We last saw you alive eight days ago. Your hearing wasn’t what it used to be. Your vision was nearly gone due to age-related cataracts. Your body was failing you. But I was still hoping it wasn’t your time.
We wanted to go on vacation. With new jobs and moves impending, we knew this would be the only chance we had for many, many months. So we took a risk and left you while we went on vacation. We left you on Saturday in hopes that you would be okay until we returned.
We entrusted our neighbors to care for you and Josie and Emma. They loved you like their own and took good care of you all week. We got progress reports that everything was fine.
I was dreading coming home. Coming home to the drudgery of every day life and the challenges that lay ahead. But we were looking forward to seeing all of you.
I walked in the door to be greeted by the wagging tail and uncontrollable excitement of Emma. I knew you were probably upstairs sleeping since that is what you do most of the time. You then make your way downstairs when your tummy tells you it’s time. I thought I would see you tonight.
I called out “Arnie! Josie!” and thought you might come down. A short while later, Josie came down and I thought you might follow. But you didn’t. Why didn’t I check on you? I don’t know.
And then I heard it, “HONEY! Can you come up here?” I heard the panic in his voice. I thought for a second that there might be some pet messes on the carpet upstairs. But then I knew. I recognized the tone. I knew before I went upstairs that you were gone.
I saw you laying in the hallway, not in a place where you would ever lay. I didn’t hesitate. I picked you up and cradled you. I held you. I was fine. It was okay. And then the floodgates opened. You still felt warm. I asked you to come back. Just come back long enough for me to say goodbye. But you were gone.
Sometime between 4:30 pm and 8:30 pm, you breathed your last breath. My only hope was that I would be there to hold you and say goodbye as you left us. But I didn’t go upstairs. I didn’t check on you. What if you were lying up there while I was home? What if you were waiting for me?
I don’t know. I can’t say. And I don’t really want to know. Last Saturday as we were leaving much later than our intended departure time, ever so typical for us, always rushed, I made everyone wait. I needed to see you. You were laying in your bed. I snuggled you in your blanket. I kissed you and hugged you and made you purr. And I said to you, “I want you to stay. I want you to be here when I get home. But if you need to go, it’s okay.”
I said goodbye again not really knowing it was my last goodbye.
I will miss you forever, Arnie. You were the best cat that ever lived. You were my forever cat.
I would love for you to read Arnie’s full story here. He’s the only guest poster I’ve ever had.