Ingrid and I have some sad news. Our cat, Lydia, died of cancer this morning at the age of 13. She had been getting chemotherapy for the last few weeks, and for a while was doing somewhat better; but on Wednesday night she stopped eating, and her appetite never returned. We took her in to the vet on Friday for tests, and they found that her liver was failing. They changed her medications, but she continued to decline: she was clearly suffering and was not going to get better, and we decided last night to have her euthanized. She died peacefully at home this morning, with us petting her, on the mat in front of the heater.
Ingrid and I are obviously terribly sad about this. As those of you who met her know, Lydia was an incredibly sweet and special cat, and this house is not going to seem at all the same without her. And because I think about religion so much these days, I have, of course, had moments of wondering if a belief in God or an afterlife would have been comforting or helpful at this time. But I honestly have to say, with a strong degree of certainty, that the answer is "No." I don't think either Ingrid or I would be comforted by the idea that we might see Lydia again someday in an afterlife. I think we'd be confused and angry about why God had given her this terrible disease in the first place. (So to any religious believers who might be reading this: Please do not send us your prayers, or tell us that Lydia's looking down on us, or anything like that. Thanks.)
We are, instead, comforted to know that we gave her the best, happiest, most comfortable life we could have given her. We are also comforted to know that we gave Lydia the best care we could during her illness, trying our best to balance our desire to give her some good quality of life with our desire for her to not suffer. And we are comforted to know that we were able to give her a good death, safe and warm and loved and without fear. Finally, we are comforted to know that she was loved, not only by us, but by so many of our friends and family -- including all her fans on the Internet. This life is all we have... and all we can do, for our pets and other people, for ourselves and one another, for strangers and our loved ones, is to make the time that we have, however much time it is, as happy and joyful and meaningful as we possibly can. If you want to know what you can do for us... go be nice to the people and animals you love, and go do something to make the world a better place. (And please be patient with me in the coming days and weeks, as I may not be blogging as often as I normally do, and my mood and temper may not be at their best.) Thanks to all of you for your support during this time.