Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Remembering Parceiro

This afternoon our sweet Parceiro knew it was time to let go. After the long road we've been on, he had a heart attack at the vet's office, and died in Rico's arms. We are unspeakably sad, but take comfort in the fact that Parceiro is no longer suffering.

We thought he was doing better. He made it through the night, and woke up this morning meowing and howling and complaining about his pain. Rico and I thought this was a good sign, as it meant he was reactive and had some energy to spare. Rico took Parceiro to the vet for a consult at 9am, and while his bladder was pretty full, it wasn't necessary to do a catheter or give him anesthesia again (he'd already had 5 doses since Sunday). Rico took him home, with instructions to come back at 6pm for another checkup and an enema.

After the trip to the vet, Rico met me at the coffee shop downstairs from my office for some juice and a sandwich. Things seemed normal. We chatted. We talked about how grateful we were that our Gray Baby was going to be okay.

A few hours later, Rico called me, his voice full of worry. He said Parceiro was purring softly, and making subtle torties (what we call that kneading cats do - a derivative of making tortillas, from my childhood). Rico said it seemed different from the purring Parceiro had done on Sunday in the throes of the blockage, but wasn't sure. We decided just to keep an eye on our boy, to see if there were any other signs that he was getting worse. A while later, Rico noticed Parceiro's back legs seemed like they were giving out when he tried to walk. He knew it was time to go back to the vet.

It was time. Parceiro knew. His little heart gave out while on the clinic table. He had seizures, and the vet did CPR (brining him back several times), but it was just too much. He let go while in Rico's arms, knowing that he was surrounded by people that loved and cared for him.

Rico came to my office to tell me, and I burst into tears. It was all so surreal. Sunday, when we first thought we were going to lose our Gato Gray, seems light-years away. Thankfully my boss understands what it means to have a pet you love very much pass away, and he let me go home for the rest of the day.

Rico and I cried - and continue to cry - over the loss of our boy. The flat seems empty. I feel lost, overcome with grief. Perhaps one of the worst parts of this is that Pria and Parceiro were so close. I don't think poor Pria fully understands what has happened yet, and I'm worried about the effect losing his brother will have on him.

Still, while there is a gaping hole in our hearts, the flat is still full of Parceiro's spirit and reminders of the good times we had together. For someone who started out life in a plastic bag in a dumpster in Maputo, I think he had a pretty delicious run.

We will always remember Parceiro for being the sweetest cat to grace our lives. He was a true companion, companheiro, following us around and always eager to curl up in a lap or in the bend of a knee. One of my favorite things to do was pile onto the single bed in our guest room - me, Rico and Parceiro - all cuddled up together with him doing endless torties on the soft parts of my stomach, or on the fleece blanket we'd use to cover ourselves on chilly nights.

Parceiro had such a love for fleece. It was like a beacon, calling him to make torties. He'd sit and knead, a look of complete ecstacy on his little face, eyes half-shut in pleasure.

We used to call him Meiote, a funny nickname that came from the fact that Parceiro's favorite spot to sleep was shoved inbetween me and Rico, no matter how small the space. Every night he'd come searching for his meio, his middle spot. He was our Filhote Meiote, our baby-cat who loved his nest.

He also loved toilet paper, and between Parceiro scrabbling the entire roll whenever given the opportunity, and Pria opening the bathroom door, we had to switch the lever knob for a round one so the boys couldn't do their damage.

Parceiro and Pria had a beautiful relationship, having started life at the bottom of the bin and surviving because of each other. When our friend Brooke first found them as kittens, Parceiro had managed to chew a hole in the plastic bag where they'd been tossed out to die, and had made it onto the ground outside the bin. But what caught Brooke's attention as she walked by was an insistent mewling. It was Pria, still in the bag, crying out for someone to save them.

They had a special connceciton from the very beginning. The would play together, friendly tail-chasing sessions frequently turning into full-on feline jiu-jitsu, madly tumbling around the carpet and scrambling across the house like they were posessed. The jiu-jitsu would then turn into grooming, as if someone had flipped a switch. The would lick each other's faces simultaneously, grooming each other with much love until the switch would go again and it would be back to the wrestling on the rug.

Parceiro had the sweetest meow. It was like "maow-maow! maow-maow!", cute and high-pitched, while Pria has an ambulance drone of a meow, one you simply can't ignore. Parceiro loved stretching out in the sun, cramping himself into boxes, lounging on the sofa next to me or Rico while we worked. He was an incredibly sweet boy. He will truly be missed.

