Saying Goodbye

None of us had a chance to say goodbye to Greg. It all happened so suddenly. We didn’t know what was coming. Some of the kids were angry with Greg and didn’t want to spend time with him that day. I was angry with him, and we had a less than loving exchange. We both said things I know we wouldn’t have said if we knew what was just around the corner. We were still texting when it happened. He was in the middle of a text to me when he died. It was that sudden. 

The kids and I have all felt some sadness over our last exchanges. We were in the middle of a very difficult situation, and we were all just doing our best to work through it. How different things would have been if we had known this was our last chance to say goodbye.

On April 1, we said goodbye to our dear cat, Ginger. That morning, Kayla found her outside crying. She couldn’t walk. We took her to the emergency vet and were told that she had possibly had a seizure, her kidneys weren’t functioning, and she most likely had cancer. She had been seeming unhealthy for quite some time, and it felt like the best option to have her euthanized. 

I had promised the kids that I would check them out of school if Ginger was going to die. They didn’t want to go to school that morning knowing they would possibly experience another loss.

I gathered all of the kids and brought them to the animal hospital so we could say goodbye. The hospital had set up a room for us so we could spend some final moments with Ginger. It was a sweet time that we will always remember with tenderness.  She was brought into the room, and we loved on her and told her how much we would miss her. Owen’s response was the most heartbreaking. He kept asking if we could just let her stay sick. He didn’t want to say goodbye. None of us did. 

When we felt that we had said our goodbyes, we called the vet in. Most of my kids stayed in the room, which I was a little concerned about. Two of them decided they didn’t want to be there. I didn’t blame them. 

My heart was breaking. I didn’t want to think about what was coming and the finality of Ginger’s death. I didn’t know if I could handle it. Knowing it was coming was hard too, just like the suddenness of Greg’s death. We all surrounded Ginger and talked to her as the medication was administered. When she was gone, all I felt was peace. I didn’t feel the anguish I thought I would feel. It was the same peace I felt the night of Greg’s death after everyone left the house and I was alone. The trauma of the night Greg died overshadowed the peace for a while, but it was the same peace. 

This experience was strangely healing for me. Of course, losing my cat is very different from losing my husband. But the peace was the same, and it was beautiful and unexpected in both situations. In the end, I don’t think it matters so much that we didn’t get to say goodbye to Greg. It would have been better for us all if we had had that chance, but we can’t go back in time. I think Greg knows we love him and wish things had been different that last day. I’m sure he wishes they could have been different too. 

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