Home » Personal Musings » Thursday Re-View — “In Memory of Peanut”

Thursday Re-View — “In Memory of Peanut”

Peanut & Freddie

Peanut & Freddie

In Memory of Peanut
1998 – 2012

[ aka Peanster, Peanutter-Butter,
Pretty Pug-nosed Princess Peanutter-Butter ]

I was not prepared for the pain of losing you.

My son Alex will remind me in no uncertain terms that I never wanted any cats as pets. We already had Misty (a black lab), and I thought she was enough. When I came home one day from work and went to use our front hall bathroom, Alex and his Dad told me I couldn’t use it. So naturally, I asked why the door was closed, then opened it. Inside – two small kittens, a brother and sister from the same litter. One black and white with huge eyes (Freddie) and one tiny with orange/beige fur (Peanut).

I was upset. The only two things in the world that make me wheeze and have trouble breathing are cigar/cigarette smoke and cat hair. They couldn’t stay in the house.

It was them or me.

When things calmed down a little (when I calmed down a little), we all reached a compromise: the kittens could stay on our screened in porch and sleep on the padded hot tub cover. Padded pillows from our lawn chairs were arranged on top, along with food and water bowls and a litter box. They slept together, all curled up in a circle, like yin and yang.

Each night, after we came in from the hot tub, before bed, they came inside for a while to play on the carpeted floor of the den. Each night, the time inside got longer – 10 minutes, a half hour, two hours… They were so cute and so much fun, and the wheezing seemed to be getting less frequent the more I was exposed to their fur.

One night, I relented. Let them in for good. That’s when the two fur balls took over our house, and our hearts. Even Misty seemed to accept them. Peanut was Alex’s and Freddie, with his big eyes, was mine (after all, wouldn’t an optometrist choose the one with big eyes???). Our family had just expanded.

Peanut was always frail; in the first year of her life, we often had her at the vet, trying to find out why she was so tiny. Some breathing problems, lots of blood work and tests, but nothing ever too definite. She would always stay “petite” (like me) with a delicate appetite (unlike me).

When Alex’s Dad and I got divorced, and I moved out, we decided to leave the cats with Alex and his Dad, to keep things as stable as possible for Alex. I actually had my attorney put a stipulation in the divorce agreement to make certain that I could “cat-sit” several times a year.

Wasn’t I the one who gave my family the ultimatum – it’s them or me? Ummm – I guess that was me – so long, long ago.

Then, Alex went away to college, and ultimately, about 2 years ago, Peanut and Freddie came to live with me for good.

I was not prepared for the pain of losing you, Peanut.

You purred the loudest of any cat I had ever known and you looked upon everything that didn’t interest you (which was most things) with a certain disdain. Hence, “Princess.” But you also wrapped your self around my neck when I walked around the house, and stretched out on my legs or chest like a Sphinx when I was watching TV. You were light as a feather – a fur ball – and I loved you.

Each night, you and Freddie slept at the bottom of the bed, all curled up. Sometimes, you slept all night on my husband’s shoulder, paws stretched straight out. If he happened to move the slightest bit over night, you were highly affronted, glaring at him in no uncertain terms until he stopped moving and you could return to your beauty sleep.

You were a treasure. A beauty. A princess.

During the day, you held court on the couch, ensconced on my most comfortable pillow. No one dared disturb you. If I was at my computer, you would hop onto my desk and lay across my keyboard, causing all kinds of gibberish to appear on the screen. I would lift you off, trying to avoid your icy stare. We compromised and I put your cat bed on the edge of my desk, so we could be together while I worked. Cans of compressed dust remover littered my desk; that soft, long fur got into all the cracks and crevices of my computer and printer.

Then, your daily routine started to change.

You lost weight, getting recurrent upper respiratory infections. We kept taking you to the vet and you seemed to improve with the steroid shots and the appetite enhancer. You ate better, but developed an allergy to the meds and scratched your chin to an open sore, so we stopped the medicine. We had another follow-up visit at the vet in another week.

One night, after getting up to go to the bathroom, I got back into bed and put you back on my shoulder where you had slept. I remember that your breathing was so loud – labored – that I moved you to the foot of the bed to get more sleep.

But your breathing was too labored and irregular…

I woke up my husband (who sleeps through anything) and told him something was terribly wrong. We hurriedly got dressed, then I wrapped you in your favorite soft blanket as we drove the half hour to the 24-hour emergency vet hospital. It was early, early morning, and snowing.

I can still feel your tiny claws digging into my leg on the way there. But your breathing calmed a bit.

