Friday came and I didn't call the vet to have Isabelle put down as I said I would. I just couldn't do it. By Saturday afternoon I knew that the broken promise to myself wouldn't matter, she was so lifeless she couldn't possibly last much longer.
She slept next to our bed all night and I was constantly putting my hand on her to feel if she was still alive.
On Sunday, around mid-morning, with me by her side and the rest of the family close by, she managed a few hoarse meows, and then took her last breath.
I, of course, immediately lost it. I wasn't prepared for the way she looked and I wasn't prepared to cry so much. I had been really strong the last few days and I thought I could do this. I'm glad Jay was there. He contacted the very kind people at Dignified Pet Services and we took Isabelle's body in.
The hardest part for me was believing that she was truly gone. I kept looking at her body, expecting her to still be alive, even though I knew better. I just needed to be 100% sure that she was gone before I left her to be cremated.
In a few days I'll get a little jar with her ashes. I'm not sure what I'll do with them or how long I'll keep them.
Over the past week I had tried to take pictures of us all holding Isabelle but she just looked so sickly, it wasn't how I wanted to remember her. But here are a few of her in her more robust days:
A goofy, big-eared kitten:
An adolescent cat playing with a baby Monty:
A little bit older, enjoying the comforts of a box:
As I was editing pictures this morning, I found this recent one of Isabelle in her beloved Qwirkle box.
I don't remember taking this but the photo info on my computer shows August 16, and that would make sense. I have no idea why I took this but I'm glad I did because she still looked healthy and shiny. She deteriorated a lot in the last month and a half. This is how I want to remember her.
These past weeks have been hard. Although I feel a sense of relief, I'm also tired, emotionally drained, and incredibly sad. The house just doesn't feel the same. I've had Isabelle since I was 19. It's going to take me a while to get used to this new normal.