My cat died on a sunny day in the dead of winter.
The emergency room parking lot, the hoods of cars glinting in the crystal day.
Lugging a cat carrier full of dying cat.
The doctor young, takes her to triage, inserts a catheter. Ultrasound.
She’s very sick, her spleen ruptured, internal bleeding. The emergency vet pauses. How far do you want to take this?
Her question is the answer.
I guess it’s time to say goodbye.
It’s the last nice thing you can do for her.
Ok. I choke on tears.
Do you want to be with her?
She squirms in my arms in the hospital’s living room, which is really a dying room.
She’s a beautiful cat, the doctor says, with those green eyes and her gentle giant stature.
I hold her wrapped in a blue towel in my lap and say, she’s nervous, you can do it now.
Her eyes will stay open, she says.
Life exiting her body, her head a heavy dead weight in my hand.
Back in the parking lot, the blue sky and sparkling sun on this mournful day.
A cat carrier empty of cat.
The phone call to my mom ending in both of our sobs. They had to put her down, I say, I’m sorry.
Two new cats who don’t really get along. A bunny who remembers her.
In the front yard, a black Rubbermaid barrel full of her once radioactive waste. After her thyroid treatment, her waste had to be held in a separate container for 90 days.
Seeing that barrel every day for the last three months when I arrive home from work.
All that remains.
This Friday I pull the barrel to the end of the driveway to be picked up by the garbage collector.