Yesterday was not a good day for me. A bit of back story.
We have 2 male cats and one or both of them pee in the house a lot. We've thought it was Mayday, but in the last year, we've come to believe it's actually Shadow. Shadow is coming up on 16 years old and last October I was told he's started the end of life health decline and to expect him to be with us about 6 to 12 months.
Well, in 2 months, we're demolishing our house and moving in with my parents for the 2 months or so it will take to build our new one. Our female cat can come with us, but my parents have a territorial male so we can't take either of our males leaving us with a big conundrum about what to do with them. 2 months of boarding even one cat would cost us thousands of dollars that we can't afford.
With Shadow at end of life, being a total scaredy cat who's only bonded to me, and the stress of whatever we figured out for him for those two months would probably kill him and he'd be miserable in the process. So I took him to the vet last night to see where his health lies, really hoping the vet would tell me that he's starting to tip over from uncomfortable to being in pain so I could put him down somewhat in peace that it's the right time for him. Except, the vet wasn't able to tell me that. He's lost a pound since October which is about 10% of his body weight, but otherwise he's in the same state he was in back then.
Due to the situation, we really have to put him down soon. We need at least a month before the move to have Mayday in the house without Shadow in order to determine if he is going to pee inappropriately or not. If there is no stray urine in the house when Shadow is gone, that means we can keep Mayday and just have to figure out what to do with him during that displacement time. If he does pee, we will likely surrender him to a no kill shelter. So for the sake of everyone else in the household, Shadow really needs to be put down within the next couple of weeks.
So I came home from that vet visit already feeling like a selfish monster. Even the vet agrees it's the best decision given the circumstances (she refuses to do convenience kills), but I've never actually put a pet down and certainly never imagined doing so before it became absolutely necessary to spare them from immediate suffering. I spent most of the evening on the verge of tears because of the guilt and sadness I feel over the realities of the situation.
Then I logged into facebook. Right smack in my face is a picture of a mother holding the baby she miscarried at 19 weeks. The baby that lived for a few minutes before dying in her hands.
I have spent the last four years very specifically avoiding knowing what a 19 week fetus looks like. But there it was, pictures, right in front of my face. Now I've seen it and I can't unsee it.
I triggered hard and started crying and hyperventilating. When I was already feeling like a monster for making the intellectual decision to cut my cats life short (but haven't done it yet), the last thing I needed was to come face to face with what my body destroyed four years ago. To have it visibly tangible for the first time. I couldn't have handled that image at my strongest of moments so being confronted with it in one of my weakest was overwhelming.
So here I am, 4 years later, and I can still be triggered to grieve. I didn't know if that could happen, but apparently it can. But that was last night. Today I'm ok. When triggered a couple of days ago, the trigger would have flattened me for a week. Now, an hour or two. I'm still a bit bummed today, but the visceral reaction is gone and I'm more bummed about knowing I have to put Shadow down in a couple of weeks than seeing the fetus I had hoped to never see.