While we are grieving Parceiro, our worry is also with Pria. We are concerned about what her reaction will be once she realizes that her companion is gone. We think that, once we've had a chance to grieve and once Pria has ahd a chance to realize what the situation is, we will start to look for a new kitten. Companionship is good, even if it might start off a bit rocky. A new kitty will not be a substitute for our Gato Gray, but it will help to heal the void in our hearts and lives.

Parceiro brought us immense joy and happiness. He was one of the reasons I looked forward to waking up every morning, and coming home each night. He was our beautiful gray baby, and will forever be remembered fondly. We are going to do a small ceremony with his ashes. Rico and I will go to the seaside and prepare a farewell care package for our boy. We will put some toilet paper, a canned food treat and a square off one of our fleece blankets in a small paper package - all of Parceiro's favorite things. We will put our gray baby to rest at sea with everything he loved so much in life. I hope it bring us come closure and some peace. I hope Parceiro is looking over us, knowing he will be present always in our lives.

I loved him dearly, and miss him with all my heart. I hope he is in a better place, and am grateful that he chose to go on his own. It was time, and if he knew it, then we must accept it.

Thank you all for your kind thoughts and prayers. They were greatly appreciated, and I am sure they helped make Parceiro more comfortable in his last days.


Mandi said...

I am so sorry that you've lost your dear Parceiro, but thank you for sharing such a sweet remembrance of him. My thoughts are with you and Rico and Pria.

Anonymous said...

Laura and I are so very sorry that Parceiro has left us but your thoughts and memories that you have shared with us here make him very real for all of us and make his passing all the sadder.

He was indeed a sweet boy. This is simply the end of a very good life.

I love you both and feel you very close to me right now.

telfair said...

Ali -- I'm so sorry. I know there's nothing I can say that can ease how painful this is and how sad you must feel.

I am thinking of you & Rico & Pria and so sorry for your loss.

Jo Ann v. said...

I'm sorry for your loss...

laundrygirl said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. I know what this feels like. My thoughts are with you.

Lacithecat said...

Oh Ali!

I am so sorry. The words fail me as I don't know what I would do if my baby went through that. He as such a strong trooper.


I'll tell Laci when she gets in and we will spend moments sending kind kitty prayers to the heavens.

I am so sorry for your loss.


Southern Goddess said...

Oh Ali, I am so sorry that you, Rico and Pria have lost Parceiro - he was lovely. They both came into your lives for a reason, and you both gave much to each other. Take care. SG

--jenna said...

oh. meus pésames...so very sorry to hear that. big hugs for the three of you from the other side of the ocean...

NOLAGringa said...

Oh, I'm so sorry!

It hurts so much, I know.

What joy he brought to your lives, and you to his.

liz butler evans said...

Oh, Ali. I am so sorry to hear this. Thank you for sharing such lovely photos and a wonderful story. Parceiro had a charmed life with you and Rico -- it's obvious how much love you have for him.

Anonymous said...

Miss Ali and Ricardo - I'm so sorry about Parceiro.
I'm praying for peace for all of you, including Pria, and I thank you for sharing stories and pictures of the boys.
Kim in Albuquerque

Monkey McWearingChaps said...

Oh Ali, I am so sorry about Parceiro. I know he's in a better place right now. Peace and love.

Ali la Loca said...

~Mandi - Thank you for keeping us in your thoughts.

~Dad - I wish you could have met Parceiro. He was such a good boy. Give his (and Pria's) cousins a kiss for us.

~Telfair - Thanks. I know that as a super cat lover, you understand.

~Jo Ann - Thank you for your condolences.

~Laundrygirl - I'm sorry that you know firsthand how this feels, but thank you for keeping us in your thoughts.

~Lacithecat - I'm glad you got to meet Parceiro and Pria. Give Laci a treat on our behalf. Thank you for your kind words of support.

~Southern Goddess - They did come into our lives for a reason. It's just so hard to accept that Parceiro is gone, because he added so much to our lives and I don't want that to end. Thanks for your support.

~Jenna - Thank you. We'd always imagined our boys in the Casa Rosa one day, but at least Parceiro is in a good place now.

~Nolagringa - Yes, he did bring us much joy. I hope his memories continue to do that as well.

~Liz - Thank you. Give your kitties a kiss on our behalf. I'm glad you enjoyed the stories and photos. I look at them every day.

~Kim - Your prayers are much appreciated. Thank you for keeping us in your thoughts.

~Monkey - Yes, he is in a better place. We keep imagining him in a land of endless fleece blankets and cat treats. I know he must be happy there.

megan said...

I am so sorry for the loss of your precious baby.