GRIEVING THE LOSS OF SHALICO
I just feel broken. There is no other way to say it.
I've spent the last 13 hours standing next to Shalico, counting his breaths and waiting for the slightest response. Before that, I spent 11 hours alongside him in diagnostics and emergency surgery for an intestinal mass. And I wasn't alone. So many talented veterinarians and technicians were right alongside me. No one wanted to give up. Everyone was trying to give him the chance he needed to return to us. But he didn't. I replay the days and hours back in my head. My rational side knows clots and aspiration are a risk of any surgery. It could happen to anyone or any animal. But I keep asking myself why it had to happen to him? At 13 years old, my heart feels like he was cheated of time.....or maybe more so, that I was.
It hurts. It hurts like hell.
His loss cuts deeper than others and my tears keep flowing. Then I feel guilty that my deep hurt for his loss is disrespectful to others whose loss I was able to deal with in a more rational way.
When I tell myself to act like an adult and just "buck up," then it feels disrespectful to him. I keep hearing my inner voice and it is just as devastated. Any moment of silence just brings back the sadness and loneliness of him leaving.
This is grief. And I know you've all felt it too. So how do I move past it?
When I look at the words I've written above, I realize it's all about me. How I feel, how I will miss him. But in reality, it should be about him.
How silly he was, acting like a teenager who never grew up. How bobcat Morgan idolized him from the first moment she saw him - running up to him and cooing and remaining that way for a decade. How his mews rang across the sanctuary whenever he wanted anything....which was all the time. They were like adolescent tantrums followed by him pawing at the ground or towards what he wanted. And he always got his way.
Shalico has been with us since he was just a few months old. Purchased off the internet by a college student, the university gave the student a quick ultimatum. That's how Shalico found his way to us.
He was the most gorgeous and sophisticated lynx in the winter, with such a thick fur coat. And once that shed in the spring, his lanky and disheveled carefree side came out.
He and Morgan had lived with other cats at the sanctuary, but they were a special duo. She followed him like his shadow, but also was no pushover.
Morgan loved Shalico deeply, but is also independent. So I think she'll be okay on her own. And I know I will be, too. But for now, I just need to feel the sorrow, love the memories and experience the loss.
In Shalico's last days, he brought so many people together. In such a time of sadness, I've also never felt so much love and compassion. Seeing the vet teams in action, the outcry of support from all of you online, to the staff ensuring every cat at TWS still received their personal attention, it made me realize how lucky both Shalico and I are.
His time may have been too short, but surrounded by love for every moment is so much more than other animals and humans ever get to experience. And for that, I'm forever grateful.
Shalico, may you get everything you want where you are now. Morgan will hold down the fort here until it's time to be together again.
Love you my friend.