This is a post I never wanted to have to write.
This is a post I “should,” “rationally,” have been long prepared to write.Our brave, beautiful boy has left this world.
On Saturday, Casper traded his usual spark for a quiet ember. He’d rallied yet again, bobbling around the lobby with gusto for another miracle month. It was almost as though rumors of his imminent demise awakened Casper’s inner rebel: Oh I’m fixin’ to die, am I? You’re reeeeeal funny. I’m gonna live the living daylights out of life. Don’t believe me? Just watch.
But this Independence Day, Casper’s eyes were clearly searching for another sort of freedom. He was suffering yet another bout of painful constipation, this time unresponsive to treatment. Our vet surmised that Casper’s kidney disease, and the likely spread of his lymphoma, were causing his distress. It was time to lovingly let him go.
Jonathan called Casper’s original rescuers — hereafter WonderBarb and WonderTom — so they could come say goodbye. Their lives have been so richly interwoven with Casper’s that it was only fitting that they love him through his last moments.
Their love lengthened those moments. When WonderBarb and WonderTom arrived, Casper’s eyes lit up and his energy surged. Our team decided to closely monitor Casper for one more day. By “closely monitor,” of course, I mean “do all the important vet monitoring stuff, but, more importantly, regale with wet food, cuddles, prayers and kisses. And wet food.”
Casper’s final day was a feast of joy and a celebration of love. As we prepared our hearts for the inevitable, we marveled at the miracle of Casper. This is a cat who was supposedly stamped with a short “expiration date” from the day he arrived in early 2014.
“He has spinal cancer,” experts said. “He’ll never walk again,” they said. “He’ll make it a few weeks. Perhaps a few months, but don’t get your hopes up,” they said.
So, even as we knew, in our reasonable human brains, that every day with Casper was a “bonus” gift, we got comfortable with feeling like he’d simply always be with us. Once a miracle, always a miracle, right?
Right…but not always in the way we’d want.
Yesterday, our miracle man was ready to be released from a body that had finally worn out. Surrounded by an adoring circle of staff, volunteers and cats, Casper gently, peacefully left this world. The Tabby’s Place lobby gaped with a void in the shape of a forehead-smudged, paw-crumpled, wondrous white cat.
Yes, this is a post I never wanted to have to write.
Without lavish love from WonderBarb and WonderTom, Casper would have breathed his last all alone, outdoors, paralyzed on a February day.
Without lavish love from Tabby’s Place, Casper would have never had the chance to challenge his “expiration date.”
Without lavish love from Casper’s whole extended family of sponsors and adorers and pray-ers, Casper would have faded fast, missing out on the life-saving medical care that bought him over a year of health and laughter, love and wet food, miracle and wonder.
Without lavish love, we would have missed out on Casper.
So even as we grieve, we rejoice in the miracle that Casper was, and is, and will always be. I believe we will see him again, in the place where there is no more pain or death or crying, and every tear is wiped away. Can’t you just hear Casper triumphing, once and for all:
When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:
Death is swallowed up in victory.
O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?
Until that glorious day, thank you, amazing ones, for giving Casper a taste of heaven — and showing us the meaning of miraculous, rebellious, life-outlasting love.