Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Tangible Grief

This past weekend was probably one of the hardest my household has had to endure. Coming in second only to my own grandfather's passing, the Fiance lost someone very special to him Friday night.

He has owned only one pet since I met him 3 1/2 years ago (almost 4 years now) A bearded dragon named Padmae. I thought... okay... it's a reptile.

A lizard. This guy has a lizard as a pet. Okay.... no big deal. My grade school best friend had an iguana... that fucker was HUGE. Can't be that bad, right?

Not. At. All!

Padmae was probably the coolest looking reptile I've ever seen in my LIFE.

She SMILED! She smiled in reaction to things that happened here. To the kids, to me yelling at the kids... She particularly enjoyed that .... Dunno why really.

When the fiance would put on classic rock, she would smile just like she is in this pic, if not wider. They say that Beardies will open their mouths like that to cool off, kinda like a dog panting since there's no sweat glands? No... No, Padmae SMILED. She knew what was up, and had one of the largest personalities a reptile could probably ever have. Padmae had a SOUL.

 But unfortunately, two weeks ago, she got sick. Right about after the pic beside here was taken. She was having problems moving, didn't eat, wasn't having any bowel movements at all. Naturally the Fiance was really worried about her, and so took her to the vet. The vet, as always told the Fiance how well cared for she was and that she may have injured one of her front legs, as she reacted to having it messed with. So he gave her pain killers, which seemed to help. For a while. But she kept getting worse. WEird bumps appeared at the back hips. Fiance thought she may have been impacted - which can happen if they don't poop for a while. Which... hadn't happened. So... on with the oil injections, which she HAAAATED but it needed to be done. We also, since she still hadn't eaten anything in a long time, started giving her baby food injections to get calories in her. She was getting weaker.

Then she started having problems breathing, and the Vet thought maybe it was a cold. But she's had an upper respiratory infection before. It wasn't like this, she still ate... this was different. The vet couldn't explain it.

Thursday night she was doing okay, Fiance got held over at work, and didn't get home until 3. Apparently when he got home she wasn't doing so well. She couldn't breathe and freaked out. She was having mucus collecting in her throat, and didn't have the ability to get rid of it, She couldn't swallow it, couldn't spit it out, nothing. So it was suffocating her. Fiance squirted water down her throat and soothed her. Got her alright again.

Friday morning then -- about three hours later, I got up, and she wasn't moving. She constantly had her mouth open trying to breathe. I got the kids onto the bus, and was keeping a wary eye on her, watching closely to make sure she was breathing. I couldn't see anything. So I got up and moved over to her tank. She cocked her head to look up at me.


Scared the hell out of me.

Throughout the day she was mouth breathing, but no more freakouts.

I suggested to the fiance to use the plastic syringe to suck some of the mucus out of her throat. It had to help, right?! He did it, but she must have bit down weird on it or something, because she was bleeding a lil bit. But he also cleared her nasal passages. mucus had dried and she couldn't breathe that way either. She was doing good for the rest of the day and evening while Fiance went to work.

I was keeping a close eye on her, but then I worked on my mom's neck for a while. ....

I saw her breathe in really deep while I was standing there talking to her... I saw her take her last breath. I didn't realize it, because she had been really still most of the day, taking shallow breaths. I got Tiger and Angel off to bed, and just as mom was leaving and Bug was about to head to bed, I noticed she wasn't breathing at all...

moved closer to the tank, she didn't move. opened the lid, still nothing. petted her a little, nothing, tried to pick her up... she didn't go limp...

Oh.... fuck.

I was the one freaking out then. What the hell do I do?! I have to be the one to tell my fiance his baby was gone. I remembered immediately how Fiance had to catch me before I hit the vet's floor when I had to put Spooky, my familiar to sleep. I texted his mom asking her for advice, what do I do?! She told me to tell him, because he'd be even more upset if he didn't know when it happened.

So, I sent a simple text. "Baby... she's gone,"

"Fuck. Okay, put a towel over her for me."

So I did. and I waited. and waited. 45 minutes... those were probably one of the longest 45 minutes of my life waiting for him to get home. He walked in the door, most of the lights in the tank were off. He set his bag and cooler down, looked at her cage, and then his grief hit me like a brick wall. Instantly my heart clenched and he turned from the tank to move into the kitchen. He was crying.... actually crying.

He didn't cry like this at his grandparent's funerals. One tear he shed for MaMaw. One. This was complete and utter grief. Sobs. I watched him closely, he's a difficult one to understand what he wants. He went into the bedroom and stood there at the dresser, and I couldn't just leave him be. I held onto him, held him as tightly as I could, telling him how sorry I was.

The sobs were bad enough... but the words he spoke... how the last thing she got from him was pain... How he should have stayed home, because he knew she was going to die. He should have done more. He should have done this, or that.... He lost his baby.

Every self loathing, guilt ridden sentence he spoke broke my heart just a little more. I remembered how Spooky's death effected me. How guilt ridden I was because I didn't get him to the vet sooner. I didn't say much, just held onto him, assured him when I could, and just let him cry.

His grief was so thick, I felt like I was walking through water. It was draining trying to block it to save my strength and not break right along with him. It was my turn to be strong for him, dammit all. And I was. I was as strong as I could be until he asked me while we were in bed if I was that bad with Spooky.... He broke me a little then, and I let out a couple of sobs before I could compose myself and keep him from comforting me then. It was his turn, this was about him and his loss, not mine.

It hurt so much to see him in such pain. He built her a coffin, buried her with one of his T-shirts..... one I bought him.... He wouldn't let me come outside with him when he buried her. But we all watched him from the back windows. I could feel his grief even still.

Yesterday he was finally a little better. Got some of his humor back. made little remarks and touches that he hadn't done in a couple of weeks. He was so worried about her, but it was like after he came to terms with her being gone, that stress was gone and he was on his way to being himself again.

It's never easy losing a pet, a companion, a familiar. and I completely believe that Padmae was Fiance's familiar. She had a life and energy that went beyond a normal animal. She had an attitude, sass, and a sense of humor.

the desk sits empty now... it's hard to not have her lights there anymore. We put everything out in the shed, not to be looked at for two or more months. He will never have another beardie. and I can't blame him. He might change his mind one day, but today isn't that day.

Senator Padmae, you were loved, and cherished, and spoiled rotten. Be at peace waiting for him.

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