Eloise has had it. We have upped the pain meds and are giving her all we can. She is droopy and her tail is wagging less and less. Last night she didn’t want cheese for the first time maybe ever. Our sweet vet, Rob, who has been there in the middle of the night for a colicky lamb, pumped Pippi’s stomach when she got the cheese laced with Eloise’s narcotics, made room in his tiny office for all five of us when we said goodbye to Sophie our eighteen year old tabby cat amid tears and funny stories, will come to our house at 2 o’ clock on Tuesday. Hannah will be home from college and Eli will come home early from school. The pain in Eloise’s leg would make getting into the car an ordeal and she has never liked going to the vet anyway. So instead he will come here and she will have scrambled eggs for breakfast and cheese and smoked turkey for lunch.
We have a houseful of company coming for Benjamin’s graduation beginning on Thursday. And there is no way she should have to endure that chaos. She doesn’t feel good. And all that company can make an old girl a little grumpy even when she feels just fine.
The question of when is the right time has been consuming us. We don’t want to wait until one of her fragile bones breaks and she faces intolerable pain for even a little while before we can get her to the vet. But neither do we want to shortchange her or ourselves of any of this last precious time. This question is just really hard. Waiting too long because it is better or easier for us would be wrong. How do you know? We have wondered this again and again. Making this decision for a beloved friend who cannot tell you her own thoughts on the matter is an awesome and painful responsibility. And her mind is perfectly clear. She communicates with ease just as she always has. I wish I could ask her about her thoughts on euthanasia, or whether she is ready. But of course I can’t. We must rely on our own values and beliefs and so must Eloise.
Last night when she didn’t want the cheese and then this morning when going outside took several minutes to accomplish the answer began to seem clear. A little while later she rallied when Eli came home from an overnight party. She limped to the door to greet him and then mooched some of his lunch just like old times. But now she is asleep in a heap, sighing heavily. She is counting on us to do this hard thing……