Once there, when I mentioned “respiratory distress” to the receptionist, the vet flew out from the back and hurried you into an exam room while I had to sign a paper saying whether I wanted extraordinary measures taken if anything serious would occur while at the hospital.

Ridiculous – but I signed it; all you needed was some oxygen and another steroid shot and you’d be good to go. We could work at my desk tomorrow and you could wrap yourself around my neck, purring so loud in my ear that it soothed any stress I might have.

The vet came back into the room where we waited. At first, I couldn’t (or wouldn’t) understand her. Something about tests and blood work and oxygen… I thought we had explained all of that, and we agreed on going ahead with getting you better.

Still, I couldn’t (or wouldn’t) understand her.

Your condition deteriorated rapidly. Your organs were shutting down – it sounded like congestive heart failure. You were dying in the other room.

Should we prolong your life (your suffering) or consider your comfort? I was used to this from working with Hospice; it was an easy choice – no suffering, please. (Easy? Who am I kidding? It was torture.) The vet was compassionate, saying you had coughed up a lot of blood and things were moving fast.

Could I say good-bye? Yes, but I had to be ready to see that you were on oxygen.

When I entered the hospital area, you were in a small glassed off “cage” or bed on the bottom level where oxygen was being pumped in. There was a small opening big enough for my hands for when I wanted to pet you. You were lying on your favorite soft plaid blanket, your fur wet and matted where you coughed up blood, showing how thin you really were.

I stifled a cry and dropped to my knees on the linoleum floor so that I could see you and talk to you. When you heard me, you actually dragged yourself around toward my voice, then lay back down, spent. It must have taken all of the little energy you had left, but now you were facing me, and I could pet you.

My Peanutter-Butter. My Princess.

I told you I loved you and I thanked you for your years of love, and said that it was okay for you to go toward the light. I told you that Mimi (my Mom) would be there, but realized that you never met her; she died before you were born. So I told you instead that our beloved Misty would be there to greet you. I reminded you how much Freddie loved you and how much he would miss you, but that someday, we would all be together again.

Your eyes were already fixed ahead, directed toward me but not seeing me – looking beyond me at a place where I couldn’t follow. You were already leaving, but waited just long enough to say good-bye.

It was enough – it was too much; I had to go. You were already well on your way, eyes unseeing, breathing labored. So fragile yet so beautiful. Let the doctor help to end your pain. I couldn’t see for my tears.

In the time it took me to sign papers for your cremation, you were gone. Forever lost to me, to Alex, to Freddie.

When we drove home, the snow had stopped and it was daybreak. I couldn’t go into work, I hurt so much. When you didn’t come home with us, Freddie went to the dining room window where you both sometimes shared a bed. When he didn’t find you there, he never went into the dining room again until more than a year had passed. He looked for you for a few days, then settled into an uneasy loneliness. He’s more anxious, as if a part of him is gone (it is). Sometimes he fixes his gaze at a spot above my head, or into a darkened room, and stares, listens at attention. As if you’re there, looking back.

Perhaps you are…

Peanster – your ashes are in a carved wooden box on the mantle, with your name on it. But when I opened the card that came with your cremains and saw the bits of fur they had included, just like a lock of a loved one’s hair, I cried uncontrollably. I couldn’t – and still haven’t – touched it. I also don’t want to let Freddie near it; I’m not sure what he would do if he caught your scent. That we be too cruel a thing to do to your brother.

I miss you. I thank you for coming to me in a dream not so long ago after I mentioned to my husband (yet again) how much I missed you. Be healthy and happy, Peanster. I thank you for the gift of your life. If you can, please let Freddie know you’re okay somehow. I explained to him what happened to you, but for any of us, that clinical information is not always enough.

I love you, Pretty, Pug-nosed Princess Peanutter-Butter. Someday, I’ll meet you at the Rainbow Bridge.


The Rainbow Bridge

When a beloved pet dies, it goes to the Rainbow Bridge. It makes friends with other animals and frolics over rolling hills and peaceful, lush meadows of green.

Our pets do not thirst or hunger. The old and sick are made young once more; the maimed and the ill become healed and strong. They are as healthy and playful as we remember them in days gone by.

Though happy and content, they still miss someone very special, someone they had to leave behind.

Together, the animals chase and play, but the day comes when a pet will suddenly stop and look into the distance…bright eyes intent, eager body quivering. Suddenly recognizing you, your pet bounds quickly across the green fields and into your embrace. You celebrate in joyous reunion. You will never again separate. Happy tears and kisses are warm and plenty; your hands caress the face you missed. You look once more into the loving eyes of your pet and you know you never really parted. You realize that though out of sight, your love had been remembered.

