Missing Rudy: Coping With the Loss of Our Beloved Pet
It's been just a few days and I still can't stop getting misty eyed every time I think of him. He was a part of my life for over 17 years - and was technically my first baby before the thought of kids even entered into my mind. He was a permanent fixture in my life and now he is gone.
This past Wednesday, I watched as my cat Rudy lay dying on my bed. He had been sick for a few months - we had learned he was battling lymphoma and it was only a matter of time until his body would succumb to the disease. But Rudy was a fighter. Every time we took him to the vet, they gave him a steroid and miraculously, he bounced back. He was at my side when I watched my favorite TV shows. He jumped on the kitchen table whenever I had whipped up a surprisingly tasty chicken dish. He nudged my computer every time I didn't pay enough attention to him. And he snuggled in bed with my husband and me every single night.
When the vet told us that Rudy was not going to live much longer, I was devastated. I am not a cat person but I am here to tell anyone who doesn't own a pet that when you do, and you have one in your life for as long as we did, they truly leave a lasting impact. All Rudy wanted was affection. He'd nudge me to scratch under his chin or pet his soft orange fur. If I snapped my fingers or patted the pillow on the couch, he'd jump up and race over to my side. He instinctively knew if I was having a bad day and would climb up on top of me and give me unconditional love. Even my dad, who doesn't like animals, warmed up to Rudy. He was a beautiful cat who loved being around people. And my entire family misses him terribly.
My kids have been particularly crushed by the loss. We were all together the morning that he passed. In fact, my daughter and I stroked his fur and kissed him goodbye as he struggled to breathe. The strange thing is, it was as if Rudy had waited for all of us to say goodbye. We had arrived home late that evening and in the middle of the night, we were all awoken by a loud thunderstorm. The kids came running into my room and at that point, Rudy was still alive. Moments later, he tried to jump off the bed and fell and we lifted him up, placed his weak body back on the bed and began petting him as tears streamed down our cheeks. We could tell he was slipping away and I hugged my kids knowing that losing Rudy was going to crush both of them. My husband took my son back to his room and Becca and I woke up every hour to check his breathing.
Early the next day, my husband called the vet to make an early morning appointment and I instinctively scratched him under his chin. Without warning, his entire neck and body just gave out. When we tried to move him, he was lifeless except for his shallow breathing. While I have never seen anyone die in front of me, my family watched as our beautiful cat finally gave up his brave fight. His body then shook for a few more seconds and then he brought his front paws together as if in a prayer like state, gasped one last breath of air and in a flash, he was gone.
While my kids stayed home from school, my husband had the grim task of taking Rudy to the vet for what would be the last time. As if on autopilot, I went to work where I proceeded to cry during my morning commute and receive hugs from nearly everyone in the office. One of my co-workers even gave me her birthday cupcake because she felt so sorry for me.
By the time I came home that night, the kids were still pretty depressed. I instantly hugged them both while we cuddled and cried it out together - even my husband shed some tears. I didn't realize how much I was going to miss Rudy until he was finally gone. And all my daughter kept saying was that she wished it were a bad dream and we could just have him back.
Next week, we'll be celebrating one of the most exciting milestones in my daughter's life, her Bat Mitzvah. And while we're thrilled for her and can't wait to share the special day with family and friends, there will definitely be something missing. While Rudy wasn't going to the party, he would have been a part of the festivities, following all of us as we busily got ready for the big day. Rudy was a big part of our lives - a family member who will never ever be forgotten. Though it hurts to say goodbye, Rudy lived a full life with a family who loved him more than anything in this world. So Rest in Peace Rudy. You may be gone but your memory will forever live on in our hearts.