We don’t always make the right decisions, but generally, life is filled with options, loaded with endless possibilities. Or, it seems to be, until you get closer to the end. Then, suddenly, the field of choices narrows considerably.
It’s ironic how similar Tigger the Cat’s decline and that of my 83-year-old great-uncle are. They both need surgery, and both are too old and too frail to have it. Both are on medication. Both are receiving care that, at most, is palliative. And both of them have people agonizing over what to do with them.
Right now, Tigger seems to have the advantage over my uncle. He is home, surrounded by all his familiar things, not somewhere else in the care of strangers. He can still walk and eat, though in either case not with gusto that has been his tradition for nearly 17 years. The vet says his time is short. Very short. And with but a word from us, it can be made shorter still.
But we aren’t there. Yet. “You’ll know,” the vet said. I know I’ll know, too, and there’s no comfort in that. None at all.
So last night we spent a chunk of the evening rearranging furniture, repositioning bedding, and generally trying to make everything as easy as possible for whatever time is left.
I thought the inevitable had occurred during the four hours since I’d left him (and during which the mother had silently crept in to check a time or two or four) when I wasn’t met with the traditional long, deep meow. He was still in bed, one paw tucked around his eyes. But he was just sleeping.
Before I could get up from the floor, I got my greeting. And almost as quickly, I had a cat padding along behind me as I always do during the morning routine.
I might have rushed through it like I usually do.
But not today. Definitely, not today.