At the end of June I started preparing for my mom to come up and visit us. I'm a little obsessive when it comes to preparing for company, no matter who it is, and Eric has just learned that when I get into "tornado mode," it is best to step aside. I don't think I got that bad this time, but having overnight company did give me a push to do some of the things I constantly put off. A big one was polishing furniture. Most of my wooden furniture in the dining and living rooms are inherited pieces from my grandparents and from a senior, never-married lady who lived next door to the house I grew up in. My dining room table set and secretary are from her. A huge console in our dining room was once the first TV/radio/turntable combo that my grandparents put in their house back in the 1950's. All of these are beloved pieces, even those that are not in the best condition. Polishing them brought them back to life quite a bit.
When the day of my mom's arrival finally came, it was a day of delays. They weren't her fault, but that of an overly cautious airline after the crash that happened in San Francisco a few weeks ago. All told, my mom got in about 6 hours later than the original scheduled time. We were eating dinner near the airport at nearly 9pm and still had an hour's drive back to our house.
The following week was a good visit, probably the best one of my mom's visits up here. I attribute a lot of that to the fact that I am not that new in this state and house anymore. That's a nice feeling, and even though we visited a couple of places I had never been to before, my comfort level permeated throughout her visit.
We went outlet shopping, we visited Pittock Mansion in Portland, I gave her a perm, we went on a lot of walks, I cooked a lot of dinners and we went out a few times. She also had more of a chance to bond with my hubby, who she hadn't seen in nearly 2 years since he and I drove to CA for Christmas 2011.
We rounded out her visit by going to dinner at a local BBQ place, which, happily, she really enjoyed. All around, I think all of us felt more relaxed this visit, which cut down on the post-visit recovery time.
Unfortunately, Ashley's health had taken other negative turns as well. She was losing weight and yet she was constantly hungry. Her day consisted of either sleeping, going potty (very unhealthy potty,) or asking for food. It seemed like her body just wasn't absorbing food anymore and she was getting thinner and more and more bony.
A couple of weeks ago, a new reality hit. She was starting to go potty outside of her box. We don't think she was doing it on purpose, but that was kind of a non-issue. It just meant that something else was wrong.
After all of the discussion of when to put her down, we realized the time had finally come. I tearfully made the appointment on Thursday. That night she ruined my favorite, hand stitched, tablecloth--a confirmation that we were doing the right thing. Again, I don't think she did it on purpose, but it proved that she wasn't able to control her insides anymore.
Yesterday we did the deed. It was so, so hard and she was still feisty up until the end, which made it harder. We tried out a new vet, who turned out to be really great and sensitive throughout the appointment. (We had come close to doing this 2 months ago and I had done a lot of research with clinics in town.) Sadly, Ashley did have one last (short) seizure between the sedative and the final injection. We petted her and I cried during our last moments with her.
Today we are adjusting to a new normal. Ashley was always circling around the kitchen asking for food, or skittering across the counters. A lot of times she was just sit looking out the window. She was the curious kitty who would greet and sniff anyone who came into the house. Our 100lb dog would not cross paths with her, finding her too intimidating.
She and her brother had been with me since the day I moved into my first apartment back in October 1996. It was a Saturday afternoon and the humane society was closed, so my mom and I went to a Petco in South Pasadena. As we entered, a lady was holding a kitten with enormous yellow eyes buried in her dark face. I instantly knew that I would be adopting her. (The cat, not the lady!)
Ashley's been with me through 4 different homes, since I started my career, and through an 18 hour drive from California to Washington after Eric and I married in 2010. She's always been a combination of solitary and social and she loved attention, although it had to be on her terms.
The house definitely feels different today, even though I have a doggy at my feet and 2 more kitties napping with Eric in the other room. Outliving our pets is part of the cycle of having them. It's the hard part.
And so Life goes on, with its ups and downs, always trying to teach us something and always giving us opportunities to decide how we are going to handle things. Despite having to say goodbye to a beloved kitty, it has been and will be a good summer. As always, we have so much for which to be grateful.