I didn’t get editing done this past week, because it was spent saying goodbye to a very dear old friend.
I’ve grown up with all kinds of animals… my mom is a dog breeder, and at one time a cat breeder, and we grew up with chickens, rabbits, a parrot, assorted reptiles, and more dogs and cats than should probably be reasonably owned by one family. But when Casper was born – my tiny, solid white Siamese kitten – I was eighteen. I watched him come into the world, and every day since he had been mine. Casper loved me more than I think probably any other creature on this earth has ever loved me. Absolutely, unconditionally, with no judgment or expectations or disappointment. He adored me whether or not his food bowl was full, whether or not his catbox was clean. All he ever wanted from me was attention. He was gorgeous, and noisy, and the consummate lap cat.
I got to enjoy his presence in my life for fifteen and a half years. But as kitties do, he got old and skinny and cranky. And last Friday, I had to make the decision whether to end his life in peace, without further pain, or let him die slowly of blood poisoning and dehydration as his kidneys failed. He was sick and miserable, but at the vet he was happy to have my one on one attention. He cuddled me and purred so hard that his skin-and-bones body rattled in my lap. And I knew that was how he wanted to go, in my arms, with kisses and cuddles and petting. I knew he didn’t want to go home to another night of being curled up shivering on the couch, wanting to drink water but feeling too sick to keep it down, barely being able to take three or four steps before losing strength and falling over, and slowly feeling worse and worse until his heart couldn’t take it anymore. So I let him go. And it was as peaceful and sweet and loving as any other part of his life. Much, much harder for me than it was for him.
I don’t think I’ve ever had such a hard time saying goodbye to a pet. The life he shared with me was epic. He saw me through high school graduation, through college, through every relationship I have ever had, the loves that came and went, the friends that came and went. He saw me through every dream I’ve achieved and every misery I’ve survived. He let me dance with him happily when I got my first book published, and cry into his fur when my heart was broken. Casper was more a part of me than I think any other living creature has ever been. And he lived a rich, long, full life of joy and love. There really isn’t much more that I could have asked for.
Still, it’s hard to wrap my head around the fact that he’s gone. We still have three cats and a tiny dog in the house… PLENTY of animals… but the house feels emptier without him. I feel emptier without him. It feels surreal that the sun keeps rising and setting as if nothing happened… that I go to bed at night and there’s no big white kitty trying to suffocate me or squeeze in between me and my girlfriend… that I will come home from work this afternoon and there won’t be an aria of deafening meows to greet me. I miss him so very much.
I am so grateful that he spent his life with me.
So anyway, as you can probably imagine, I haven’t had much in the way of creative energy this past week. Hoping to get back to it this week, so I can get a last round of edits in. Bear with me, friends…