Losing a friend

It’s easy to date the first time I met Carrie. It was the day after my birthday in 2007 and doubled as the first time I hung out with my now wife. At her apartment, Carrie walked up to me and I bent down to pet her. She immediately flopped onto her back so I could pet her tummy. I had no idea I would have the privilege of experiencing this hundreds of times over the next 13 years.

Last Friday ended up being the day we knew was coming since she was diagnosed with heart disease a little over a year ago. She started the day enjoying the sunshine before what we hoped would be a routine visit to the vet. When she got home, her back legs stopped working. While the rest of the day remains hazy overall, parts of it will be forever burned into my memory.

Saturday was beautiful. We spent much of the day at a small family gathering, and then went for a short hike before going back home. It poured all day Sunday and the new normal set in. It felt (and still feels) unreal, but all too real at the same time. I could still see the indentation on the blanket she slept on, one of her whiskers on the stair, dried blood from her poor hind legs on our bedsheet, and her medicines strewn across the kitchen counter. Anytime I walked to the kitchen I half expected to hear her yelling at me to give her treats.

She was tough and resilient till the end. She spent a lot of the last year at vets and emergency rooms. She had an enormous appetite, but she was wasting way. Through it all she persisted – though she was slower, less confident in jumping on the counter, and down to 6 lbs., her personality and lust for life still shone through.

She was adventurous. She loved car rides and walks. We moved often and, unlike our other two cats, reveled in exploring new environments.

It’s hard to come to terms with the fact that I’ll never again feel her body smashed against my face in bed while purring loudly; or see her meow at me from the window before greeting me as I walk in, rolling all over on her back as I pet her; or walk with her in the woods while she happily smells everything.

I’m pretty confident she led a happy, joyful life and I’ll always be grateful for the time I got to spend with her. I’m really sad and it’s hard to deal with. But it’ll get better.

Feels weird to write something so personal here, but I kinda just felt like it.