On Sunday we found a kitten. The way the circumstances set up was nothing short of a miracle. As many have said, and as I believe, she was meant to "cross our path." She was in terrible shape and we started the work of bringing her to health. She was named Wintergreen, and we immediately started calling her Winnie.
On Monday evening, she very suddenly took a turn for the worse, and after an emergency vet visit, we came home hopeful that she would begin to improve. She did not. We held her continuously for the next seven hours. She was never not on someone's lap or against someone's chest. My daughters went to bed, and I took a shift holding Winnie at 11pm. I was to wake one of my daughters at 3am and take a turn at sleeping. But by 1am I was afraid we were nearing the end. I would not put one of the girls through that.
I will spare you the unbelievable sadness of that last hour. She was so tiny and so bony it was hard to know where to pet her that would give comfort and not pain. I ended up lightly stroking her face and talking softly to her until she let go. I sat there in the darkest, deepest part of the night holding this tiny body. It seemed like the silence would crush me. I wrapped her and put her in her favorite basket (she already had one), and I fell completely apart. I found my way to the computer and wrote my Tuesday's post.
As I typed, I realized I was reaching out to all of you who had read Winnie's story in Monday's post. You had said such kind things, and you seemed to genuinely care about this little kitten that you didn't even know. You had all sent best wishes to her, your hope for her new beginning palpable. I felt like you knew her. And now she was gone. Whisked away before she had a chance at the good life.
That post was raw - an in-the-moment experience of loss. I was hurting deeply but I was also angry. Angry that such a tiny being, so innocent, would live in utter suffering her entire short life and then be rescued - only to suffer more, and die. It's been the comments from all of you that have taken some of the anger away.
Earlier today, I wrote to Amy of Amy & The House of Cats (more in a minute) and I said to her that losing little Winnie has wounded me deeply. I have lost so many animals over the years. Somehow this one cut a little deeper. Maybe it was because I didn't see it coming. Maybe it was because the time she had in a loving, safe environment was WAY too short. I couldn't shake the deep disappointment that came with knowing that all she ever knew of human love was one short day. This is how I was feeling in the wee hours of Tuesday morning.
And then the comments started coming in. They came in floods. They came all day Tuesday and up into the night. I was overwhelmed. I read every comment. Over and over, the message was the same. We were meant to find Winnie. She got to know love. She didn't die alone. She had comfort. The comments offered sympathy in a deeply sincere way. You sent your love, hugs, prayers, and even thanks. People reminded us that she is now free of suffering. People wrote that their own kitties at The Bridge would be there to welcome Winnie. We got thank-yous which just blew me away. I couldn't believe people were thanking us - Thank you for taking her in, Thank you for giving her a chance, Thank you for all that you do. And one person wrote, and I quote: "Find comfort in what you gave that precious kitten in her final days . . . dignity. . . a name . . . security . . . and peace."
Yes, she had a name. Her name was Wintergreen - our Winnie. There is something about having been given a name. She was acknowledged as the amazing little being she was. She deserved that. Her body has a spot in our pet cemetery. And she has been given an awesome memorial in the comments that each of you made.
To all of my new visitors, thank you for coming and thank you for your comments. I hope you might read back in my blog for some stories with much happier endings.
To my small group of devoted readers (who have been with me since the beginning), thank you for sticking with me. You've been there all along, commenting through the good and the sad.
To Amy & The House of Cats - THANK YOU. You are the reason that Winnie has been memorialized.
And to Cat Blogosphere. . . one of the comments on Tuesday's post said that a memorial grafik had been placed on CB. I immediately went to check it out. As I clicked on CB from my blog, the most beautiful picture of Winnie sparkled back at me from the computer screen. There she was - identified as Heaven's Newest Angel. The tears poured down my face. Happy tears. THANK YOU, Cat Blogosphere.