These are the windows, blinds closed, to the special room at the vet's, with the upholstered furniture, the fancy rug on top of the carpet, the framed poster of traditional Chinese medical wisdom, the tasteful prints, and the CD player with something like the Tao of Enya cued up therein, should it fit with your needs. They bring you in there when it's euthanasia time. Then they bring in your pet. You can hang out for a while if you want, to say goodbye, to get choked up while singing him songs, and maybe explain, maybe not. When you're ready, you haul him and his i.v. stand over to within reach of the buttons on the wall and, as instructed, push the red one, at the top, above the yellow, which is above the green. Then they send the doc in with the overdose of anasthesia.
You've been crying before, some. Even when it's time, though, and while it's happening, you don't cry so much as you do afterwards, when he's not there to pick up the vibe. When it's done, you stammer to the vet words you won't remember later; she does and doesn't embrace you, and you do and don't, her.
They don't make you pay that day. You leave with your empty cat carrier. You stop in the bright sunshine and take a picture of the windows with your phone, unable to tell whether it's blurry, unable to tell whether you're unable because your sunglasses aren't progressives or because you're crying now but good.
Chet was a good old guy. You cry more when you type that, as you will when you insert this close-up, taken just days before you gave up the ghost and arranged for him to give up the ghost:
The rest of that day, along with the next, is strange. Arriving home, you think about saying to the other cats the words your mother used, barely audible for her sobbing, instead of "yes, your father's dead" --- it's just us now --- but you don't. Humphrey seems to get it; little Manifesto does not. But they play together so fondly, so goofy, having taken to each other as one always hopes one's pets will do & they never do seem to; watching it lightens your spirits, despite everything.
You can't believe they actually bathe each other. You think how one will someday be lost to have lost the other. And though tears still come, and though mornings won't be the same for a long time, or ever, and though Humph suddenly, in the middle of other things, will look up at you plaintively & yowl with a deep, hollow echo, there's also relief. Relief to have it over. Relief that the ailing, failing cat you've been pained to be with every day for weeks has closed his eyes and lowered his head between his big ol' feet on a plush chair in a designer room for death and gone to sleep forever.