Sunday, November 30, 2008

Remembering Tibbs

It was indeed a Black Friday this year . . .

we had to put our Tibbs to sleep.

I've been a little absent from posting lately, dealing with the ups and downs of Tibbs's health this last month. Unfortunately, things just got worse. After the throwing up and hind end issues got better, he stopped eating. It looked like just a side effect of some of the medications, and he responded well to a stay at the vet for IV fluids and a soft diet. We brought him home last weekend looking better and eating. But he stopped eating again a few days later. All the tests he'd had done thus far had come back normal, and his xrays looked okay, too. The radiologist had seen something questionable, though, and Tibbs had an appointment later this coming week for an ultrasound to determine exactly what it was. We went to the vet Friday morning . . . he'd lost so much weight, and seemed so weak and frail. So many options as to what to do next . . . thank God, our vet was able to get us in immediately to the area vet hospital to do the ultrasound, so we could know what we were working with. They'd even planned to do a biopsy of the questionable area, during the ultrasound, if his blood clotting levels came back alright. But they didn't. The ultrasound revealed 3 tumors in his liver, and what looked to be an enlarged, abnormal lymphnode . . . . cancer, as best they could tell without the biopsy. There were options, of course . . . a blood transfusion, more poking and prodding, steroids just to buy a little time, chemo . . . nothing our sweet Tibbs should have to go through. A simple yet gut-wrenching choice.

We're thankful that we were able to spend time with him for as long as we needed, to stroke our handsome boy, smother him with kisses, say our goodbyes, even laugh a bit as he chirped at us a few times. But most of all, to make sure that he knew how much he was loved, that we were right there by his side and would never leave him. He was so peaceful . . . so beautiful.

We brought him home and laid him to rest in the back corner of our yard, wrapped in his favorite blue blanket and holding his favorite ladybug toy.

To say that we've been mourning these past few days is an understatement . . . it's been a scene of wet, swollen eyes and blowing noses . . . of sobbing and holding on to each other . . . of walking around in a fog. I'm not sure what's been harder: dealing with my own grief and emotions, or watching Jack deal with his. Being at home is difficult, as we see him everywhere, around every corner, in every spot that he made his own. We couldn't take it yesterday, and spent our day shopping, eating out, and catching a movie . . . a good choice.

Tibbs was just the sweetest cat. Never an ounce of trouble. He had the best cat personality . . . such a little lover. And everybody loved him, too . . . . all his vets and vet techs always made a fuss about how sweet he was and what a handsome boy we had ! He was our buddy, our little fuzzy man for these last 8 years . . . our first pet, our favorite friend.

Though we are missing him terribly - and will continue to do so for quite awhile - there were and are so many things I am thankful for in all this . . . . a delayed gratitude list, if you will.

I'm thankful that this beautiful boy picked me at the humane society those 8 years ago. I'll always remember looking at all those cats at the shelter, and then finding Tibbs . . . he was rubbing up against the window of his cage, meowing at me. I knew right then he was the one for us.

I'm thankful for all the fun and love we had with him. It's amazing what joy and comfort God's creatures can bring to us . . . this guy was truly a gift. He's one of the reasons I love being home so much, one of the things I looked forward to coming home to everyday . . . our home will be missing a little something without him.

I'm thankful for the wonderful people at our vet office and at the vet hospital. They were amazing in the midst of all this . . . everything from getting us prompt appointments, explaining everything to us, and loving up my Tibbs, to helping me clean up an accident he had on the car ride, and being so compassionate at the end. In my everyday role, I'm the person that takes care of these things for our dental patients . . . it was truly humbling to be on the receiving end of such care.

A Note from Jack: I'm thankful for so many things that Tibbs brought to my life, but the one thing that will always stand out was his nightly ritual after we'd gone to bed. At some point during the night, I would wake up to this little face, headbutting me and nudging me to move over and make room. Then, as was our routine, I would lift up the blanket for him - he would circle once (as cats always do) and make himself comfortable and cozy snuggled up next to me. He then became my new fuzzy pillow, as I buried my head in his warm fur and wrapped my arm around him. Tibbs would rest his chin on my hand, and I would fall asleep to his purring and/or snoring. There are so many things I will miss about him, but this was Tibbs at his most loving and affectionate. It was our thing. I will miss my boy.

We're truly thankful that our sweet boy is out of discomfort and is at peace. Our theology degrees aside ( ! ), we like to think that there is a heaven for pets . . . one full of tasty treats, an endless supply of milk, birds and chipmunks to watch, a soft place to sleep, and lots of kitten kisses.

Our sweet Tibbs.

1999 - 2008


Jennifer/The Word Cellar said...

oh, sweetie. i'm crying my eyes out right now. before i had my cats, i didn't get how people could be so invested in their pets. but i totally get it now and know how much tibbs was a part of your family. i miss him for you, dear friends.

Rachel said...

I will miss "babysitting" Tibbs when you guys are out of town. He was such a loving cat even to those he wasnt around much. I'll never forget last time I went to take care of him and Marty and they both ran to the sink for a drink of water from the faucet. That was so cute. I feel your pain. I still shed a tear now and then for my Gilligan (even though he was a fussy old guy). I'm gald that you were both there to say goodbye to Tibbs. I'm sure he left knowing how much you both loved him.

Shirley said...

My heart is breaking for you. I am so sorry.

allyanne said...

I'm totally crying too! Oh Melissa, that is so hard. The worst thing is that when you lose a pet, you lose a bit of your home, because they help make it what it is. It's a huge loss and creates a very real void. I'm so sorry to hear about Tibbs, but I'm glad you had eight wonderful years with him.

charlotte said...

sending hugs to you both. so sorry for your loss of dear Tibbs. xoC