Morning Air

I can say, with little hesitation, that I’ve just had one of the best weekends of my life. Right now, only the weekend of my wedding stands out as as moving, as heartfelt, as significant.

I honestly can’t remember much of Friday now, except falling into bed somewhat late, and deciding to pack in the morning. I think I must have simply read most of the evening – Riding The Bus With My Sister is such a good book.

Saturday, my alarm clock sounded its frazzling beeps at the usual time. I whacked the heck out of Hello Kitty, ready to start the weekday Snoozing Process´┐Ż (hit snooze until the cats start bellowing for food), when I remembered that 1) it wasn’t a weekday, and 2) I needed to get moving if we were going to be on the road by eight.

I got up, showered, scrambled around, woke Darl, encouraged him to scramble, and by 8:30am, we were both downstairs, cleaning out the back seat of the Honda and breathing deeply of the pseudo spring air. We packed Kokoro in his carrier, complete with his favorite afghan, and hit the road.

The trip to Indiana was quite lovely, despite my anxiety over what we’d encounter on the other end. The sun shone very brightly, warming the inside of the car immensely. When we stopped for gas, we both marveled at the novelty of walking around outside without coats. It’s funny how, in the long, dark months of winter, one completely forgets what spring is like. And that’s why spring is such a miracle, isn’t it? It’s always so new.

Walking up to mom’s door, D stopped me. “Hold on a minute… smell that.” We both paused on the damp walkway, and breathed deeply. The air smelled wonderful, like life renewing.

Mom was so happy to see us. In her eyes, I could see the concern and grief that have been her constant companions since Wednesday. We unloaded Kokoro, who was thrilled to leave the confinement of his carrier. He mewed a little and rubbed on each of us. Good baby. I made my way to the bedroom, where I knew Rigor was.

Anthony was sitting with him. Rigor was curled in a little foam pet bed – but not curled like a cat normally would be, with legs tucked in and eyes closed. He looked limp, as if he had been placed in the bed and arranged to look as if he were resting. His head was down, and lying on one side. His eyes were open.
I thought, he’s dead…they didn’t tell me he died…they waited ’til I got here. I sucked in my breath.

Timidly I, reached out to him. “Rigor?” I touched his back, stroked his fur. My tears fell on my hand. The instant I touched him, I saw his chest move, in and out, slowly, steadlily. A warm wave of hope began to wash over me.

And so, that is how I first saw my Rigor, when I arrived on Saturday. The cat I left Sunday evening was very, very different.

By Sunday evening, he was lying with his head up a large percentage of the day. He ate bits of his prescribed soft food ravenously for a very weak kitty. He accepted cc after cc of water. He lifted himself from his bed to indicate that it was litter box time, and after using the box, tried to walk back to the bedroom. In fact, I watched him struggle to his feet several times, looking for food, looking for water. For a cat who was all but pronounced dead on Wednesday, he looks absolutely robust.

It felt good, and right, to care for Rigor. I’m sure the vet had the best of intentions for all of us when she urged euthanasia on Wednesday, but this is a cat who wants to be here. He lets us know what he wants – he is very involved in his own care. Sunday morning, he purred, softly and weakly for a Siamese with a loud voice, but he purred. He is so glad mom brought him home on Wednesday. And I am so, so, happy that I took this weekend to care for him. I spent so much time observing him, and assessing his needs, that I became attuned to him again. We napped together, then we’d wake and have a snack. I talked to him about old times and by the end of the weekend, I made some plans with him for the future. I’ll be back this coming weekend, I told him. I charged him with the task of gaining a pound by then.

For now, it’s one day at a time. And I am grateful for every day that Rigor wants to be on this earth. As long as he lets us know he is happy being here by eating well and enduring sub-Q fluids, by trying to get around by himself and looking you in the eye and purring, we will make sure he is able to do so.

My Rigor is the Siamese in SiameseMeg.