Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Goodbye Sweet, Sweet Boy: Our Tao

We took our precious boy, Tao, to a sudden.... and unexpected final goodbye.... and the journey home on the Rainbow Bridge yesterday.

And my heart is so broken that I sobbed from 6 pm into the night and even now I am crying as I write this. I am that sensitive to the loss of pets. I love and love deeply and when you have an open heart like that, loss hurts more as well. The pain of loss is simply the price of having loved and loved deeply.

And in the end the love that we have been blessed to be able to have... has to be enough for as little time as you get.  It just has to be, we have no choice except whether or not to let ourselves love in the first place.

We had simply brought him in for a 'cold' that was in his eyes but for whatever reason had me all upset and me...... who never goes to doctors unless she breaks something...  was insisting we 'had to' bring him for his eyes.... because I'd never be able to live with myself if he "died just from that."

Well, it wasn't just that.

He had FIV or Feline Immunodeficiency Virus, cat's version of Aids or more closely HIV,  which feral (or un-neuterd domestic cats) can get just from fighting with other cats who are in the wild or feral or sick, themselves.

But even then, it took a while for the vet to even suggest the test before the upper respiratory infection shot. And only because I'd said he'd been a feral cat we fed and fed and finally got to come up to us and then took in as our own.

Tao had  disappeared and been on one of his journeys for two days, over the weekend, where I'd fussed and worried and called him for our entire country roads length to no avail, and he came home finally with infected eyes, ragged fur, and acting sickly.

So, I thought he must have a 'cat cold' or upper respiratory illness, since we'd taken him last November as a feral rescue that showed up on the very day that we buried our dear friend of 40 years who we had lived next door to for 20 and lost first his wife and 12 year old daughter to a car accident in 1997 and then Greg to a hiking accident in November of last year.

To have this cat show up in our 2 acres back yard on the day of the funeral/burial for Greg, as we put him to rest in our country cemetery next to his wife and daughter...was a sign... on omen if you will, for me.

So, I named  him Tao..the journey, the path, the way...and bit by bit we socialized him and loved him until he became a precious member of our family. It was a lot of work and took a long time for each stage and each step. But we did it.

And he was the most amazing, amazing cat on the ride to the vet. He never even cried like cats do. He wanted out of the carrier like crazy, but he made no noises. and calmed when we put a finger in to scratch him.

He was amazing, amazing at the Vets. Let us put him on the exam table for his eyes and checkup perfectly fine as if he was the sweetest domesticated cat you could possible ever have.

The vet didn't even think he would test positive for the test he finally suggested as a precursor to the eyes treatment, he , too thinking that it was just a cold, since we had him so healthy except for these new tiny signs I saw and felt.

But he was sick and there is no cure and he could infect other cats who might fight with him and so we had no choice but to accept the consequences of this terrible illness in cats and say goodbye..right then with only the 20 minutes for the test to be run and the sudden news of the unexpected results. And oh, that was so hard. My heart so goes out to you that have to suddenly put your pets down. It is so hard.

We stayed with him the entire time and if you have never been able to do that, you need to do so, for it is so so calm and so quick and so simple.  We petted and loved and held him in place calmly and quietly,  me by his head, my husband on his back and the vet and tech by his flank.

He calmed right away from m touch. He layed his head down on my arm under it, and enjoyed the scratching and petting on his neck and back.  I told him how much we loved him, and we were so very glad we got our 5 months with him. That I'd named him Tao for a reason and this would be his last and final journey. And it would be easy and he would never be alone or hungry or hurt every again. And in 20 seconds he was still... and in 30 he was gone.

I was pouring tears but calm and loving and it was good for how sad and awful it was.

But because I have worked hard on my journey to have a fully open and spinning with that openness, heart, I feel and feel deeply. So, I have been sobbing every since until I finally put all of my signs and symbols and intuitive messages together and now I know how it all is another part of my own spiritual journey. One that is the most amazing challenges, and huge and unexpected losses.

But because of that, I have been given spiritual blessings of understanding, deep compassion, and the ability to make sense of the senseless even when still in grief and loss and facing other even more horrible tragedies.

I debated about sharing this, but I have taught myself to be willing to share. And so many of you share my deep love and connection with animals, so I am.

I will add him to that page later today. I am too sad right now.

Goodbye, sweet, sweet, precious boy. Oh, how we will miss you so!

