Thank you all so much for your very kind condolences yesterday.
He most certainly was NOT 'just a cat', which is why I had to keep telling myself that just to get through what had to be done.
I sent Mister a text from the parking lot at the clinic. "Puss is gone" it said simply. He called me within seconds of receiving it, and was so sweet and so understanding it busted me up all over again. He was so sorry I had to be the one to do it. He had said he would, but he's too busy, too pre-occupied to have gotten to it before the weekend. I didn't want the kids to see what shape Puss might have been in by Friday even if he had been strong enough to make it that long. Plus--he was sick, yo. He was my cat. He needed me to take care of him this one last time. So I did.
And awful it was.
Mister asked me if I wanted him to come home. If you knew this man, and the way he works, you'd appreciate what a hugely magnanimous and (in his way) gentle gesture that was. I said no. There was nothing he could do for me. I would be fine. Then he made me promise not to stay home. "Go for a run. Go for a walk. Go get coffee. Just don't go home. PROMISE ME." So I promised.
I called my neighbor--a fellow American who lives half a kilometer away--told her what I'd just done, and asked if I could bum a cup or two of tea off her. "Oh God. Give me 15 minutes, " she said, "Then come." I spent just over an hour listening to her tell me about all the various cats she's had over the years, and the horrid ways most of them have died. Somehow, I still can't work out exactly how, this was therapeutic for me.
A few hours later I was picking up Little Miss to take her to ballet. Boy was in the car too, as he has football right after Missy's ballet. I was standing next to the car, semi-patiently waiting for her to get settled so I could fasten her seatbelt, when what to my wondering eyes should appear, but Mister stepping off a bus and running towards me.
"So how are you? Are you okay? Do you want me to do the running around with the kids this afternoon? Do you want me to come with you? What do you need?"
He'd left work two hours early to play chauffeur to the kids because he knew I'd be sad about my cat dying. Again, if you knew this man...
He ended up coming with me just to keep me company. Just as we were pulling into the ballet studio Mister says to me, "So there's this litter of kittens due in March..." and he hands me three pages of pictures he's taken off the breeder's website. In fact, he's already called the breeder, told her about the situation (she sends her deepest condolences, by the way), and not officially yet reserved one of the kittens for me, but pre-reserved one of them....If I'd like that....Would I like that?
To continue to say..."Geez, if you only knew this guy....This is so unlike him," would be to risk giving you the wrong impression of who he really is. Because it's not that he's heartless, and gruff, and generally uncaring about my feelings. That's not why he surprised me so much yesterday. It's just that he's so busy. And, usually, when he's at work, he's AT WORK, and nothing else much penetrates that concentration bubble he retreats into. But these pictures, and that phone call, and showing up early to hand it all to me...he basically took the day off to put this band-aid on my broken heart. And that...well...it just took my breath away. That's all.
So this is the mother: her name is White Pearl, and this will be her second litter.
If all goes well, the kittens should be ready for delivery the first week of June. Right before we're supposed to leave for Utah for the summer--which is not ideal--but I think we're going to do it anyway. The kids are already debating names. I'm wondering how I'm ever going to get used to calling a cat anything other than Pussy Lucy....