Goodbye Simon

This might be the saddest post I've ever written here. It sure feels like it to me.

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When Tucker passed away last fall, it was sudden and shocking. The poor little guy never gave any hint of his pain until it was too late. Tuck had a urinary blockage.

The pain Simon has been going through was entirely different.

Simon was lost without his brother, and despite my attempts to cheer him up or at least help him through his grief, nothing seemed to work. With each passing week, he just became more sad.

I can understand why. Consider what he'd lost:

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Looking back on photos I've taken of Simon through the years, it was hard to find many of him by himself unless I'd coaxed a pose out of him. He and his brother were a duo since birth.

I can't imagine how Simon processed the loss of his brother. Did he think Tucker was hiding? Did he think Tuck left because he'd been bad, or because Tuck didn't love him? I have no clue. I just know Simon suffered.

Tucker was the strong one. Independent. Even though they were the exact same age, born from the same litter, Tuck was definitely the big brother. He was Simon's rock, you might say.

What you wouldn't notice in those photos until I point it out is that, in almost every one, Simon is either on top of Tucker or pushing against him. Tuck would find a cozy spot, and Simon would join him. Tuck might eventually move on to another cozy spot if he wanted to be alone, but he was sure to find Simon curled against him again a few minutes later. It was inevitable.

On a day when Tuck really wanted to be left alone, this could be downright comical as Simon would follow him from place to place all afternoon long.

Even if there wasn't room for both of them, Simon would find a way to curl up with his brother.

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I think that animals can connect in ways people can't always understand. I remember sitting on the couch with Tucker at my side and Simon in my lap. Tucker let out a yawn and a coo, and Simon started to purr. Just the sound of his brother was enough to make him happy.

After Tucker passed away, I knew Simon was going to need lots of extra love and attention, but even though I work out of home, meaning that I'm here all the time, it just wasn't enough. He fell into depression that seemed to worsen with each passing week. Through the winter, he was needier than I'd ever seen him - which, for Simon, is saying a lot. By spring, I was starting to cancel plans with friends so I could stay with him. This continued to happen more and more as time passed. I'd lie to my friends and say Simon was sick and that I needed to keep an eye on him, but the truth was that he was sad and I couldn't bear to leave him alone. I lied because I didn't think people would understand. How could they?

Even months after Tucker passed away, Simon would still mope around the loft, constantly sniffing and searching. Could he really still be looking for his brother? He would come to me and get my attention as if wanting me to help him search. He'd stare at me with a confused look on his little kitty face.

And then there was the crying. Sometimes it was an inquisitive coo, as if to say "Helloooo? Where did you go?" Other times, Simon would sit at my feet and yell, as if demanding that I do something, but what? More often, his cries were a sad "Mewww" as he'd lay his head on the floor. He'd search in the bathroom, then under the bed, and then it was back to the moping and sadness.

We went to the vet on Monday. I thought he might be sick, but the vet couldn't find anything wrong with him. I talked with the vet again days later about what to try next.

There comes a point where you've done all you can do, and I believe we reached that point, which brings me to today.

Today is an awful day because today I said goodbye to Simon. I just couldn't bear to see him suffer any longer.

I made the painful decision to have him euthanized, and I didn't feel bad about it. Maybe I should, but I didn't. I definitely felt sad - so terribly sad - but not bad. What I do feel bad about is that Tucker lived a good life until his dying day, whereas Simon's life had turned into one of sadness. Without his brother, he was lost, lonely, and scared. We reached a point where it became obvious the situation here would only get worse with time.

This morning, I said my goodbyes and dropped him off at the vet. And then, at nearly 2pm this afternoon, several hours later...

...a twist of fate.

I got a call. The vet had one last thing he wanted to try and needed my permission.

A woman who works at the clinic has an older lonely cat. She took a liking to Simon and wants to know if she could see if he and her cat would get along. We made a deal. Basically, I agreed that - hell yes, she can adopt him (YAY!!!!), so long as she doesn't let him suffer in depression if it doesn't work out. She knows his situation and seems to think that maybe his sadness and her cat's loneliness could make a perfect match. If he clicks with the other old cat, then he's found a new, happy home, and like I said - if it doesn't work out, she won't let him suffer.

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This has been an emotional roller-coaster of a day that hopefully ends an emotional roller-coaster of a chapter in my life - these last eight months - and I can't honesty say this chapter has been a good one. I lost one of my best friends to illness and the other to depression. And yet, this chapter comes to an optimistic close rather than a tragic one. Tucker didn't suffer when he died. I'll always be thankful for that. And Simon wasn't euthanized. He's hopefully found a new feline friend and loving home, and I'll always be thankful for that as well.

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Goodbye Simon.

Now it's my turn to mope around the loft... but I'll be ok. Unlike Simon, I can understand this loss and appreciate that it is for the best.

::::: | Saturday, Jun 16 2007 at 2:58 PM
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Samuel John Klein said:

Oh, my word. Those kitties were so into each other. They were famous palsyou can see that just from the pictures.

There's few things sweeter than seeing two cats grooving on each other's company. Some think cats aren't loyal, social beings. After the cat experience I have had (and the documentary evidence you provided) it's obvious how completely wrong they are.

And that shweet lady who'll take Simon on...what an angel. What a creative beautiful sort of hospice.

Lovely post.

::::: | June 16, 2007 4:13 PM

Sharkbait said:

That totally made me cry. I am five kinds of sad now. But a little hopeful too. I really wish that it will work out for everybody.

::::: | June 16, 2007 10:59 PM

Michael J. West said:

I have two cats who are brother and sister, and I understand what you mean about them connecting. In our case, if one of the cats is behind a closed door, the other will paw at the door and whimper until the other comes out.

I was so sad for you and for Simon...but by the end, when it became clear that it was so much less sad than it could have been, I felt uplifted. I know it's still sad for you, but it's got to be better to know that Simon still has a shot at happiness.

::::: | June 18, 2007 4:57 AM

riye said:

That is so sad. What a thing to have to do. I almost went that route with one of my cats but I was very very lucky and he snapped out of it after three months (horrible months with crying, acting out, hosing everything in sight, and antidepressants [I don'�t recommend them--�the cat went nuts and I was tempted to take them myself]). I�'m keeping my fingers crossed that things work for Simon and his new family. You take care.

::::: | June 18, 2007 12:23 PM

Christa said:

It's easy to read blogs day in and day out and slightly disconnect from the writer until there is a very human moment.

I'm sorry. I know this is hard and I've loved the relationship between you and your very human cats.

As always, thanks for sharing.

::::: | June 19, 2007 6:46 PM

Gretchen said:

I have been thinking about this post all day, since reading it this morning. I don't cry at movies very often - but I always cry during any scene when a pet loses their owner or someone close. Its just so sad because the pet can't comprehend or reason, but they feel a very real sense of loss.

I hope Simon is enjoying his new home and new feline buddy. Will you get to visit?

::::: | June 21, 2007 10:29 PM

Michele M said:

Oh Rob - I am sorry I didn't get around to reading this until today (it took unemployment to give me time to cathc up on my reading).

I am so sorry for your loss - of Tuck, and also for Simon, although you have done the right thing.

May your heart heal over with good memories.

::::: | June 29, 2007 9:39 AM

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