And now, you cross the Rainbow Bridge together…

~ Author Unknown ~


21 thoughts on “Thursday Re-View — “In Memory of Peanut”

  1. That was so moving! So eloquent! I cried for you , for Peanut, for Alex, for Fredie, and for the pets I have lots and for the friend who I sat with as she said good-bye to her cat. Thanks for this beautiful tribute!

  2. What a lovely tribute to what was clearly a beautiful relationship. The tears flowed as I read about your final moments together. Our pets are such cherished family members and give so unstintingly of their love and affection. It’s always too soon to say goodbye. Always. I’m so sorry for your loss….

  3. I am so sorry you lost your peanut:-(….I am going through this right now with our dog, punk. In dog years she will be 98 this year, and we lost another dog in 2009. I cried as I read your story + know your pain…the love for an animal that just touches your life beyond words, but you did such a beautiful job expressing all those feelings we go through. I also have 3 cats that I did not want, but were dragged home by my middle daughter:-)which I know how that goes…..I cried forever after Buddy was put to sleep in 2009 because his organs were shutting down. He was a beautiful husky + shepard mix that we picked up at the local shelter….I have never cried so badly about anything…I never knew one could cry so much over a pet…it went on for weeks + months that year..I would hear his bark when he was no longer here, I could swear I saw him out of the corner of my eye…oh thank you for sharing your story, it meant a lot today. We had 5 dogs and the first 2 have passed away, and punk is the last of that rescue bunch….we get up at 5am to give her pain medicine + I walk her out and make sure she does not slip since her arthritis is so bad….as you can see by how long this comment is, your story touched me….but at the end your words of comfort made me realize someday I will see them again:-) thank you so much:-)

  4. Oh my goodness, I cried through the last half of this. I’m so sorry you lost your Peanster, Theresa. We currently have a little 8 month old kitten we are hoping will survive. We don’t know how it happened but he has a crushed Trachea. I sure hope he makes it because we are already very attached to him. We’ve had many cats, most of whom lived to ripe old ages, one right now that is 21 is still hanging in there. But one of our favorites died at the age of 2 from a heart attack. Neither my husband nor I can talk about it yet without tearing up. He was a beautiful Maine Coon, and apparently there had been too much in breeding in his lineage. All but two of ours have been “street” cats as is Tuxie the one with the crushed Trachea. Thanks for sharing your story. Again I’m so sorry for your loss. I know how hard this is. Blessings, Natalie 🙂

    • It doesn’t take much for them to scamper their way into our hearts, does it? I’m hoping you have oh-so-many years left with your family of cats. They, and you, are blessed. Thank you, Natalie, for reading my posts, even when they make you cry…

      • Oh it doesn’t take much to make me cry. And besides as the saying goes, “if the eye had no tear, the soul would have no rainblow.” And I love rainbows, within and without. Have a great weekend, Theresa 🙂

  5. I have avoided reading this post for a few days as I didn’t know if I would be able to get through it … well, the tears started with the first sentence. Theresa, I am so, so sorry for your loss. The preciousness of the little gifts from God is utterly amazing … their unique personalities wind their ways into our hearts and like you related … many hearts have been melted that because of different reasons, cats are just not liked (health or just don’t like them) my dear husband being one of them. The warmth of their purr, their comforting cuddles, their feeding schedules, their little habits that become ingrained upon the family etc etc … I know, the last one we lost over two years ago … I still cry when little things remind me about him and we have lost others over the years. All little sweethearts. We are blessed with two adorable cats now. I pray that the emptiness will be replaced with more cuddles from Freddie. Thank you for this priceless post and sending cyber cuddles to any reading your words and are suffering because of similar circumstances.

    • Thank you so much for your kind thoughts, and I hope your tears were more of joy in loving your own animals than of sorrow. You are right – I have had more cuddles from Freddie; in fact, he is trying to lay atop my keyboard as I try to type this. He has gotten more attached to us than ever. I don’t even want to think about the fact that he is 15 years old… With gratitude and blessings…

  6. Theresa, I have no words to say that can comfort you in your time of grieving except thank you for sharing this beautiful tribute. Your heart is as big as the heavens. Truly a precious soul. I am so glad to know you. You are in my prayers.

  7. Wow Theresa. This should have come with a box of Kleenex. I am also a pet person and we have had to say goodbye to many. Some slipped away and some needed our help. Either way is never easy. I would like to invite you to read my blog “A Real Family Tree”. It deals with this. My condolences on your loss.

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