Those were our words of parting, Steve's and mine, as we stood in the middle of our living room holding a very watchful Daniel at about 4:00 this afternoon, watching the vet put Ingrid's body into a little basket and cover her with a lilac-colored towel. It was clear that she was dying when the vet (who makes house calls) arrived an hour earlier. She had taken a turn for the worse overnight, and all day she had just been lying mostly still, barely able to get up and walk. I let her lie on one of Steve's T-shirts because it had his smell on it, and she is such a daddy's girl that I thought it would give her comfort. Steve came home right away so he could be there when the vet did what had to be done. We could have tried to hydrate her, but it probably wouldn't have bought much time, if any. She was almost 15 years old, and her kidneys had been failing slowly for several years. I know it was time for her to go, and I am glad we got our chance to say goodbye — even Daniel pulled her tail one last time.
It's so wierd. Afterward, almost the moment the vet left, I felt this compulsive need to clean the house. I threw away every remnant of her litter box, and Steve mopped up the floor in the laundry room that has been kitty-litter central ever since I moved in. I stripped the sheets where she used to hunker under the covers (and where she had recently peed) and threw the bedding into the wash. I threw away all her food and her little cat toys. I picked up the pink wire brush that I'd used so many times to brush her furry coat, and I started sobbing when I saw some of her white fur still clinging to it. But after I'd had my cry, I threw the brush away, too. I don't know why I couldn't wait, or why I didn't want to keep some things around. I said as much to Steve, and he laid his finger on my forehead and said, "The important stuff is right here." Yes, and in pictures, like the one here of Ingrid in better days, with one of her (and my) favorite people.
So ... rest in peace, Ingrid. You are with your sweet brother George* now, and I hope you are lying together in kitty heaven, curled up in the yin-yang position like old times and licking each other blissfully. I miss you, girly-girl.
(*who died four years and one week ago)