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Sunday, December 28, 2014

Grief and Gratitude: Saying Goodbye to Samhain


As many of you know, my cat Samhain has been battling chronic renal failure for over 6 years. She was diagnosed young--at about 5 or 6 (she was a stray I got from the shelter, so they didn't know for sure), two years after I adopted her. At the time she was diagnosed, she'd gone from a tiny 7.5 lbs to an alarming 5.5 lbs. At the time, my vet (who I adore) said she probably would have 3 years. But she underestimated the stubborn nature of my little fighter.

A couple of weeks ago, we did another set of blood tests and the results weren't good. Samhain was back down to 5.9 lbs and had become a little anemic, and developed a heart murmur. Dr. Baker said that we might have 2-3 months, February or March...maybe April, if we were lucky.

We started her on a few new meds for nausea and such and she seemed to be doing better, and I bought her a heated cat bed which she loved, since she was always cold. I canceled my trip to Pantheacon in February, and prepared to fight the good fight as long as I could.

But in this as in all things, Samhain apparently had her own ideas. She had a good day today, seemed just as always, and ate just fine. I fed her upstairs at 4 and went down to take a nap. When I went back up at 5, she was curled up in her heated bed...but she was gone. I think her heart just gave out.

Mine is threatening to do much the same right now.

All cats are special, but Samhain was one of the REALLY special ones. She was loving and sweet, never holding a grudge even when I insisted on sticking her with a giant needle. She would sit on my lap or my legs when I wrote. I'm really going to miss her.

But despite all the struggles, it was worth every moment. Every day  with her was a gift.






Goodbye, Samhain. I love you. Thanks for coming to stay with me for a time. See you on the other side.

28 comments:

  1. My heart really goes out to you. I saw the post on facebook when you mentioned Samhain was not doing good. :( These special angels in furcoats really do imprint on our hearts. We didn't know our Loki dog had some sort of aggressive cancer. We took her in on Dec 23rd because she was looking bloated and found thru xrays she was very sick and would have had maybe 24 to 48 hours left. We were able to say our goodbyes but it was like being hit by a whirlwind. We didn't see it coming as she was such a healthy old girl. We gave her 6 amazing years and we miss her so. It's not fair that these fur angels are only on the Earth with us for such a short time. They do leave their pawprints on our hearts. Hugs to you Deborah! My eyes are tearing up just reading your post about sweet Samhain. Love and light to you and your rainbow bridge angel...

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    1. Hugs to you too, Amber, and I am so sorry about your loss.

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  2. Deborah, I am so sorry. We lost our little Pookie to renal failure 3 years ago after fighting a good fight, and it's so painful. She taught me a lot through the way she handled dying. I'll be keeping you both (and your other cats) in my heart. <3

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    1. Thanks, Lauren, and my condolences on your loss too.

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  3. Envisioning light around all of you.

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  4. So incredibly sorry for the loss of your fur-baby. Sending love and light to you and yours.

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  5. I'm so very, very sorry for your loss.

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  6. I'm so terribly sorry for your loss, Deborah. Our furbabies bring so much joy to our lives and it is devastating when they cross over.

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  7. I'm so sorry, Deborah. All my love to you as you grieve and come to peace with her loss.

    Farewell, Samhain. Say hello to my lost ones for me.

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  8. I am so sorry for your loss.

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  9. So sad. We can see from the photographs you shared how special and beautiful she was.

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  10. What a loss! What a precious beautiful kitty! What lovely tributes you've given Samhain! However, when a cat has a heart condition like a heart murmur and they also have other health issues, it's not surprising that Samhain slipped away. My vet said that cats with heart murmurs can die at ANY time. I'm going through a similar experience right now with my Desi. He has an inoperable tumor on his jaw, likely kidney failure, and a heart murmur. His time his limited. You are so fortunate. You had a lot of good years with Samhain. She loved you. That is something you can carry in your heart forever.

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    1. The heart murmur was secondary to the renal failure, Vonnie, and not unusual. But when I took her in this morning, the vet said she thought it was likely that Samhain threw a clot (these cats can also have high blood pressure). At least is was fast and painless. You know, except for me. So sorry about your Desi.

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    2. Losing a beloved kitty is terribly hard. A terminal cat's decline is so unpredictable. I think that anytime a cat is terminal that's a clue that the cat might not live long no matter what we do to support that cat in their decline. I don't think there's an ideal way to prepare for loss because it seems that there is never enough time even with warning. Deborah, it sounds like you did everything you could for Samhain. You gave her the best of care! She was a well loved kitty! That should give you peace of mind.

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    3. This is one of those rare cases where I really have nothing to second-guess myself about. She had the best care, and tons of love, and there was never going to be a good time to lose her. I'm mostly trying to be grateful that it was easy for her, if not for me.

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  11. I'm sorry for your loss. It's so hard when they pass, even when we think that we're prepared.

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    1. Part of the problem was that I wasn't prepared. Not for now, not for this fast.

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    2. I understand Deborah, I didn't mean to imply you were. One of mine was diagnosed with congestive heart failure in October of 2012. He wasn't supposed to live through the night. He did and is on meds now. I know I'm on borrowed time. I've nearly lost him 3 more times since that diagnosis, each time I think I'm prepared for the time, but I'm not. I'm sorry for your loss of your adorable kitty.

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    3. I'm glad your baby is hanging in there. *hugs*

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  12. I am so sorry for your loss and I truly understand your grief. I still miss my Siamese, Precious.

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  13. Such a difficult thing to deal with. Love and healing thoughts for you and for the other cats whom I'm sure will miss her too. *HUGS!*

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  14. Oh sweetie... I am so, so so sorry! She was such a beautiful girl, and obviously she loved you as much as you loved her. Biggest hugs and healing light!

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  15. Deborah, I'm so very sorry that Samhain had to leave. You gave her so much love that she must have stayed as long as she could. I truly hope that that mutual love you shared sustains you. She was such a beautiful little girl. Thanks for sharing her with us.

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  16. My heart aches for you. My first Australian Cattle Dog made it just past his fifteenth birthday (about that breed's natural lifespan) with renal failure.

    Mary Anne in Kentucky

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