We went on vacation this week and got home last night. While we were unpacking my dad's cat Louie (also known as Lucifer) snuck outside. I saw him and went to put him back in the house, but hesitated. Was this really our cat? This cat was so thin, Louie was a big fat cat. This cat was so quiet, Louie would have fought me picking him up. It turned out that it was my dad's cat, just a really sick version of my dad's cat. Between Saturday when we left and Wednesday when we got back he had become an entirely different animal.
I immediately asked my dad what was going on and he said that Louie hadn't been eating much and that he was keeping an eye on him. I think because he was with him every day he just didn't see how drastic the change was. I went into our apartment and started to cry, Louie was dying and nobody realized it.
By this morning there was no doubt, and when I took him to the vet this afternoon I thought he almost passed away in the car. It turns out that he was in kidney failure and so my dad and sister had to put him to sleep. John and I were there, though not in the room, because we had taken him to the vets. My sister was so upset, but I felt so much peace about the decision because I had seen how much he was suffering through the course of the day.
After we left and got into the car, John started asking where Louie went, and that is when the business that I feel truly unprepared for started.
I honestly didn't know what to tell my two year old son. I am not religious and I don't believe in heaven, so I told him the most peaceful thing I could think of. I told him that Louie went to go live in the sky where he would be able to feel better. John told me that he was going to have to be careful not to fall. I thought, "well that was easy."
Then my dad got into the car (we had to go back and get my sister's car because she was too upset to drive herself home.) John told my dad that Louie went to live in the sky and my dad told him that Louie was in the sky living with God. John then asked, "Who is God?" "Will he make Louie better? Will Louie want his food again?"
My poor dad had no idea what to tell him about God. He knows I am not a believer and didn't want to step on any toes. I had no idea what to tell him because everyone in his life except me are believers and I don't want to rob John of the chance to decide for himself. In the end we told him that he would learn about God later. He brought Louie and the sky up about 25 more times throughout the evening. He never seemed distressed, just curious about what happened. He even asked me if God was going to fix Louie with a saw and a drill. Children are so honest and open, but I wasn't prepared fr such thoughtful questions.
I guess I really need to start figuring out what Josh and I are going to tell John so that we can present religion to John in a well rounded, unjudgemental and comfortable way. Religion is such a hot button topic in my home since Josh is a Christian and I am probably what one would consider a Pagan. The thing about it is, I have been avoiding religion for so long due to my distaste for my experiences with Christianity, that I really need to solidify my beliefs so that I have some ideas to share with John. I am totally comfortable with him learning two points of view and deciding for himself, but I need to make sure that I understand what my point of view is.
So, it was an eventful, sorrowful and thoughtful day. I have a cloud over my heart for Louie but I do know that he was suffering and release was the best option for him.