It's a Sad Day

It's a sad day at our house. Our cat, Stripe, is dying. He's 20 years old and has been our companion since he was about 3 weeks old. My sister found him abandoned in a dumpster and brought him to my house. I fed him with a bottle dropper for several weeks and he's been with us ever since. He's a Maine Coon and in his younger days weighed almost 25 pounds. He stood as tall as a medium sized dog and people would literally stop and ask what kind of cat he was because he was so big and beautiful. He's been in good health but at last time has caught up with him. He's not in any pain but he won't eat. We took him to the vet but she said there isn't anything we can do for him except to make him comfortable and wait. His breathing is slow and shallow and I know it won't be long now. Last night he curled up at the Island Girl's feet and hasn't moved since. It's been so sad watching him go but the effect it's having on my children is even harder. Island Girl is very much like her father and rarely does she get emotional about things but last night she came into the living room, sat down in my lap and burst into tears. It absolutely broke my heart and even though she's almost as big as I am I let her sit there for over an hour. Stripe has been here her whole life and she told me that she just assumed he would always be here. The boys aren't doing much better. They all understand that Stripe is very old and that he lived a very good life but of course that doesn't really help right now. I wish I could be stronger for them but I'm having trouble not crying myself.
We own some property up in the woods that has been in the Island King's family for generations and we're going to take Stripe there to bury him. Several other beloved pets from the Island King's family are buried there under a giant pine tree and that's where we'll put Stripe. Sigh. This is going to be a long, sad day.