Friday, November 9, 2012

Empty arms.

Yesterday I accompanied my mom to the vet to put down the cat she has loved for 20 years (that's longer than I lived at home). 

When Billy died my mom sobbed over her body. I was not close to the cat but I really love my mom and seeing her crying and in pain, pained me.. I understood, a little, how she has felt all these months as she helplessly watched her daughter grieve over her daughter. I could rub her back but I could not comfort her.

My mom knows that Billy is a cat and not a daughter or a granddaughter but the fact remains that there is still grief. Still pain in losing a creature that shared in a part of your life for so long.

Being there with my mom brought me back to the ER and seeing Eva's life slip away. The vet said something interesting... She said that the animals that are not ready to go, fight death but those that are ready just slip away...Billy slipped away. Loved by my mom until her very last breath.

Eva died. With doctors fighting for her life every second leading up it. Eva slipped away. Loved by her mom until her very last breath. 

And when it was done. When Billy breathed her last breath my mom's tears splashed down on Billy' s fur and she whispered that she was sorry to the cat.

And when it was done...when no one was trying to bring Eva back. I wailed, and my tears splashed down onto Eva's face as I scooped her up and held her close. I told her I was sorry I had failed her. So so so sorry. For all the mistakes I had unknowingly made...for not being able to save her...for failing her...

And the vet brought a blanket to carry Billy to the cold room in the back.

And a nurse brought a handmade blanket to our room to wrap our still-warm but fast growing cold daughter in.  A blanket that stayed with her to the morgue.

And, just like that, we left the clinic. Left Billy's body there and walked away with empty arms.

And, just like that, we left the hospital. Left our precious daughter's body there and walked away with empty arms.  Left her behind to go on ahead of us.

We walked away with empty arms. 


  1. A very powerful post. I am moved.

  2. Thank you for sharing your heart, Em. Thank you for sharing what the vet said to you. Emily slipped away, she was ready. We don't even know for sure when she really died, only when her heart stopped beating, when the doc stopped pounding on her chest, when the docs stepped back and stopped trying, when they turned the computers off so we couldn't see the screen and the numbers. She just slipped away. She was ready.

    1. Renee, I too don't know when Eva really died. Did she die in the bathtub at RMH, in Mike's hands? Did she die on the floor of RMH before the ambulance got there? Did she die at the hospital at 9:15pm, which is what her official time of death is? And what is death anyway, but a moment here and the next in heaven?

  3. agree with Caroline..."a very powerful post"

  4. I love your comparison of empty arms. Not that you have empty arms but the analogy. I am praying for your Mom and her loss. And remembering you, Mike, boys, J and baby Hope in continued prayers.

  5. I'm so sorry...there is no greater loss than that of child...