We said goodbye to Essie yesterday.
My husband took her to the vet for a checkup, and blood tests revealed that she was very sick. She was just under a year old. It’s a sad final chapter, unfortunately, for many stray kittens. In our hearts, we somehow already knew; she was slow, she slept more than we thought she should for her age, she refused to use the litter box, and she frequently went off by herself. Still, when my husband texted me the news at work, I was in in shock.
We were terrified to tell our middle child. He is sensitive, just like his mama, and when he thought she went missing the other day, he was in tears. The thought of having to tell him that Essie would not be coming home was more than my heart could bear. I drove home from work in the rain, my heart heavy, one part dread, one part sadness. He was outside rollerblading with a friend, soaking wet from the rain, a towel around his neck. I pulled him inside and told him the news. For a moment, he simply stared at me. Then he said: “It’s okay. I’m used to it now.”
Essie was an animal; I definitely understand the importance of prioritizing relationships. While I’m sad, I know that my grief will be brief. After all, I didn’t know her long, and pets simply occupy a different space in our hearts than family, friends, and loved ones do. Still, I’m learning a lot of lessons these past few months about the risks that accompany willingly letting another life into my heart, and the excruciating decisions that sometimes must be made as a result. The biggest lesson I’m learning is that the risks are well worth it. Our second chance didn’t turn out like we’d hoped, but it is still a gift.
My son told me last night that he knows that Essie is now playing with her older sister Mimi in heaven. He’s happy they got a chance to meet. He said he’s sad, but he knows that we’ll see them both again someday. Because God places value on all life, and because He knows what our pets mean to us, I can’t help but think that my son might be onto something.
The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. — Isaiah 11:6