2017 has barely started and I am already losing the will.
The year started badly and it’s just got worse. Saying goodbye to my companion for the last 12 years, my best pal, our Billy or as we called him; Blobs. Two huge blows in the space of 6 weeks, what’s next?
Grief bloody grief, it affects everyone in different ways, it completely cripples me.
Silly, you may think, it’s “just a cat”, or a “pet” there are worse things in the world, he’s not a human, of course there are worse things, but these are my things and I have to deal with them.
This grieving process I don’t deal with very well. Perhaps it’s why I don’t let go of things easily, it’s why I don’t give up.
I moved to the UK in 1992, April the 22, just before my 19th birthday. Initially it was only for a few months, learn English, enjoy the experience, go back home. It’s been 25 years, longer than I spent in France. England has been my home ever since (here’s hoping Brexit doesn’t send me home… although I do miss the cheese!)
So for the last 25 years I have learnt to live apart from my family, my parents, my grandparents, a couple of old friends.
The last person I lost was my cousin, he was 25 and I was 17, that’s the last time I truly felt the passing of a relative.
I worked in care for many years and did a short spell in palliative care. I couldn’t cope with it so moved on to another side of care work.
Young or old, human or animals, death is death. I have witnessed some pretty terrible things in my work and my life and had to deal with awful illnesses and situations, I’ve taken it all in my stride, just not death. I think I’m a little bit too sensitive for this world. I’m basically a wimp!
Since being in England I have lost a Grandad and my two Grandmas, but since I wasn’t there, it didn’t really happen. I am in complete denial. I probably sound silly but it is a fact about me. Shaun and I went thought a very close and traumatising loss three years ago, suicide, I didn’t cope at all, I attended the funeral in a daze and as the person didn’t live close by and we hadn’t seen them in a while, I reverted back to denial. To me, they are still where they always were.
I know that there are different stages to grieving, one of which is acceptance, probably the last stage, I don’t do that. I suffer the loss and the pain, I have nightmares for months and sleepless nights, I get very anxious, I cry a lot and then one day, my mind decides that it didn’t happen.
I have heard that the loss of a pet is a way to teach children to understand death, saying that, telling someone that the person/pet has gone to heaven doesn’t make much sense to me. I can’t be with them anymore so to me it makes no difference and it doesn’t ease my pain. I understand that everyone has their own way of dealing with things.
It’s a very selfish and immature way to look at death but it’s the only way that I can cope with loss. So I don’t know how I will get past this.
Being put in front of the facts regarding Billy and having to make that choice, apparently doing “the kindest thing” has ripped my heart to shred even more than it already was.
The vet explained that Billy had contracted serious infections near his chest, as some of you know he was diagnosed with kidney disease last year although initially we were told his results were steady, slightly better than the last time he was checked up.
Kidney disease meant that anaesthetics were very dangerous for him, they were unable to just drain the infections for him and he needed a specialist operation, probably in Cambridge, this weekend.
These infections were a new issue.
She told us that there was a high chance that we could lose him during the operation and that even if they managed it, the infection would probably come back. She also told us it would cost around four thousand pounds.
Money wasn’t the issue and as terrible as it may sound I would have spent my IVF money on him, anything to save him.
Billy was a free cat, he never wore a collar, well he did, I got him a few of these medallions you can get with my phone number etc. on there, in case he got lost, they never lasted more than a day. He was dropped off me to one evening 12 years ago by a friend, I was living alone and going through a rough patch. She said, “he is what you need” and left him with me, I didn’t choose him, I guess he chose me and I fell in love with him instantly.
He never left my side from that day on. I can honestly say that I have had some of the best laughs ever with Billy, as a kitten he was crazy and we spent hours playing around. When he got a bit older he calmed down and he was just great company, a little grumpy like me, loved food, like me, loved freedom, like me. It was just us for seven years and we had a ball and then Shaun came along.
I think Shaun was more use to dogs (although we are both animal lovers) and he was a little apprehensive, Billy was a fussy cat, he didn’t like many people, I think he could sense who was good for me and who wasn’t. And sure enough, after a couple of months, Blobs decided that Shaun could indeed be his servant… Honoured! When I think about how kind and loving Shaun was towards Billy and how much Billy loved him back it makes me twice as sad to think that he has gone.
