No, I am not writing this letter because you are gone. I want to start there so as not to alarm anyone.
I am writing this letter because you are still here and I have to do something to calm myself while I wait to bring you home. I cannot look back to any moment in my adult life and not see you. Always present. Always greeting me with a purr and more love than any one person deserves. Always there looking at me like I was the most fantastic human to ever be born on this earth.
Today you are in critical care, however, in my humble opinion you are on an upswing. No one knows you like I do (or like your Daddy does) — but most especially like I do. People have been trying to bury you since you had your first unexplained neurological episode at eight years old. You will be 18 years old on May 15th. Somehow you always manage to baffle the “experts” — just yesterday the doctor that took your x-ray last May (the one we did not like at all!) was shocked to see you waiting in the lobby … still alive.
The last time they gave you moments to live was last May with this doctor. You have always proved them wrong. I keep praying you can prove them wrong one more time.
Every phone call I have had for the past twelve hours, they have talked to me with these sad voices; preparing me for the worst. I’m used to it where you are concerned. You have taught me a lot about faith and that mustard seed. Somehow, you always seem to have enough for both of us.
I’ll be beside myself with grief and you’ll be like, “Hey, Mom I’m just going to walk around the room using the wall to hold me up for a bit, but I’ll get the hang of this again.” Somehow, you always do. I am not looking forward to the day when you don’t.
Last night I gave you some medicine the doctor thought might help your hip and back pain. Within an hour you were losing your mind. Literally. Noises I have never heard you make. I walked into that hospital and threw that medicine at the first person I saw and said, “What is this shit!?!” It was not one of my better moments.
You had some seizures and some valium and some seizures and some valium throughout the night. The doctor tried to tell me this morning before I saw you at 9:15 that you had had a light seizure at 9:00. Apparently she thinks a leg tremor is a seizure. I call that Boomer’s standard kitty dream. You have been shaking your hind legs longer than I can remember. If that’s a seizure … you’re definitely on the upswing.
I have always said I would not perform heroics on you at this age. Both your Daddy and I believe every day with Boomer is a gift. A true gift. You have outlived every Persian I have ever known. You have this attitude that has always been of the mind set that you will go when you’re good and ready. I don’t think it’s going to be in a critical care box with an IV in your arm far away from your Mommy. I just don’t.
You were born at my Dad and Sandy’s house in Denver. We lived in New York, Texas, back to New York and finally California — we have driven across country spending the night in Lead Hill, Arkansas — Kulpmont, Pennsylvania — Chicago — Some random hotel in Nebraska.
My favorite stop with you and Wizard was our four hours in Arne’s Royal Blue Hawaiian Motel outside of Las Vegas. In fact, it was in Barstow, where the world’s largest thermometer is located. I had to stay in a motel, so I picked this one. It had a bed you could put a coin in. Creepy. I left you and Wizard in there long enough to get some food at the local A&W Root Beer. I came back and both of you were asleep on the coin operated bed. We left and kept driving to Los Angeles.
All the times you scared your Daddy and me. One night Daddy thought an owl had come and taken you off the balcony. I am not sure where he dreamed that up, but it was a real fear. He really thought you were somewhere in an owl nest being served as the morning breakfast. Thank goodness he was wrong. You were just fast asleep in his jeans cabinet. I think he wanted to shake you when he found you.
Or the time we thought you got out and you were just sitting in the soup pot in the cabinet. Or all the times you jumped up while I was cooking and singed your tail. The time you got on the stove and just stuck your face in a pot of spaghetti sauce. Or all the times you dragged the bread off the counter and ripped it open for a snack across the kitchen floor.
I have screamed and cried and lamented thinking about losing you for at least 10 lives already. Some of them imagined (like the owl) and some of them real — like all the times you had seizures or something that took you down for a couple of days.
I don’t know what the next twelve hours will bring, Boomie. I hope we can bring you home and be with you a little while longer. I am trying to stay strong not only for you, but for the Dumplings. I can’t fall apart right now.
When I saw you at 9:15, you looked at me with those big eyes. Everyone in that room knew you knew who I was. You immediately responded to my voice. You nudged me. They said you had not been that alert all morning. We both know it’s because you don’t like any of those people at that hospital. Those are not your people. Daddy and I are your people and you want to be home with us. Wizard was The People’s Cat — you, Boomer, are my cat. You always have been.
If you can just hang in there with the people you don’t really like as they try to make you stronger — Daddy and I will come and get you this afternoon. We’ll bring you home to have a turkey snack and tonight or tomorrow night maybe you can help Daddy make the coffee. You can purr on my belly to the Dumplings and hopefully, we can have just a little more time.
I know you won’t live forever. Every day with you is truly a gift.
Every day we have with everyone we love is a gift, Boomie. We just never know what each day is going to bring or how it will end. This is life. It can be simultaneously full of gratitude and grief.
As I type this I am simultaneously full of joy and fear. Joy for all you have given me for almost eighteen years — and fear that it will end someday soon. Of course, ends are always too soon.
But I am somewhat optimistic we can bring you home. I saw that “Get me the f@!k out of here, Mommy!” look in your eyes this morning. You want to come home. If you’ll keep getting pissed off enough to get better and come home, we’ll come pick you up later — okay, Buddy?