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CHARLEEN BUNCIC

"Gwennie was scheduled for euthanasia at 7PM. She had a terrible night with severe twitching encompassing her entire body. This was so agonizing to watch that I decided then that she needed help. All the next day she was incredibly weak, unable to barely walk. While she ate in the morning, she vomited an hour later, which means she probably lost all the potassium I had given her to help with the twitching. 

The twitching and weakness never subsided. Then she was at the water bowl drinking nonstop for hours on end. This is what my cat Gus has done the day he died. It was clear she needed to go. I agonized all day, and when my final attempt to give her some potassium came back up, I made my peace with the situation. 


About an hour before the vet’s arrival, I started throwing out things I would no longer need because I knew they would be far too hard to see: her fluid bag, syringes, opened cans of cat food, pain meds, etc. I found a bag of dry food and thought, ‘why not offer her some?’ since she hadn’t eaten all day after vomiting. Surprisingly, she ate, and ate some more. Two minutes before the vet arrived, Gwennie had stopped drinking for the first time all day and had lain down peacefully. Gwennie even walked on her own in a prefect straight line to hide from the vet. I was terrified she would get worse in the middle of the night. The vet was not comfortable euthanizing her when I was so confused. The vet suggested we wait and graciously offered to come back if she was needed, no matter what time of night. That gave me so much relief.

I had slept only an hour the night before so I decided to go to bed early and give Gwen the space she needed to work on her transition. At 1:30AM I went to check on her and brought her into bed with me. She got up to eat again, then laid down with me and began to purr! This was our little ritual…..I would get into my jammies and Gwen would get on her pink blanket and wait for me, then snuggle in next to me and purr until we fell asleep. But I couldn’t sleep. 

Earlier in the day she had communicated to me through Heather and had made it clear that she wanted to be “hand in hand” with me when she died, with “us dancing under the stars, looking out the window.” This was another love ritual we had. I would hold her on my right shoulder and sway back and forth and sing our special songs to her while we looked at the stars. In return she would nuzzle my neck and purr.

I always did this with her but more so after she got sick and Heather told me how important this was to her, back in January. This is what Gwen calls “us dancing.” 

At 2AM I decided to take advantage of the darkness outside and her feeling decent, since there is almost 24 hrs of sunlight here. I held her on my shoulder and sang to her as she purred and we danced. It was SO amazing! She purred so hard and for so long. I had continual chills running down my spine. You know that feeling you get, with something so amazing. 

When we finally went back to bed, she was purring and letting me rub her belly like she used to. We then began communicating. Expressing love. It was a magical experience of love that flowed back and forth. Soooooo much love that it could fill the universe!!! It was very powerful and healing for me. I told her how much I loved her and how much she has helped me, especially with Gus’ passing, my divorce, losing my mom, and now with losing her. 

The song “Wind Beneath My Wings” popped into my head. I’d never really got that song, but started to sing the once verse I knew to Gwennie over and over anyway. Then it occurred to me that Gwennie was the wind beneath MY wings! She’d helped carry me though some really difficult times in ways that I didn’t understand until this very moment. It occurred to me that she will STILL be the wind beneath my wings and would carry me through the grief of losing her, and that she will ALWAYS be with me. The clarity of this was profound. This finally gave me the peace I needed to let her go. Because she is not leaving me. She is transitioning into my own personal angel.

The love flow continued and I kept singing our songs to her. And just FEELING that love between us and its intensity. It really could have filled the universe! 

After a couple of hours, she got up, and ate yet more food and left me to go lay in her room.

In the morning she was good, but it all started happening again. I felt so bad that she was uncomfortable in her body, and my heart is SO heavy with sadness today, but I had got my second chance with her, heard her wisdom, and knew our time together was almost over. I realized I was ok with helping her to get out of her worn out body and move on to her next adventure. I did my best to keep her comfortable and I will let her tell me what is right tonight since she aced it last night.

I keep thinking if the vet had come at 5 pm the day before, like she wanted to, Gwen would be gone and I would have missed that amazing beautiful moment we had last night. I feel like I just had a miracle! We had a miracle together because I was there to listen and hear her message to me. And we all know how badly our animals are trying to teach us things.

During the session with Heather Gwen had said how my grief around all these very significant loses was a bit stuck, with me losing my mom just weeks before, and that her death was there to offer me healing. The message was that everything is going to be ok and that we will be together forever.

Later in the day on April 27, she finally calmed down and ate, came into the living room, got on the table, looked outside, ate, and the twitching stopped. I thought I would get another night with her. At 5 pm I put her on her pink bed. I told her she had till 7 pm to let me know what to do. I told her if she vomits or started to twitch before the vet arrived, then this would be it. At 6 pm she started to twitch again, and it was bad. I supplemented her no more. The vet was late. For two hours, I held her, and sang to her, and danced with her. I took her outside to smell the fresh air several times. I rocked with her and just loved her.

The vet arrived at 8PM. Gwennie was still twitching and staring off into space. She was ready to go. The vet gave her a sedative. Then she injected the euthanasia medication into her belly. She did not pass quickly but her breathing slowed, and then finally stopped. It took more time for her heart to finally beat its last beat. When that happened, I saw the base of her tail relax. 

She died in my arms. It took 20 minutes for her to finally go. All the while I held her, and sang to her, and loved her. The peace in the room and the grace I had to let her go was truly amazing and not something I ever thought I could ever muster. But I did.


Though it was not me. It was her, the wind beneath my wings, carrying me through this very difficult point in our 15-year journey together.


When I want to connect with her, this is what I think about, us 'dancing'. It was those moments where there was so much amazing love between us. So, so very much love.


I love you my sweet sweet Gwennie Girl!!!"

 
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HEATHER SHARES HER THOUGHTS ON THE SESSION...

Charleen called me when Gwen became ill and to her it was clear that she would need to make the choice to euthanize Gwen if the pain became too great.  Charleen was facing Gwen's impending death on the heels of three significant losses that had happened for her over the last 2-3 years. She had endured a difficult divorce, the death of her beloved cat, Gus, and most recently the loss of her mother. 


During one the communications in Gwennie's last weeks she showed me that she was "ushering" and supporting Charleen during her dying time. She expressed that dying will be OK for her but much harder on Charleen.  During a communication after Gwen's death she shared that her death was offering Charleen a clearing and healing. She showed it to me as spring cleaning a garage. If not for Gwennie's death the garage might stay half packed with things rattling around, never being cleaned out but with the crescendo of Gwennie's death a clearing/healing was possible.


The weeks following this last communication Charleen emailed me three times. The first week sharing a dream she had about her divorce. Instead of the usual repetition of negative incidents she experienced peace with her ex-husband in the dream. The next week she shared a dream about her beloved Gus.  He was happy and she expressed this was the first time she had a dream about him where he wasn't surrounded by illness. Now there was peace. And still another email came a week later. Charleen had connected with her mother in a dream.


In a later communication Charleen asked Gwennie if her purpose had been served in their life together. One of Gwennie's responses was: "Our communication, our love, but mainly the foundation we built together lives on in you (Charleen) and  it is important. In that way some of what I left in the world lives on."  Gwen had often given me the sense she felt very good about her life with Charleen and the role she played and what she offered was very important to her and her path.

 

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