So going back to the vet and that terrible decision, Billy was traumatised every time he went to the surgery which was not often. An overnight stay was even worse.
I had to make a choice (I am the worst person to make a decision right now) put him through more suffering with very little hope, leave him in hospital for days or…
When we got him back after his first stay last week he was a mess, very shaky and so weak, he didn’t eat for four days, he could barely walk and then the next morning he used all his energy to not get back in the box for yet another trip to the vet.
By the time we got to see him a few hours later, he couldn’t stand. This was not how my Billy was.
She kept saying, low chances, more pain, you could lose him during the operation, the infection will probably come back, it’s still going around in my head. And then the dreaded word, the E word I can’t say it or write it, “letting him go peacefully”.
Selfish me said no way, I can’t make this choice, Shaun wouldn’t make the decision, the couple of friends I told couldn’t believe how quickly things had turned so badly.
This time last week he was sitting between us at dinner waiting to smell our plates to make sure none of it was for him, tapping Shaun’s head in bed to wake him up for food or to go out. And there he was, thin and so weak, Billy was always chubby, like me.
Billy didn’t fight it, he laid there with his head on my hand and Shaun stroking him, he just fell asleep very calmly, I can’t believe our Billy’s gone.
I haven’t really stopped crying yet. I feel guilt and regrets, I feel I should have tried harder, I made the wrong decision, who am I to decide what’s best, I just wish he was here now.
The house is so quiet, no one to wake us up in the middle of the night, signs of him everywhere, his house not ours, his chair, his comfy box, taking over the sofa, the spare bed or ours, his food mat on the floor with his special bowl, his little spot to drink, the windowsill he loved to sit at. His hair everywhere and on everything, a whisker here and there, us having to get up 20 times in an evening because Blobs had pushed the lounge door open and caused a cold draft to come in, another 20 times to push the door back when he went back to whichever bed he chose that time. My poor Mum who loved him so much, she always fussed over him when she stayed over, she’s aching alone back home. No more leaving the front door open when it’s freezing outside because Blobs wants to sit on the mat and look outside.
Not having children means a very quiet house, not with Billy around, even if he was asleep, he snored loudly, he was a reason to get up, a reason to get shopping, cuddles and chats. Billy always had to be at the centre of whatever was going on as you’ve seen on the Cuties’ photos in the last couple of years. Dotty’s big bro.
I never saw Billy as my “baby”, I’m not criticising people who do at all, but he was in no way compensation or replacement for a child, he was just my Billy, my boy. I loved him and he loved me back, we were family. He was another life in in the house, I was never alone with Billy here.
A big part of infertility is grieving, the loss of the ability to conceive, the knowing that no matter how hard you try it’s not going to happen without outside help and even with that help you have low chances. The loss of an opportunity to be a mother. The loss of the love of a child, a hand-painted picture, a Mother’s Day card, I grieve every month, and I have done for years now, it’s almost become normal.
Perhaps this post explains a little bit about why I can’t give up yet, my head knows the situation full well, but my heart is in denial. Whilst there is still a chance, I can’t give up hoping, I’m just not strong enough to accept it yet.
We are saving up again and hoping for another chance in the next few months, I started my journey saying that I wanted to have my three goes, what people who qualify for funded treatment receive.
IVF has taken its toll physically and mentally but time is really of the essence now so I am back with Dotty even if still a little battered following cycle one.
We’re not too far off having go two once my health is better if we go abroad, it’s not ideal to be honest because although the clinics have better reputations and they have good technology, IVF is hard enough without having to stay in a strange hotel for two weeks but we don’t have a choice right now. I’m not sure we’ll get another chance after that.
I will blog more about this another time.
This weekend has knocked me for six as you can read, I do apologise if I’m not my usual online but I will try and put a smile on my face again very soon.
Thank you for being here as always and click there to check out Billy and Dotty’s story for a smile or two.
Billy we already miss you terribly, thank you for all your love gorgeous boy and I’m so sorry x