Last Pictures of Henri

I had to put Henri to sleep last Monday. He was about 17 years old--give or take six months. We took him to Penn Vet Emergency Hospital and they were very nice--gave me all kinds of options about euthanasia--if I wanted to be there or if I wanted to just leave; if I wanted his ashes or not, gave me time to say goodbye (too much time. When you know you're about to put your cat to sleep, it's difficult to do anything like enjoy your time with him. I just wanted it to be over); they wrapped him up so he was cozy in these nice blankets.

I had to do this one other time with Gretel, and that was terrible and this was terrible too--not terrible as in traumatic, because he was so out of it, he didn't seem all that upset. Just terrible to have to make that decision. What that must be like when the creature in question is a human? I can't imagine. 

I stayed in the room. It helps to see it happen. Otherwise, I could imagine myself worrying about how it went down, if he was distressed or hurt. And this other fantasy I could see happening--someone at the vet hospital falls in love with him and they keep him alive by extraordinary measures. Or he's shaking and crying and a dog is barking and they forget about it and he suffers. So, yes, being there made sense. And it also seems like the nicest thing to do for this animal who has been in your life for years and years--through Chicago, and grad school, and moving to Philly--you know, the least you can do is to be petting his head when he dies.

The hardest parts are the afternoons after work--he's not there anymore when I get home and it takes me a second--oh, he's gone. And then the same thing happens again in the morning--I walk down the stairs and he's not there again. How strange to think that he won't ever be there--that is still a hard concept to grasp.

These photos are from November. The two cats sitting together--unbelievable.

It's happened a couple of times recently that I've glimpsed Emma Carol out of the corner of my eye and thought it was him. Here, you can kind of see why.

I miss him. I don't believe in heaven--not for Joan of Arc, or other saints, not for ordinary people, and not for bashful cats who spent 40% of their lives hiding under things to escape notice. But I do have pictures of him and even a video or two, so that is what is left. It reminds me to always take pictures; I wish I had more, I'm glad for the ones I have.


PinkPanthress said…
My condolences, dear!

This post made me cry, I am an agnostic who leans towards atheism so I do not believe in god & heaven either, so it's hard for me too, to see someone go. Whether a beloved human or pet/animal.
Emily said…
Oh Aimee, I'm so sorry. It sucks saying goodbye to a pet. Henri was lucky to have you.