Winnie the Pooh said it best: “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”
I have known Nimbus since the day he was born to a feral mother cat in my barn. It was a wild and crazy storm that day, which is how Nimbus, and his sister, Hailey, got their names. We put the 2 tiny kittens into a crate to lure their momma, and we caught her very quickly. I brought the whole family inside, set them up in a spare room, and let momma do her thing. She was a good mom to them, but hated humans. She was fiercely protective, and whenever I wanted to get near the kittens I had to face off against momma.
Right from the beginning, both kittens had problems with diarrhea, Nimbus worse than Hailey. Over the months that followed I tried everything, from various special diets to lots of different medicines. Nothing helped. After two years, the now-grown kittens came to Tabby’s Place. I knew there was nowhere better in the world for my babies, and I wanted to do the right thing for them.
Hailey’s diarrhea cleared up, but Nimbus had an ongoing problem. A colonoscopy showed he was born missing part of his colon, which explained his constant diarrhea. For the past few years he has been on various medicines and a special diet. For a while he was doing well. Although he still had diarrhea, he looked great (as you can see in these photos, courtesy of our wonderful volunteer John M) and seemed happy.
Over the last few months, however, Nimbus’ health woes started to catch up with him. Even our most heroic efforts — from specialists, to a fecal transplants, to every medicine we could try — failed to help. Nimbus was having serious malabsorption problems, and no matter what we did, he kept losing weight.
With no hope in sight, we made the hard decision to let Nimbus go. He was uncomfortable, and it was only getting worse. With a broken heart I went to say goodbye to my boy. I brought him a handful of treats and two plates of Fancy Feast wet food. He has been on a special diet most of his life, so he loved getting “junk food”. It was the second-to-last thing I could do for him. The last being laying him on my lap, petting him, and telling him I love him and will miss him. He passed very peacefully, surrounded by staff who love him.
It’s always hard to say goodbye to the fur babies we love. In fitting timing, Larry, awesome Tabby’s Place volunteer, sent us this following note about an experience he had:
“Recently I transported a Tabby’s Place resident to the specialist for a medical appointment. Upon arrival, I observed a lady in the waiting room with a loved animal companion. With a loving understanding, I knew that she was there to say goodbye, letting her beloved companion cross over the Rainbow Bridge.
“Other people in the waiting room would not even look at her, as if to say, if I get too close your sorrow may attach itself to me. So please, keep your distance. Not being able to do that I told her, ‘I know your sorrow. I have been there.’
“Reflecting on the loss this lady knew caused me to remember kitties I have loved. The pain of their loss was still overpowering. My tears flowed like water. Then something happened I didn’t expect. The pain lifted, and a smile lit up my face. The sorrow was gone. The love is all that I remained.”
Thank you for those words, Larry. We all know, and understand, the pain of losing our beloved babies.
Goodbye my Nimbus. I will always remember you and love you.
Goodbyes are not forever, goodbyes are not the end. It simply means I’ll miss you until we meet again.
PS from Angela: It is with tremendous sorrow that I must add that, since Karina penned this post, we have lost both Jean Valjean and Ivy — one loss somewhat expected, one utterly shocking, neither easy by any stretch of the imagination. We warm ourselves at the hope that love remains and love will rise together with our lost ones.