For fourteen years, she made me love her. She melted me with her rumbling purr. She humored me with her huge voice. She softened me with her warmth. With every beat of her stubborn heart, she made my life better.
The time came when that heart would soon cease to beat, and then she would cease to be. I was helpless against it, hopeless and powerless. I had nothing with which to fight it. I felt broken, brittle, and victimized. I felt scared because I knew there was more breaking to come. The severity of those feelings was as overwhelming as the feelings themselves. I felt my entire world about to change.
A piece of me was soon to leave, thereby twisting my reality, full of routines and priorities, into something new and void in so many places. I floated through days quietly weeping, with a heart slowly becoming unstitched.
Just when I would think I was okay, all cried out and ready to handle it with poise, another wave would hit. Usually when alone and without distraction, I was suddenly crippled with despair. The anger at the unfairness rose and towered above my efforts to function.
It is understandable to have grief for the impending death of a loved one. A human loved one. Some would say it’s an irrational amount of grief for an animal. But, she wasn’t just an ANIMAL. Perhaps I am supposed to be ashamed of grieving so hard and hurting so bad for one that is not human, but I am not.
I knew her and I loved her for so long. She was an important, good, and real part of my life. She was my family. I learned about plain, simple love from her, un-festered with the infection of humanness. I kissed her, played with her, talked and listened to her. I fed her, bathed her, and held her. I loved her as a person and that is how I grieved her.
Her absence will be forever. The thought of it made me regret every selfish day of vacation that I spent away from her, not kissing her or snuggling her. Although I knew that if I could recapture those days, it would not make this easier.
She was not young. She had a full and spoiled life. But if life was fair, hers would be longer and with all the happiness of her younger, healthier days. I hope she knew I love her. I hope that over the years I did enough to make her feel loved, safe, happy, and important and like her life meant something to me. I hope she knew I have always loved her.
I should feel lucky, and I know that I am, to have had so many years to enjoy her. I should feel lucky that I knew when it was going to happen. Lucky that when I held her and kissed her for the last time, I understood it would be the last. I took pictures of her face and recordings of her voice and gave her the best last days. I should feel lucky because I am. But that realization did not make me feel lucky nor did it stamp out any small part of the pain. Soon she would be gone, forever, and I did not want to know the end of her. I did not want to know how it feels to be without her. I did not want the hopeless pain of knowing that though I long for her, I can never again feel her, see her, or hear her.