But this morning I got a call from Dr. Tan, the weekend not-quite-so-bedside-mannery vet, to say she hadn't done well overnight, and she thinks it's time, and she has an opening at 11:40 and do I want to be there and do I want the ashes.

I was confused, but I said of course I want to be there, and we could talk about ashes when I came in, and I got my bewildered self over there.  Their reception people ushered me discreetly into an exam room as soon as I came in the door, and I read every inch of the 'cat breeds of the world' poster 3 times during the excruciating wait for them to bring her to me.

But everything changed when she came in the room.  Her breathing was labored, and she didn't acknowledge my presence even after they left us alone.  Dr. Tan came in and said the evening tech had called her last night to say she was drooling a lot and having trouble breathing, so Dr. Tan had them remove the IV because it sounded like the lungs were full of fluid.

She left me alone to spend some time with her, but the way she was heaving for each breath, honestly I just wanted it to be over quickly.  She didn't want to be held, she didn't respond to being touched.  A completely different cat than she was yesterday (and I am so glad we had yesterday!).

The actual mechanics of the thing were fast and peaceful.  I had one tiny sob, but I held it together.  Dr. Tan was as comforting as her brisk, efficient manner allows her to be.  As soon as it was done, Asti felt different under my hand.  It was unambiguous that the thing that made her Asti was no longer there, and now it was the body of a dead cat.  So when Dr. Tan asked if I wanted to be alone with her for a while, I said no thank you.

Blendi texted to see how I was holding up.  I told him "I feel numb.  I feel like a different person, like there is a before I went through this me, and an after me.  I feel old, and tired, and empty and sad.  But no guilt or regrets."

I think that's as good as can be expected.