The die is cast

China, February 3, 2010.

I have scheduled China’s final visit to the vet for 5:30 PM today.

Yesterday was a blessing. I had some errands to run, but when I came home China hobbled into the living room and climbed into my lap — and stayed for about 90 minutes. Mostly she slept, and purred just a little bit. I stroked her and cried and eventually just placed my hand on her back. Finally she got up and wandered off.

I opened a can of gourmet beef, and she ate a little bit. Later, Fran made some salmon dip and gave China the juice from the can, with little ground bits of salmon mixed in. This was always a special treat for China, which she would guard ferociously. But last night, she barely licked at it for a about a minute before walking away. We covered it up and tried giving it to her again this morning, but she showed almost no interest in it. Fran thinks that these last few days she’s been eating a little bit only to please me.

I took her to the vet this morning for some more fluids and we took her temperature again, and it was 97.5 — better than Monday, but still seriously low. The vet asked me to consider that I was just prolonging China’s suffering. In my heart, I knew she was right.

So I came back home, and asked Fran what she thought. It’s as hard for Fran to make decisions as it is for me (we are both INFPs). She said, “I’m just going to miss her so much,” and we both cried. Then we went and sat with China and petted her. She didn’t even purr. Fran said, “She always purrs for you, Carl. This, to me, is the sign that she’s ready.” I nodded, and then we cried some more. And then I called the vet and set the appointment for this evening.

Pray for us.

N.B. This is the second of four posts on the illness and death of China, and my grief over her passing. The first entry was The Lion in Winter and the next entry is China (1989-2010).

Living with Hospice
A Gift for Lorraine
Completing the Hospice Journey
Seven Lessons I'm Learning on the Grief Journey
  • judith quinton

    You and your wife are in my prayers.
    I care, Carl.
    Your love for this animal friend of yours speaks volumes to me about your relationship to God.
    Something God showed me ten years ago…
    We have only to look at St. Francis to see that those closest to God are also close to the smallest of His creations.

  • Darrell Grizzle

    I’m glad you and Fran will be with China when she journeys over the rainbow bridge. I know from experience that it will be difficult, but I also know that it will be a sacred time. You and Fran and Rhiannon will be in my prayers and, as always, in my heart.

  • TLH

    My heart is in about ten million pieces for you and China, but it is the right thing to do. LOVE HER and set her free of any pain and suffering she might be in.

    :wipes tear:

    God with you, always

  • Carl McColman

    Yeah, my heart is in about ten million pieces too, right now, and my eyes are pretty leaky. But as I write these words, I’m having to balance my laptop on the armrest of my chair because my precious girl is, once again, in my lap.

  • TLH

    Carl, darling, leave the laptop. I beg humbly in China’s name, on her non-English speaking behalf.

    Your little lady *needs you.*

  • jean wise

    My heart aches for you. My daughter is a vet and she says this is one of the hardest things she does. You are losing a much loved family member. Savor today with her. blessings!

  • Raven~

    She gave you the sign, she gives you her blessing.

  • Judith

    Carl and Fran and China, having had to make this decision myself, I can empathize with your feelings today. Many blessings on you all as you say your farewells to China and send her over The Rainbow Bridge. Hugs and Peace!

  • Amy

    Thanks, Carl, for letting us know. You’ve been in my thoughts since your first post on China, and I’ve wondered how she is doing…how you are doing…what decision is being made. Being also an INFP, I can truly commiserate. My thoughts are with you as you make this painful journey. No matter how you label it, how you describe it, how you justify it….death still involves a profound loss……

  • John Mack

    God bless you at this most difficult time. Lots of love to you!

  • Soltera

    Warm the cozy lap
    Broad the blessed Hand where the
    Mystic kitten purrs

  • Soltera

    I let my soulmate dog, Drifter, go 3 days too long. I will never forgive myself (weeping as I type). May you have the courage of Frodo, Carl. She’ll be okay, and the Shepherd will take good care of her while she waits. He CAN herd cats!

  • Carl McColman

    And I’m so afraid I won’t be able to forgive myself for taking her to the vet (he says, weeping as well). I think we have to trust our animal friends who are so much more forgiving than we are.

  • Greg

    So sorry to hear about this, Carl. 20 yrs! A good long life, with an obviously caring father. May you and China and your family both find peace in the coming days.

    And animals do forgive…quite a bit more easily than us humans sometimes I would say…

  • Afterthought

    God bless you.

  • Laura

    There aren’t any eloquent words I can say. Know that we care about all of you there.

  • Harmony Isle

    My heart aches for you. China’s love for you will be with you always.

  • Gary Snead

    My heart sits by you-all as you and your family move China to history, knowing she’ll always be part of your story. I noticed an interesting , perhaps serendipitous juxtaposition; today is the feast of St. Blaise, a patron of animals. Death is one of the least discussed means of healing, although indeed it can be a kind of healing. Breath deeply as you continue to take life by the throat and help keep us from choking on the sharp bones of dead words and ideas we still try to inhale. Good night sweet friend.

  • Carl McColman

    Thanks, Gary. I had missed the St. Blaise connection; he gets so overshadowed by St. Francis of Assisi.