Anne LaMott on the death of her beloved cat

As we prepare for Margery’s death, some words from Anne Lamott (from Help, Thanks, Wow)

Now it turns out that my cat is going to die later today. She is struggling to breathe. I had hoped and prayed that she would slip off in the night and that I would not have to have the bet come by to put her down. I said, Help. Also, I gave her a lot of morphine, what had to have been an overdose, which she just slept off. All I wanted was for her not to die miserable and afraid. That’s all.

It is nighttime now, and Jeanie passed an hour ago, miserable and afraid.

When the vet came, we tried to gently get her out from under the futon, and she went crazy, and the next ten minutes were so awful that I won’t describe them. Suffice it to say that she did not go gently into that good night. It broke my heart. But she had been suffering, and is suffering no more. She had an amazing run of love with my family. She was a proud little union cat, and also a model of queenly disdain with a bit of grudging affection for most people, and pure adoration for me.

Was my prayer answered? Yes, although I didn’t get what I’d hoped and prayed for, what I’d selected from the menu. Am I sick with anxiety, that I did the wrong thing? Of course. Sad? Heartbroken. But Jeanie hit the lottery when she got me as her person for thirteen years, and the bad death was only ten minutes. So let me get back to you on this.

Certainly the same could be said of Margery. Had we not noticed her that afternoon in Sewanee, or had we accepted the first vet’s opinion, Margery would have died as a kitten. She’s had a good life. She’s been loved and loved us and she’s endured all of the other cats we’ve brought into her life. She’s brought us joy and she’s enjoyed shrimp and calamari, and all manner of other things, including a nap on a sunny day on a screened-in porch in Madison.

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