I spent the last hour or so carefully cleaning your spot in the laundry room. I threw away your blanket and that heated bed I bought for your old man cat bones, swept up the telltale black hair you’d left behind. Mopped. Not to erase you, but to remove the evidence of the suffering you went through at the end. Two cancers are really more than any one furry little guy should handle. But still, I thought we had more time. When you wouldn’t lift your head for a dish of cream, I knew it was time. I hated that knowledge. It hurt so much.
I tried to stay with you, in that spot where you spent your last night, curled up beneath the cabinet. I stayed as long as I could, but my body is not young anymore. I feel like you’d understand that. I couldn’t stay for the whole procedure at the animal hospital, either, because my heart doesn’t feel as young and strong as it used to. But that, you wouldn’t know much about. You stayed you until the end, until they gave you a shot and let me hold you until you fell into a deep sleep, your pink little tongue poking out between your front teeth and your breathing slow and steady, finally done with the pain. They took you away and I sat in the car and cried until I felt like I would be sick.
My grief at losing you is compounded by guilt, but I think that’s the way with humans. I’m so terribly sorry for being impatient with you. It’s a character flaw that runs pretty deep. You drove me nuts, you know, refusing to drink out of anything but the dripping sink. I’m sorry, too, for that last litter of kittens that caused you so much stress. Like I said, I thought we had more time.
Thank you for being a good friend. You healed a very deep hurt the minute Elana and I brought you home from that shelter in New York. I remember you slept next to me under the covers that night. What a weirdo! You stayed a weirdo, in the very best ways. Thank you for purring this morning when I petted you for one of the last times. It’s such a little thing, but I couldn’t bear the idea that you’d go out remembering only pain.
Telling my son stories about you will be so bitter sweet. I’ll always remember you.
I miss you. I love you. Thank you. And I’m sorry.