Thursday, November 05, 2020


*** trigger warning, a post about grief and loss ***


We held him as he fell into his final sleep. 

17years and 2months after bringing him home; my constant companion for all those years. 

I made choices over these past years to not travel on business trips or even multiple days away, as he got stressed out and I would be distracted by not seeing he was okay.

As he aged I was his primary caretaker and huge portions of my day were spent checking on him, and making sure all his needs were addressed before he knew he needed them. It was something I didn't even think about as the days ran on. He loved me and I loved him.

He was my friend, my confidant and a true companion.

Quarantine made our time together more structured and we napped at or around 1:30pm almost daily together, as I sleep lightly at night, it was an easy way to give him attention and get some soothing from him for my anxiety and sorrow. 

Around mid October, something happened. The Barren and I were chatting and he let out a strange meow, which had us rushing to him. He lost all mobility in his legs, leaving him unable to stand or sit. we took him onto the patio and spoke to him as he looked confused and tired. Our daily hummingbird looked on at him and the scene unfolding. Xander tried to stand and walk indoors and I supported him and took him into my studio where he laid on a pillow on the floor and settled into what we thought was going to be his final moments. Over the next three hours he regained the use of his legs and was able to walk again and eat. I laid awake most of that night checking on him and soothing him through two more mini episodes. I asked The Barren if all my hair had turned white from the shock.

As the next days past, we was totally self propelled....but I started noticing he was more and more tired.

His breathing became more and more labored, he needed to take a break walking down the hallway. He got winded turning around in the seat. He drank less and ate less...the time had come.

A lovely vet came to our home and with one looked said she understood why we called her.

While they prepared his sleeping medicine, he got up from his patio chair, walked into the house, greeted them and then motioned to be picked up. The Barren held him, then handed him to me. I walked back outside and sat with him. The hummingbird returned and sat on the leaf above his feeder and watched.

Xander got a sleeping medicine shot and then the euthanasia shot. He fell into a slow sleep, hearing my heartbeat and his head being covered in kisses.

Simply put, this cat was magic, as I am sure most peoples companions are to lucky we are to be able to walk with them. How lucky I was to give him dignity and a peaceful death.

I sat in the chair the next morning, crying and mourning. The hummingbird arrived and sat on his leaf. He looked at me, then the door and the deck and the chair, waiting and searching for Xander. I watched this for 15minutes...and wondered how do you console a hummingbird?!

Xander's ashes were returned two days later, and we built our annual Dia de los Muertos altar.

The silence in the house is deafening, and maybe that is why I can hear the hissing in my ears so well these days. Today marks one week since he left and I still awake in the middle of the night looking for his fur to pat, peek into rooms to see if he is sleeping quietly...We are donating his food, new cat toys and some cat beds to the rescue we got him from.

The hummingbird comes and sits on his leaf daily still, singing and watching me as I sit in the chair Xander use to sun in and that he took his final breath in. I talk to the hummingbird and thank them for their songs and tell them what a good friend he was to keep Xander company on the patio while he slept and sunned himself in his final months.

Although I have yet to take a nap since he passed, I know that I will eventually...maybe he will come to me in my dreams while I doze and think of him.

**you can hear the hummingbird chirp as he arrives off camera


Infertile Phoenix said...

"How do you console a hummingbird..." This was beautifully written. Thank you for sharing Xander with us. Thinking of you... May your memories of him give you some comfort during this time. <3

Lollipop Goldstein said...

This was heartbreaking. I am so sorry that you lost your companion.

Mali said...

Oh, I've been away, and I missed this. I am so so sorry you lost your much-loved companion. When you think about it, we have these beloved pets (cats especially) in our homes (and in our hearts) just as long as most parents have their children at home. And yes, we are the lucky ones, both to have them as part of our family, and to be able to let them pass peacefully and without pain. You have written this so beautifully - I'm not sure if my tears are for you (and The Barren) and Xander or for me and Cleo (1993-2010) and Gershwin (who went a year earlier). Perhaps they are for all of us who love and grieve and feel alone when they leave. Hugs.

loribeth said...

This was a wonderful piece of writing and a lovely tribute to Xander -- but I am so sorry for your loss! Sending (((hugs))).