddy!

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