Three years ago I was faced with a terrible choice. My elder cat Sweetie, who had been on steroidal treatment for late-stage oral cancer, had been responding astoundingly well, with no breakthrough bleeding for a week and a surprising renewal of energy and appetite. But late that Friday evening, I heard him make a strange sound, turned, and saw him sitting in a puddle of blood, with a heavy stream coming from his mouth. It was obvious: his lesions had broken and he was hemorrhaging.
The options were grim: to try to get him into a carrier, into the car, and over to the pet ER…but he would fight and protest furiously against travel at the best of times. I could see fear and resistance speeding his heart rate, speeding the blood flow; he would be gone, in pain and terror, in his carrier, without my being able to hold or comfort him, before we reached the ER.
The other option was no less painful: to hold him, comfort him, and let nature take its course, as gently and lovingly as possible. There was no good solution….but I couldn’t let him die in terror, in a carrier. And, as a level-II Reiki practitioner, I did have a skill that could give him some relief from the pain and fear.
It was the most heartbreaking thing I’ve ever done. But holding him close, pouring Reiki energy into him, I felt him quieten and a low purr begin – a stress-purr, perhaps, but a purr. Tapping into our 15-year bond, I talked to him about how much he meant to me, how much I loved him, until he quietly passed. And then cried.