It has been an entire year since you exhaled your last. An entire empty, unthinkable year without you. I’ve been trying to find the words to say goodbye, but the truth is, there are none. I could never have been ready and even typing this title reduced me to a sobbing mess.
I always thought that when your time comes, it would be an almost tribal rending of garments and screaming sort of pain. As with all things on our journey together, I was mistaken. Instead, from the moment I realised your chest had stopped moving, my blind fear was replaced by something akin to a spinal block. Slowly, all feeling left until there was nothing but the awareness of life and a disconcerting numbness. Except for the anger… The anger burned through. The anger remains and burns with the ferocity of of uncontrolled bush fire. Consuming in a blind attempt to fill an unfillable void. I’m so mad at the vet for not recommending more tests, at myself for not demanding them, at YOU for not showing us, at God for taking you from me, at Storm for not going to sleep.
It wasn’t your fucking time and you left us. You left me and I don’t know how to cope without you. For 14 years, you held me together, you helped me sleep, you comforted me, you gave your unique love. It kept me sane. Now you are gone and I see it all drift apart as I struggle to feel more than anger and emptiness.
You know how Hendri always joked that if ever the house caught fire and I could only save one, we’d all die as I frantically searched for you while you sat safely outside, mildly bemused? I think he may have been right. For a while there, I no longer wanted to live. I wasn’t suicidal. I just didn’t want to be here if you weren’t. But here I am. I even bargained with God. You’d find that amusing. Your rational, scientifically minded mother asked God to give you back. I still do at least once a week.
But Life Goes On
At first, I refused the notion of bringing another animal home. I viewed it an utter betrayal. But that’s not true, is it? Allowing another orphan into the space available is the ultimate way to honour you. And, against my intention, that is what happened. We brought home Strider and Helios. They don’t replace you and they sure as fuck don’t fill the massive chasm you left behind, but loving them honours your memory. You would hate them, of course. Strider is a right upstart and needs a good big bro hiding. Helios is an idiot, he’s a dog. I can picture your utter disdain.
It’s been a long time since I cared about heaven or hell. On some level, I think Heaven was reserved for animals. Now I consider hedging my bets so I can be with you again. I can only imagine that you and Sloot have hooked up and are making the afterlife … interesting. I imagine a cocky tabby duo ruling the golden streets like a tiny feline mafia and I long to be there.
The words knock the breath from me. I miss you. So. Fucking. Much. The familiar weight of you. Your undeniable arrogance, your head on my shoulder, your little snores right in my ear. To the world, you were a cat, but to us, you were a brother and son. To me, you were the world. You were an arsehole to the end and I respect that.
I love you, baby. I ALWAYS will