My Fiona Sue has been with me since 2002. She has made me laugh, collected my tears and soothed my anxieties. I adopted Fiona when I lived in St. Louis and in seminary. I found that I really did need a fur baby to help me cope with the stresses of school. I broke the rules, adopting her into an on campus apartment and although I eventually got caught, I have never been sorry that she was my Baby Girl.
When I was a minister of congregations, Fiona would frequently attended Bible Study and took care of me during Holy Week when anxiety was high. She greeted every one who came to studies and to my office. She knew when a person needed some love and would flop in front of them and ask for belly rubs, purring the entire time. She defused many tense situations, no doubt because pet therapy really is a thing.
When I got caught with Fiona in seminary, she moved in with my Mom and they had quite the bond, although she was always, my kitty…my Baby Girl.
For the past year or longer, knowing that she’s about 19 years young, she has had declining health. Her legs are weak. She has a weird eating schedule and has needed pain meds to make it through the day. Lately, the pain meds have not been making her comfortable through the entire day.
She went to the vet this week and we’re basically trying one more thing: steroids. My vet who is an amazing person, empathetic vet surrounded by a staff who really care for the critters as well as their owners. My vet says, “She’s been quite a trooper and I didn’t think she’d make it this long.” He’s not wrong. She is wibbly-wobbly when she walks. She misses the bed when she jumps.
She scared me tonight. She’s scared me before but I’m afraid that we’re very near the end. She has been a good and faithful servant. As I write this, she’s wobbled her way down the hallway and is peering around a cat tree at me.
She’s always known me. She’s always felt my anxiety and sadness and been there for loves. She is my animal Soul Mate, my Spirit Animal, my Heart and my favorite. I know you’re not supposed to have favorites, but she is mine.
I don’t know what the future holds. I don’t know how long I have left with my Baby Girl. I want more time, but I don’t want her to be in pain. I don’t want her to lose that “Fiona Spark” but when is it enough? Especially when she’s gone from having foggy, non-ish-responsive eyes, to her little face looking for me?
Why do we need pets? How do they work their way into our hearts, and become family? I’ve lost one of the most important people in my life, my Mom, why does this feel so similar? Fiona is a cat, not my Mom. The clergy part of my brain says that when you grieve one thing, you grieve everything that has come before. But that litany of a list just hurts.
I try and stuff the feelings down, but that isn’t helpful either. And yet, here I am. Writing a love letter to my cat, my Baby Girl.
I know there are typos in this and frankly, I’m just going to be ok with it. It is nearly 2am and I am filled with stress, exhaustion and sadness.
I want to apologize for a sad post. But this is life. There are ups and downs and the more we are honest with them, the better we can be honest with ourselves and others.
Hug your fur babies. Tell them you love them. Give them the best love you can and do the very best you can for them. Fiona has saved me on more than one occasion. I hope your fur babies have helped you feel whole, even as we look at the inevitable in the face.
Anytime we allow ourselves to love, in whatever manner, it has to be for the best, right? The world is a better place, no matter how we love.
Fiona’s little face is poking around the cat tree again…she’s hungry. So Fiona Sue needs to be fed. When she beckons, I go. She is my heart…and where she goes, so goes my heart.