The past week has been the longest week ever! Fair warning – this is another post without much DIY in it. Remember when I introduced you to our children on Mother’s Day? As I was writing that post, something was stirring in our house. In case you missed that, here’s the Brady story from there
Not long after we moved into our house, there were two outside cats that adopted us. Sly was a gray tiger cat and Issa was a tabby cat that we fell in love with. They spent many cold nights warming themselves on our three season porch but refused to come inside. We noticed that Issa started to get a big belly and then one day when Michael saw her, she was skinny again. We searched and searched and searched for those kittens. When I say that we searched, it was an elaborate spectacle that I’m sure amused the neighbors greatly. One attempt involved Michael running around on the second floor looking out the windows relaying Issa’s traveling direction with a 2 way radio so I could stealthily sneak around and find the kittens. Sadly we never found them. Then this little kitten started showing up last summer. We would see it from across the yard, but could never get close to it. One night we trapped it on the porch and with a long sleeved shirt and leather gloves, I was able to finally get to sit with him. A few weeks later this little kitten somehow got stuck in our garage for a couple days. Michael found him when he was working on my car and Brady moved into our house “just until he’s better”. Almost a year later and I will never let Brady go…he’s mine for always!
Every time Brady would go through a growth spurt, he would sleep almost non-stop for a couple days. Mother’s Day was day 3 of his sleeping binge. Monday night we noticed that he wasn’t eating or drinking any water. Brady has never been much of an eater…he always preferred to play, but it was the drinking part that had us concerned. Tuesday I took him to the doctor and he had a high fever and had lost two pounds since his last appointment 3 months ago. We have a phenomenal vet for our kids and we wholeheartedly trust him and his opinion. We started taking Bella to him right after she came to live with us and now we drive an hour to that office without question. So when he said “We need to do a feline leukemia test first thing,” my heart sank. Then when the test came back positive, I was in shock and disbelief. As Dr Bock told me about the options, I was hopeful. More tests made it look like everything would be okay and we would have a few months with Brady. Enough time to vaccinate Beau and Bella, keep them apart for a month and still be able to make a trip to see Michael’s family. I took him home that night with some anitbiotics and told Michael the news. We both deal with things like this in very different ways. His first reaction was to Google, mine was to take pictures…and cry…a lot. As he Googled and I took pictures, he found websites that gave us more hope and I found that Brady is very photogenic and I wish we had a better camera
On Thursday, Brady went back to the doctor because he wasn’t getting better. His fever was still high and he was dehydrated so they sent us home with a stronger antibiotic and still some hope. That night he was Brady again. If you’re not familiar with feline leukemia, it’s something that can be transmitted between cats, so we’ve been keeping Brady in our bedroom while Beau and Bella have been roaming the rest of the house. But it seems like the only place they want to be is with Brady. Can’t say that I blame them, that’s the only place I want to be too. He went out on the porch while Beau and Bella stayed inside and looked at him through the window
Friday and Saturday he was fine, but something happened Sunday night. He started to look sick, really sick. Monday Beau and Bella had an appointment to start the feline leukemia vaccine so I took Brady along for the ride and to get more fluids. Dr Bock checked him out and found a mass in his stomach. It could be an abscess, but with the progression of the feline leukemia it was determined that it was most likely a tumor. I took all three kids home on Monday and told Michael that we had a tough decision to make. Our non-traditional family spent the night watching TV together and Michael and I took Brady outside for a walk. He was running around, chasing walnut pieces that Michael was throwing and playing with dandelion stems waved in front of his face. The doctor told us it would be temporary and it was. Tuesday morning it was bad again. We set up an impromptu family photo shoot on the three seasons porch using the timer on our camera and some Ikea fabric to block the morning sun from our eyes. (I’m going to beg Michael to let me put up one of the family photos, so check back in case there is an update). For now, Here’s one of me with the Bradster
When I got home Brady and I spent some quality time together, just chillin’. He even played with some string underneath the door with his sister but got tired really fast.
Yesterday, Brady didn’t eat anything. We tried everything and couldn’t get him to eat. Since the week before, we had been feeding him watered down food with a straw and giving him water the same way. He didn’t like it, but he would take it. Yesterday he fought harder when we tried to give him water and we knew it was the end. We each had a heart to heart conversation with Brady. I know that he’s a cat, but we had to do it for ourselves. I told him about how happy he had made me in the nine short months that he had lived with us. I told him that I was sorry I worked so much and I would give anything to have that time back with him. I told him that he will always be in my heart and he has changed my life with his spirited and loving personality. I took this picture of him with the necklace that I wear every day so I can keep my kids close to me all the time. The necklace was a gift from my brother Jeff, SIL Jenna and niece Evalee for Christmas last year. I’m not one for jewelry, but this necklace is one of the most meaningful gifts I’ve ever been given and now it means even more.
If you had asked me last week, I would have told you that the day the feline leukemia test came back positive was the worst day of my life. If you ask me now, I will tell you that it is today. Every time that I think I have cried so much that no more tears can come, more come. This morning we made the longest hour-long drive to Dr. Bock’s office, talked with him a little then it was time for us to say goodbye to Brady. Absolutely, hands down, the hardest thing either of us has ever had to do. I told Michael that I needed the closure and as crazy as it may sound I needed for my face to be the last thing he saw, so we watched as he slipped away and then we cried…a lot. The only DIY part of this post is the beautiful thing that Michael made for our “little one”
Michael tells people that he’s not much of a woodworker (he prefers car metal) but I think this is wonderful. The work he did on this cedar box shows how much both of us loved Brady. We chose a place for him in our yard next to a tree and a spot where we plan to put a brick patch and a swing. I’m still looking for a plant or a flower named Brady to plant there (if you find one, please let me know). But for now, this will do
Here’s a montage of some of my favorite Brady pictures
Thanks for sticking through this to the end. Michael and I have had so much support from family and friends in the last week, that I don’t know how we could have done it without ya’ll. We are so blessed and we thank God for each and every one of you. Not long after Brady came to live with us, it was obvious that he gravitated to the color blue. Every toy that was his favorite was blue, so for Brady, today I wear blue.