Wednesday, October 13, 2010

I'll keep your memory safe in my heart

"and I'm not quite saying goodbye
but how time does fly
and I'll keep your memory
safe in my heart
'cause were never really apart,
you're just moving on
you're just moving on"

The above is part of a song I wrote when my ferret Fiona started to get really sick over a year ago. I had to put her to sleep on memorial day of this year.

Today, my ferret Egan was diagnosed with heart disease, and was given about 1 month to live.

Before I decided to take Egan to the vet this afternoon, I was pondering gardens.
I worked from my home office today, and was specifically thinking about the garden beds that would go in under my office window.

I had decided several months ago that I was going to put an arbor up in the corner of the yard, just behind the gate. On that arbor, I decided to grow purple Clematis in honor of my grandmothers memory. When Fiona passed, I decided to make that corner of the yard a memorial garden of sorts.

Since Fiona means fair one in Gaelic, I decided that I should plant a white flowering plant for her, although I hadn't decided on a specific plant.

Unfortunately, because of the days events, I was not personally able to take Egan to the vet. Luckily, my friend and pet sitter Stacee was able to take him. At first, when she told me the diagnosis from the doctors, I think I went into shock. I was able to talk with her like a normal person, and not tear up or hyperventilate. I think I actually said to her at one point I hadn't really processed everything and that's the only reason I could really speak to her.

During our last conversation before Stacee brought Egan home, I went outside to think. It only took a few minutes for the reality of the situation to set in. I think the thing that really got the flood gates to open is when I started to think about what plant I should plant for Egan in the memorial garden.

Since his name means fire or little fire in Gaelic, I decided his plant needed to be orange-ish, and planted close to Fiona's plant.

Since the vet appointment, Egan hasn't improved much. He has fluid around his lungs and heart, and his heart is enlarged. The fluid retention in his body is causing him pant and have labored breathing. One of the medicines he was given is supposed to help drain the excess fluid out of his body, but it might not kick in for a few days.

Apparently, heart disease isn't that common in ferrets. The vet told Stacee that Egan is the oldest ferret (7 yrs) he's seen in fairly good shape, and that the reason that heart disease isn't often seen in ferrets is because most ferrets don't live long enough to develop the disease.

I hate seeing him so uncomfortable, especially when there isn't much I can do about it. Luckily I worked from home most of the day, so I was able to notice his discomfort and get him to the vet sooner rather than later.

As I've been sitting with Egan this evening, I thought about the similarities between my ferrets and flowers. Both start off from seeds, start out small, bloom, wither, and finally pass.

Another random thought I had earlier was about the signs Fiona left me when she passed. The first couple of weeks after I had to put her to sleep, I kept seeing white feathers. Now, this isn't one of those things where I looked for feathers and thought of her...they would show up in random places. The most obvious occurrence was when I was looking for something in my room, and stuck my hand under the bed to feel around. When I pulled my hand out there was a white feather stuck in between the beads on the bracelet I was wearing. That's the point at which I knew for sure Fiona was telling me that she was ok.

I wonder what signs Egan will give me when he passes. I wonder if, the first time Egan and Fiona see each other on the other side, they will wrestle and make THE ferret noise.

I know that my furkids and I are never really apart, Fiona proved that to me with her feathers. They move on, just like the rest of us will at some point.

I know the finished memorial garden will keep their memories safe in my heart.