Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Paw prints on my heart

I'm no stranger to loss. In the last few years of high school and the first few years of college, it felt like I spent more time at funerals than I did at parties, saying goodbye to friends who were gone way too soon. With all the grief I've experienced, never did I expect it to be the loss of a furry, four-legged friend that would be among the hardest with which to cope.

My sweet snuggle bunny, Mimi, came into my life 11 years ago. It was only a matter of months before I couldn't remember what life was like before her.

As she started showing her 17 years of age in the last few months, I was scared of what I knew would eventually come. Just the thought of it caused a separation anxiety of sorts and several bad dreams.

On Friday afternoon, my nightmare came true: Mimi let us know that she was ready to go, and we had to say goodbye to her. That was - surprisingly - the easier part because it was a blessing that we could give her one final gift of love: the gift of peace.

Coming home without her, though, ripped a hole in my heart. The sudden quietness of our apartment is deafening. Her absence is profound; we didn't truly understand how much she was a part of our everyday routines until she no longer was.

There is no meowing when I put ice in my morning water.

No begging to share my milk during breakfast.

There are no longer two eyes peering into the bathroom, waiting for me to get out of the shower.

There is no keeping my spot on the couch warm while I'm at work.

The "welcome home from work" reception is less enthusiastic when there's no flopping in delight at my feet.

This is no longer the scene as I change into my PJs.

Burning the midnight oil is lonelier.

Vacuuming is not nearly as entertaining.

There's no longer competition to sit in my chair.

Or lie in the bed.

My fellow TV buddy is gone.

As is my reading buddy.

And also my "thunder buddy," who was always ready to lend a comforting paw and purr.

Nearly every aspect of my daily life at home is scarred by her absence.

Mimi could have lived another 17 years, and it still wouldn't have been enough time with her. I'd always want to enjoy one more snuggle, hear one more meow, feel the vibration of one more purr. I'm so grateful for the ones I got to share with her for the last third of my life. She brought such joy to us. Her paw prints are forever on my heart.



Cheri said...

I am so sorry for your loss Cheryl. Our furry friends definitely do hold a very special place in our hearts and it hurts a lot letting them go. Our kitties have a lot of the same behaviors. Ashley comes running when she hears ice water in a glass. She likes drinking right out of your glass! And both Ashley and Kira will steal our spots of the sofa and get annoyed when we move them. We were at our local SPCA a couple of weeks ago (donating all the expensive kitty food that Ashley can no longer eat because of her allergy) and saw so many beautiful cats we would have loved to take home... when the time comes (hopefully not soon) our next pet will definitely be a rescue.

Greta @gfunkified said...

I am so very sorry, Cheryl. I know it's so incredibly hard...even more than a spouse or a child, an animal can be there all the time. Always with you, never judging or fighting or disagreeing. Just there. I'm so sorry, and I hope the space she used to fill becomes less profound over time. Sending lots of virtual hugs.

Shell said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. xo

Brianne U. said...

Cheryl, I am so sorry about Mimi. I know there's really nothing that I can say that will help, but looking at all your pictures, I can tell how much you loved each other.
Losing Lucy is something that I worry about almost on a daily basis. I don't even know how I will begin to deal with that when it happens.
I guess they say that our pets give us so much love in their short lives that they don't need to live as long as we do. It would still be nice though.


K said...

I'm sorry to hear. It's incredible how they insert themselves into every aspect of our lives. I'm glad you have all those pictures.

Alison said...

Cheryl, I am so very sorry for you loss. Hugs.

Sian said...

I'm very sorry to read about Mimi. It's especially hard to lose a pet who has been with you so long and feels like a link with a past life, almost.