One year ago, Goose slipped away from this world and into the next. She was just shy of 19 years old and I’d had her since she was a tiny kitten.
I don’t honestly recall the exact date of her passing but the significance of the symbolic date was not lost on me. Goose passed on Good Friday and I will forever associate her with the sadness and loss and—most importantly—hope, of that day.
That week I’d had to make the difficult choice that many pet owners have had to make and scheduled an appointment with her vet. However, he couldn’t see her on the original day and we had to move it to Good Friday.
There could not have been a better passing than that final day. Goose had been ailing for a solid month and it had become apparent that all measures had been taken and come out wanting. She was failing, rapidly, and my heart was breaking at the thought of letting her go.
Goose was not a “good” cat. There was no simple formula for our relationship. There were times when I am ashamed to say I would have done anything to be rid of her. But Goose played an exceptionally important role in my life. She was an outward manifestation of all of the internal strife, the personal challenges, the demons I was trying to exorcize. She was angry, nervous, finicky and, most of all, needy. Just like I was.
When my life was in turmoil, Goose was on her worst behavior. There were catbox issues, midnight howlings and generally surly attitudes including scratchings, bitings and hissings. Not to mention regular snubbings.
Goose brought structure to my very unstructured life. When you have a stubborn, pedantic cat like Goose it’s very hard to be flighty and irresponsible (though, trust me, I was). She was set in her ways and liked bed at nine, breakfast at six (or earlier) and home by seven. Any deviation from the routine was sorely punished, or at least soundly scolded.
Through the years, rather than adapting her to my routines, she molded me to hers. I took up rowing, which was perfect for a cat on the above schedule. I gave up on trying to change her and focused instead on changing myself. I addressed my own inner turmoil and she segued from being a pill to being a loving (albeit still fussy), confident pet.
Our last five years together were our best. She grew comfortably into her seniorhood as I (finally) grew into my adulthood.
We spent her final day cuddled on the couch. It was a “good” day in that I could tell she was not feeling as pained as she had been for most of the previous month. She was in pleasant spirits and happy to have me all to herself.
Goose and I traveled the half-mile up the street to the vet late in the afternoon. They left us in a room with a comfortable couch and told us they would wait until we were ready before they administered a gentle but lethal dose of anesthetic. When she finally slipped away and I could see her irascible spirit was gone, I collapsed into tears of both grief and release.
The translation of the Greek word euthanasia means “good death.” Good Friday represents a terrible day filled with the promise of greater things to come. Goose was not a traditional “good” cat but she transcended that to become a great one.
Immediately following my trip to the vet, I had to leave for church to sing the Pie Jesu from Faure’s Requiem. I have embedded the link from that day above as my “Requiem for The Goose.”