My baby boy. My little leopard. My lovey. My boo bah. My little man. My silly boy. My Jachey. My little love. My bubba. My little mushpot. No doubt there were probably a hundred more nicknames over the last 17 years!
Last September Jache had an abscess in his chin of unknown origin, and I always knew he would likely have kidney disease, as one of his kidneys was very small and affectionately termed a ‘tater tot’, but I think that might have been the event that made him have acute on chronic kidney disease, as he wasn’t taking in much nourishment. Jumping ahead to February 15 of this year after several weeks of giving increasingly larger amounts of fluids under his skin, it became insufficient in preventing the continued rise in his kidney values, and I decided to have a feeding tube placed. Big decision, but I felt like his quality of life was good and I wanted to keep it that way for as long as possible! It was a ‘sacrifice’ and to me it meant making no commitments outside of work for what ended up totaling five months. However, is it really a sacrifice if you do it 100% willingly? The only big commitment I had was a 75 mile gravel bike ride, Co2uT, out in Fruita for two nights, but Aubyn so kindly offered to care for him. I was super anxious, but also knew she was quite capable and he was in the most perfect of hands. I just wasn’t sure how Jache would handle it since I have been his only human for essentially his whole life. He did great and I survived being away from him.
His care was involved and required warming up a special liquid kidney diet 2-3 times per day, and preparing up to 9 different medications, some once and some twice per day to be given via his tube. Not to mention the extra water, 30cc up to 3-4 times per day. Let’s just say that getting up at 4:30 on work days and then often not finishing his evening feedings until 9, and THEN taking care of myself, was all done with love and zero complaints. I would do it all again in a heartbeat. All of this care created an even stronger bond between Jache and I. I didn’t imagine that was possible!
Regardless, I made the excruciatingly difficult decision to let my boy fly free this past Friday, July 16. It was 1:52pm. His values were finally getting high enough that the medications were not as helpful, and he started to feel more how the toxins building up in his frail body were affecting him in different ways that I believed not to be fair to him anymore. Ironically, and unplanned, Friday happened to also be 5 years for my mom having passed. I am choosing to see this as a further expression of her love for me, that she was accepting my son into her arms on her own special day.
My boy brought me so much joy and SO much laughter and was always there for me over the years. I have been called brave and amazing for letting him go. Although that is sweet and thoughtful, it does not ease my pain. Time is the only thing that will eventually help that. I did not want him to give me “the look“ saying he was ready to go, but I believe he told me in other ways. I listened. Jache would NEVER have lived to be 17 without me being his mama and having a “Jache proofed house”. He was an incessant toddler who wanted to put everything in his mouth and eat it, and usually vomited it right back up, until his last day in fact (no vomiting, just trying to eat things like mulch and plastic bags)! I always had to tell people when they came over to close their purses or put it in a closed room, or when workers would come over I would let them know that I wasn’t hovering, I was only making sure he wasn’t getting into things he shouldn’t. Curiosity sure did not kill this cat I am proud to say!
Over the years I have enjoyed hearing the various pronunciations of his name, but it is simply pronounced Jake! For those of you who don’t know, his name was the letter J plus the word ‘ache’. He had been a patient at my old job at three sweet months old. The story I choose to tell, is that his previous owners went to fluff a load of laundry already in the dryer, and didn’t realize he was probably napping inside when they turned it on. They brought him to my hospital and were unable to afford his care, relinquished him, and the rest is history, and a long and very happy one thankfully at that! It’s never long enough, but the inordinate amount of grief I feel and the hole in my heart, are only there because of how much he was truly loved, especially through the even bigger bond created over the last five months. I will never forget him gazing lovingly up at me so often over the last several months, or how he had to be touching/pressing on me with his paw or making biscuits on my belly as I fed him. Maybe that was him thanking his mama. That’s what I like to think. For now I am and numb and feel guilty doing anything for pleasure, but I promised him I would be ok… in time. I also informed him that he needs to watch over me!
We sure did make some special memories over his last several days, and no doubt he is glad I am not taking his picture or recording him anymore! I am so grateful to have gotten five entire extra months with him. Priceless.
Rest peacefully my . I am truly blessed to have been with him as he passed. There is nowhere I would have rather been. I have never been able to be with any of my pets at their time, and I am honored I could do so with him. Enjoy meeting my mom and dad and being with Thomas and Riley again. Mama loves you immensely. Until we meet again… in the far distant future.
As Sally Field in Steel Magnolias says, ‘Life goes on’.