Farewell to Portland & Moya

On an airplane, headed back home from TASH. Thank goodness for overpriced, ridiculously slow wifi on planes!

So immensely grateful I was able to meet so many wonder activists and advocates, some whom I have had the pleasure of being able to communicate with online regularly and some of whom I was introduced to for the first time this week.

pacla_tashThankful for everyone who stopped by the Parenting Autistic Children with Love & Acceptance poster presentation on Wednesday afternoon/evening (especially those who enthusiastically grabbed buttons!) and the Autism Women’s Network talk this morning on Creating Supportive & Inclusive Spaces For Autistic Women. It is an honor to be able to work with Lei Wiley-Mydske (Ed Wiley Autism Acceptance Lending Library), Kassiane Alexandra S. (Radical Neurodivergence Speaking), Morénike Onaiwu, and Leah Kelley (30 Days of Autism: Leah Kelley)!

I spent most of yesterday being non-verbal and hiding in my Airbnb, regaining spoons, so that I would be able to go out with friends who reside in Portland and were not attending TASH.

Something I wasn’t sure I wanted to write about and I’m still not really ready to get too much into (we’ll see how much I end up typing)… on Friday, I had to very unexpectedly euthanize my therapy/service cat, Moya. Many of you know what Moya meant (and still means) to me; he was like my kid for the last nine years and we were nearly inseparable. Losing him has taken an enormous toll on me and I wasn’t sure I could even attend TASH, let alone participate in two presentations at the conference.

Moya was diagnosed with lymphoma in September, when he had a large tumor removed from his lower intestine/colon. He was subsequently put on steroids and we had an expectation of him being around at least a few more months to maybe a year or two (if we were lucky).

Unfortunately, a routine procedure (unrelated to his lymphoma) performed last week by an incompetent “emergency” veterinarian – which should have taken 15-20 minutes but ended up taking 2+ hours and required a specialist to come in and try to clean up the hack’s mess in a secondary surgery immediately following the first procedure – did so much damage to him, it was not prudent to put Moya through the highly invasive surgery required to reconstruct the area damaged and the recovery process, which would have made him miserable & given him a poor quality of life for whatever the remainder of his life may have been.

I was looking forward to getting Moya home Friday night, after a rollercoaster of emotions last week with the procedure going awry and then allegedly being “fixed” (but not really, as I now know), so that we could cuddle for the weekend and I could calm down before TASH. Unfortunately, I spent Friday night saying goodbye to my Best Cat (all cats are Best Cats, it’s not a competition… and Moya was MY Best Cat) and then having the worst meltdown I’ve had in years.

The idea of arriving home this afternoon and not seeing a huge ball of stripey orange & white fur moyawaiting for me at the front door of my house is causing me so much stress. Writing this is helping, but there are tears in my eyes. I do not know how I will be able to function properly without Moya in my life.

Moya was the one constant I could always count on. He had gotten me through some very taxing situations over the course of his life. Sleeping on me almost every night, so that I could actually get some sleep (I have had issues with insomnia my entire life). Hopping on my lap before any meltdown or anxiety issue, because he knew when those were about to occur before I did, most of the time. Allowing me to hug him for as long as I needed to, whenever I needed to, without complaining… and always hugged me back (yes, he would wrap his front paws around my neck or my waist and squeeze). Permitting me to flip his ears between my fingers whenever I needed to stim. Giving me nose nudges and kisses regularly, to remind me how bonded we were and that I had unconditional love from someone at all times.

Losing him is like losing a sizable portion of my heart. I am the very definition of heartbroken.

So, if you met me this week, I apologize for not being completely in the moment. My mind and heart were definitely elsewhere. I pushed myself to go and I’m so glad I did.

Now, it’s time for me to figure out how to live in a Moya-less world and adjust to that reality.

(NOTE: While I appreciate sympathy/empathy, I kindly ask that none be expressed in comments to this post. While I am okay to write about Moya in this moment, I cannot predict how I will feel in a couple minutes, hours, or days and am not sure I can process comment notifications further reminding me of his absence.

If you want to express good wishes on Moya’s behalf, I ask you to please encourage those you know to adopt a shelter animal and give them a forever home. He was a rescued cat and gave me a love that will remain unmatched for the rest of my life. I wish everyone could get to experience that and I encourage everyone to give themselves the chance to do so and also in doing so… save a life. Thank you.)