Michele Bilyeu blogs With Heart and Hands as she shares a quilting journey from Alaska to Oregon with thousands of free Quilting, Sewing, and Crafting Patterns and Tutorials. Help change the world, one little quilt, art quilt, and prayer flag at a time!


  1. So sorry for the loss of your Tao, Michele. We had to assist our beautiful Maine Coon, Daisy, to the Rainbow Bridge in January of this year. She was almost 21 years old. She was rescued as a kitten, and we enjoyed a wonderful life with her. I think about her everyday, and miss her so. It really doesn't matter how long or short these animals have been in our lives, it's still the hardest thing to say goodbye to them.

  2. I am so sorry for your loss Michele. You and Tao were very blessed to have each other. It is so difficult to let our loved ones go. ((((((hugs))))))

  3. You chose the perfect name for him . . . sending hugs to comfort as you make your own journey of sorrow and healing.

  4. Godspeed, Tao. I'm sorry for your loss, Michele. I know Tao enjoyed being part of your family.

  5. I'm so sorry, Michelle. Losing a beloved pet is always heartbreaking.

  6. So so sorry for your loss of your loved kitty. I will say a prayer for you. I know your heart is broken.

  7. So sorry MIchelle, sending you all the hugs in the world.

    1. Sorry Michele, I spelled your name wrong poo! I think I fixed the email thing on my blog. Thanks for your help.

  8. Losing a beloved pet is so, so painful. What a great story though about how you both "saved" each other at a time when you needed it most. I don't think that is at all accidental. Sorry for the loss of your friend Tao.

  9. Losing a beloved pet is so, so painful. What a great story though about how you both "saved" each other at a time when you needed it most. I don't think that is at all accidental. Sorry for the loss of your friend Tao.

  10. I am so sorry for your loss...there are no words to comfort...just prayers to wish you joy in the memory of what a good life you shared...

  11. Anonymous2:22 PM

    I am grieving with you. I have been there. Your story brought back all those memories and I am crying as well. My prayers and deepest sympathies are with you.


  12. oh Michelle, my heart hurts for you. your last picture of Tao looks like our Miss Beauty. we had to put her down too. we were there at the Vet when she passed. one minute there was light in her eyes and the next, the light was gone. that was 3 years ago. we still miss her. it hurts the heart to loose our pets. they bring so much joy into our lives. we still think of miss beauty and talk about her. she is part of our lives, just as Tao is part of your. hugs.......

  13. Losing a beloved pet is very hard.....and I know what you are going through.

    Hugs and deepest sympathy to you and your family.

  14. I am so sorry for your loss. He sounds like an amazing friend and a huge loss.... At times like these words are not enough... You and Tao are in my thoughts and prayers... He will be welcomed on the Rainbow Bridge by all who have gone before him...
    Hugs xx

  15. I am so sorry for another loss in your life. Hugs

  16. My heart is breaking for you. I lost my dog, Charlie, last January. He was 18 and was my heart. I really felt my heart ripping when he took his last breath. I cried for days and still cry. I'll be going through the house and see the indention on the cushion where he used to lay on his favorite chair, or find something he used to play with and I just lose it. I completely understand the pain you are in. I am sending you prayers and positive thoughts for an ease of your hurt. He was a lucky baby to have such a good mommy. XO

  17. I am so very sorry for your loss, Michele. The suddenness of the decision with no time to think, build up the courage. It is very hard, no matter how it goes but the suddenness...leaves us hurting even more. And the love we have, the love they gave, the love that carries on with our pets, our friends, our lives. I am sending you warm hugs and positive energy~~~

  18. Oh Michele, I am so sorry. I can understand your feelings so well. I am the same way with the loss off a family pet. It hurts because they are such a huge part of the family.

  19. So sorry for your loss. Pets are the few creatures who love unconditionally. They give more love than they take. You are not alone in feeling like you do when you have to say goodbye. I still cry thinking about the ones I have lost in the past.

  20. I'm sorry. I've got a dog and I can imagine your sad days. All my love. Ana

  21. I`m so sorry for your loss. I`m always amazed when people say that they just "can`t" be with their pet in their final moments. I`ve seen people bring their pet to the vets with a box, then leave till they are put down, then come back in & take them out. I can`t believe it. I have always chose to be with mine, it is a comfort to them & to you as well, God bless your family,Phyllis

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