A Different Kind of Adult Learning

My first adult pet was a cat named Calypso, a stray found by a friend in 1989. I have had her for 17 years, longer than I’ve been married. Today, I had to make the decision to have her put down; her kidneys were failing, and keeping her alive seemed cruel. I have never had to do this before. We chose to stay with her through the end, and it was very hard. I had been protected from the deaths of the family pets, either away at college or my first job. I understand now how my parents must have felt when Kelly, the family dog, had a stroke. I can still picture myself in the kitchen of my apartment, listening to them tell the story. This dog was such a big part of our family that we created a “Kelly calendar” every year. They had mastered their emotions when they spoke to me but I wonder if they spent the kind of day we did, napping, crying, remembering.

Today, it was my turn to take on this adult role, talking to the vet, making the decision, spending time saying good-bye, then taking time to mourn together. I posted a little memorial to her online along with a picture at flickr. She was a great cat! When we get her ashes, we’re going to have a little party before we spread them near the pond that she loved.  We’ll eat tuna fish sandwiches and drink glasses of milk, both her favorites! Cheers, Calypso!

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