Saying Goodbye to a Forever Friend and Welcoming a New Lost Soul Into Our Lives
It's taken me nearly 2 months to share with you the news of the passing of my sweet Sophe. For 15 years she was my constant companion, my furry forever friend. Except it wasn't really forever and my heart is still very sad.
Sophe showed up on my porch the night before Halloween. This tiny, hungry, little black and white floof wouldn't leave the porch. After about the fourth time of going outside and finding her still on the porch, I let her "sneak" into the house with me... and that was it. She was mine and I was hers. At first she would only lay next to me on the couch but never on me. Then eventually she would lay on me but if I tried to pet her, she would get up and walk away. She would purr but not out loud. Not until years later. I always wondered how long she had been on her own before I found her and how scary it must have been for her to feel like she had to purr silently.
As time went on, she got more comfortable with me and she would lay on me anytime I was sitting still but especially if I was having a rough day, didn't feel well or if I was sad. During the 15 years we were together, I went through some very difficult things in my life including a few changes of address, some ugly breakups, a battle with substance abuse and my fight with depression. The only constants in all of that chaos were my daughter and my cat. In 2010 I had a car accident and I was in so much pain that I couldn't really do much to take care of myself, let alone my daughter and she had to go stay with her dad for a few weeks. During that time, it was just me and Sophe. When I would lay in bed too sore and in too much pain to move, she would be laying on my thighs. When I would wake up, she would still be there. It was almost as if she never left me in my sleeping hours.
In the last couple of years, as Sophe got older, she had started to lose some weight. The jump into our bed had become increasingly difficult for her and she had moved from cuddling in my lap to cuddling in Shawn's too. I knew she was nearing that point where I was going to have to make a hard decision - one that I did not want to make. Early on the morning of April 29th, Shawn was in the kitchen when Sophe collapsed in the floor. He woke me up and as soon as I saw her, I knew we couldn't wait. She physically could not move. She looked at me as I picked her up and she meowed. I knew it was time to say goodbye to my dear, sweet friend. In tears and with a broken heart, we took her to the emergency vet where I sat with her and stroked her head while I told her how much I loved her, how grateful I was for her and I promised her that I would meet her one day at the rainbow bridge.
We decided to have her humanely cremated and I have her remains in an urn at home. I miss her terribly and while I knew that I would be a mess when the day finally came to say goodbye, I had absolutely no idea just how hard it would be. I cried uncontrollably for days. Hell, I'm in tears as I type this. The first morning, I mistook a piece of clothing in the bedroom floor for her and my heart stopped. The second night after she was gone, after getting back in bed in the middle of the night from a quick trip to the bathroom, I swear I heard her meow. There has been so much grief that at times I thought I might just be losing it. It turns out that losing a pet is one of the most painful experiences you can go through in life. According to an article from PsychCentral.com, one of the reasons the grief process is so difficult is the "Loss of a 'Life Witness.'" PsychCentral describes it this way:
- The loss of a “life witness”: Not only do our animals provide us with their uninhibited emotional expression, but they also allow us to express parts of ourselves that we may never let other humans see. They observe our weaknesses, our victories, and move through years of our lives with us. During periods of upheaval, they often provide us with security, stability and comfort.
This is exactly what Sophe was to me (and so much more). She was my stability. My security and my comfort. She was an amazing animal and I am so grateful that she chose me that chilly October night in 2003. She will forever be a part of my story and will forever have a place in my heart. I loved her and she loved me unconditionally, even when I fell short. It's been a hard couple of months but I think I am ready to welcome another kitty into my life. I could never replace my Sophe nor would I ever want to but I do have this immense love that I have been giving freely for the last 15 years and now it has no where to go... I think that's what she would want. I think Sophe would want me to share that love with another kitty in need of a forever home.
I started looking for just the right kitty about a week or so ago. I'd been in contact with a cat rescue in Louisville called 'Kindle and Clowder Institute for Wayward Felines' and they had a kitten they thought would be a good fit for our family. He had found his way into a kill shelter in Indiana that only had a 3 day holding period - this means that on Monday he was schedule to be euthanized. The folks at Kindle & Clowder scooped him up on Monday and on Tuesday morning, they emailed me. Obviously, Shawn and I made the trip to Louisville last night to meet the little guy. Turns out he is absolutely perfect in every way. He's a Maine Coon mix with massive paws and he's super soft with silky fur, incredibly affectionate and cuddly - he even lets you rub his belly! - and he's a talker too. He doesn't have a name just yet but he definitely has earned a place in our hearts... and our bed - he was quite comfy snuggled up between the two of us last night. Right now we are just calling him "Mr. Kitty" until we can decide on a definite name. I had some that I thought were really great but Shawn thought they were too corny. For example, I thought Detroit would make an excellent name - full name Detroit Rock Kitty... that was met with an eyeroll so big I thought they were going to fall back into his head. We do have some contenders for names we just feel like we need to see what his personality is like before we commit to anything. So for now, meet Mr. Kitty:
If you are looking for a new forever friend of your own, here is a list of local rescues and shelters in the Tristate with many loving companion animals to choose from. If you'd like to learn more about Kindle & Clowder in Louisville, you can find their website here.