I went to the vet today to pay for Simon's "arrangements" and pick up a mold of his paws and some of his fur that they collected from me. First of all, I have to say that the vets at South Hyland Pet Hospital in Bloomington are the nicest vets I've ever encountered in my life. The vet (who called me and didn't mind waiting while I cried so hard I couldn't talk and who sat with me while I said my goodbyes to Simon and took our picture) was standing nearby when I came in today. She came over and asked me how I was doing, and gave me some advice on how to help Favre get over the loss of his "cage mate." She was very concerned, and everyone there was so kind both on Friday when I was there and today.
I wanted to put Simon's birth and death dates on his paw mold...and I realized that I really didn't know exactly when he was born. I was figuring around the summer of 2000, since I knew I didn't have him in my first Northfield apartment but I did in my second, which I moved into in the summer of 2000. I don't remember *not* having him in that apartment. Turns out, I didn't get Simon until 2002. This is upsetting...first of all, a six year old chin is not old at all. Chinchillas can live to be 15-20 years old.
I wonder if there were things I did--or didn't do--that shortened his lifespan. I've been struggling a lot with the guilt that I didn't feed him as much as I should have during the three weeks he was recovering from his teeth filing. He needed to be fed by hand, and it was really time consuming, and I was frustrated that he wasn't eating his regular food like he did the last time he had them filed. I was hoping that if I fed him one syringe of food (he was supposed to get two a day) he would begin to eat his regular food too. When I brought him in, they said that even if he could recover with his teeth (which he couldn't, and I need to remember that), he had lost so much weight that his liver was compromised. I feel horrible that during the last weeks of his life he spent most of them hungry and, apparently, in pain. I can't think about that, though, or I'll drive myself crazy. He didn't die because of how I fed him...he died because of his teeth roots, which isn't anything I could control.
It all boils down to the fact that I miss him. And finding out that he was only six, when I really thought he was eight or nine years old, only makes it worse. I'm still crying all the time, but it's weird things that trigger it. Like, this morning when I was walking downstairs I saw Favre in the cage and accidently called him Simon. Tears. Seeing the syringe with little bits of Critical Care left in them from Thursday while doing the dishes. Tears.
I know it'll get better. It always does. And I'm thinking about maybe getting another chinchilla. But I don't know...I shouldn't get one...I'm not going to make any decisions for awhile.