My big regret in this life: I allowed another being to become ill and die because of my ignorance and lack of confidence in my own ability to love and heal another ...
My first cat was quiet and well-behaved for years and then she started peeing on the floor and furniture. I thought she was being a "bad kitty" and acting out for some unknown reason. I noticed that she was getting thinner and started to smell funny, but it never occurred to me that she was sick until it was VERY obvious.
By the time I got her to the vet, she wasn't expected to live. The vet told me that her kidneys were failing and her liver was damaged. That was why she was stinky and peeing everywhere. I felt awful for being angry and disciplining her when she couldn't help it.
The vet put her on IV and I took her home to care for her for a couple of days. I had her in a special bed with her favourite blankie at home. I kept her by my side at my desk so she could see me when she woke up and I could pet her frequently and talk to her all the time. I fed her with a syringe and made sure she got her medication. She started to recover.
The vet was surprised at how well she was doing and suggested that, because she was stronger now, I leave her with them for more intensive care. I didn't want to leave her with strangers in a strange and scary place, but let others convince me that she'd be better off with professionals ... I didn't know they were just going to stick her in a cage in a back room and check up on her every few hours.
She died within hours of my leaving her there. They said she waited at the door of the cage for me to return for her, but when they shut the office down and everyone went home, except for the person on night duty, she went to the back of the cage, curled up and died ... I never got to say good-bye, see her body, or have her cremated. She was just gone.
It's been over 10 years and it still eats at me that she thought I'd abandoned her ... that I'd let her get so sick in the first place ... that she died alone thinking that I didn't love her anymore.
I've done mediation and spoken with her since; apologized and been forgiven with great love, but for some reason, I have not been able to forgive myself. Every time I think I've moved passed it, I'm hit again by self-recrimination and the haunting image of her waiting for me to return.