Echo – Part 3 – The Finale

24 10 2008

Echo settled into a nice, quiet, Pretty, Pretty Princess life down there in Florida. She caught gecko’s and brought them, as gifts, to my dad, her fantastic food-giving Prince. She sunned herself daily. Long before this time, we had progressed from the “first plate” of dinner issue to having a bag of cut up chicken in the fridge. Always. Even if there was chicken available, you could always get love by giving her some nice deli turkey. She even came out from hiding for me a few times when I laid out the goods. (Hey, at that point, I’d take the sight of her as love for me no matter what it took!)

The only new bane of her existence, besides me, was a cute little puppy named Dewey (above), even worse than Clyde (also above). My sister and brother-in-law’s new puppy. Poor, poor Dewey. Totally puppy like, she pounced around the house. Trying to sniff and lick everything into being her friend. And again, Echo wanted NONE OF THAT. And again was sequestered to the bedroom. But this was okay for her. Around this time, we realized she didn’t care if she was kept in the bedroom. This was one of her favorite places to hang with my dad. When he went to bed, he would read before going to sleep. On his back. And pretty, pretty, Princess? Well, she would position herself right on top of his stomach, behind the book or magazine. Quite content. Like a Queen holding court. And when dad was ready for bed? She’d hop off and sit by the night stand so he could pet her a little before he fell asleep. She did the same patient sitting when he played card games on the computer.

My parents moved into another home in Florida just last year. Just over a year ago. With the Pretty, Pretty Princess in tow. She was mad at first. I guess she thought her fantastic food-giving Prince wasn’t with her at first, but soon she realized he was there. And things were good. For about 8 months. Then it all went into the toilet.

I got a call from my mom sometime in late April or early May, right after I had visited. Echo wasn’t well. She was going to the bathroom on the leather furniture. One chair in particular. And we didn’t know why. But we waited it out. I visited my parents in April. And I should have known. But I couldn’t face it… I wanted to put her last video here, but it wouldn’t work… the pic is basically all she did in the video…

This was the very first time, in Florida that Echo spent an EXTENDED period of time in my presence. The last few times, if there were no other people or Clyde or Dewey involved, she’d show up, eat some chicken, beg for my dad’s affection, and then disappear. But this time, this ONE, dang time… She spent an hour or two with her Prince, me and Mom in the den. I was terrified the whole time to speak. To move. To even breathe. I was so happy to just see her out and about that I didn’t see what was in front of me. A sick kitty.

All she did was lay on my mom’s Croc. Laying on shoes was always normal. She was a strange cat. But the way she was laying and the lack of any movement at all, combined with the fact that someone other than the “Prince” and mom were there, that was not the same.

So, more phone calls came. She wasn’t changing. She went to the vet. He had no idea. But had some suggestions. They didn’t work. And then came the day that Mom finally told me a few things that made me come to a decision that still, now, months later, has me in tears. Echo ended up – somehow – in the spare bathroom bathtub. NEVER has that been “her” place to hang out. But she was there and there were some litter box issues involved. After that first shower curtain issue, Echo abandoned the bathroom as a hang out.

And now my girl wouldn’t jump up on the back of the couch to look outside, and more importantly, she wasn’t spending that quality time with her Prince like she always had. She couldn’t jump up onto the bed to lie on his stomach. I nearly died hearing that one point. And it’s killing me now to type all this out. But at that point, hearing that she wouldn’t lay with her Prince while he read his magazine… Made me come to the most awful decision ever. In the midst of the tears, I told Mom to put her down. Mom basically refused, and said they’d wait it out a while. I told her no. That Echo was NOT herself, and that was NOT what I wanted. If she wasn’t herself and we couldn’t easily fix it, we should end her misery. NOW. I just knew that if Echo couldn’t be with my dad like she always was all the time, then she was not MY ECHO, my baby. I just KNEW that she was in pain somehow and somewhere, and as much as it killed me to say it out loud, and it took weeks of debating, I wanted her to be put down.

Fast forward a few weeks. I’m at rugby and I called home about something random. Mom called back during practice. My family KNOWS when rugby practice happens. And they know not to call then. If they do and I happen to see my phone, I worry. But on that night, it was a great choice on Mom’s part.. I ended up returning the call early the next day. Mom tried – WOW, did she try – to make it through the conversation without revealing anything… but then she broke… into tears…. and told me that the day before, while she was out, my dad had come home and realized that Echo was really sick. And made THAT DECISION. He called Mom’s cell phone, told her not to come home for a while.

He took her to the vet. Had her put down and arranged for her to be cremated. He then went home and cleaned up all of her toys, dishes, cat litter. Everything. So that my mom wouldn’t see it. The vet, in his final examination, found some tumors…

I asked my mom to set aside two or three of her favorite toys. One that she had since I first had her – a catnip mouse (below) – and a ball… the Sylvester the Cat oven mitt? Long gone, and as much as we have searched, we have no idea where it is. We’ll find it some day…

Can I just tell you how much I LOVE my parents for their love of this crazy cat? I loved the fact that she loved them so much. I don’t think Mom thought Echo loved her. But I know that she did. She loved them both, more than she ever loved me. And I LOVE that. I care that they loved her. And gave her the best life possible when I couldn’t and they tried so hard to see past her poor little faults and give her chicken and turkey whenever she wanted.

So, the end of the story is my dad, the Prince of this story, finally realized it was time. And it hit Mom – and me – harder than I ever imagined. I can’t tell you the number of crying phone calls we had, weeks after they put her down. Mom is a saint. For dealing with and then falling in love with that quirky cat, Echo.

But it’s still not done. They had Echo cremated. And I wanted to bury her the last time I was visiting. But at the same time, my family was in town from Australia. And Mom said No. So I understand that, but as the car approached the house, I started crying. And I couldn’t walk into the garage. My dad came to me, held my arm, and said we’d go into the house together… All weekend, I avoided the question of where the ashes were… And then… in the room I sleep in… that same den where she spent that last hour or 2 that I saw her… I notice this….

Which contained this:

In December, at Christmas, when I am down at my parents house for the holidays, we are going to bury her. Right below the window in the den that she loved to sit in and people & animal watch. And maybe then I can start to think of her and not cry. Because I’m just not there yet, I’ve tried to finish this up three times and had to stop because I was crying too much. And as I finish this post, here at work, I’m crying at my desk…

I miss you, bunny, and I’ll love you forever.



2 responses

30 12 2008

You made me cry! I’m so, so sorry.

30 12 2008

Oh, I’m sorry! Those posts seem to have that effect, lol. Thank you for reading it! I’m quite happy that I wrote it. It helped. 🙂

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