Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Love and Loss

A few weeks ago, I lost my beloved cat. Her death didn't just blindside me; it devastated me. 

We have three other cats, of course, but she was so special. We had a bond like I've never experienced with another animal. Hell, I've never experienced it with another person. The cancer moved quickly, and we didn't see it coming. She wasn't even five years old. I could not have loved her more and I feel cheated out of time I could have had with her, and guilt that I couldn't do anything to save her.

It's taken me weeks of daily sobbing fits to be able to write about my loss. I'm getting better, but the love I had for this little girl is so intense that it does make me wonder about the connection a mother has with her child.

If you're going to chastise me for comparing the two, just stop right now, okay? I know it's different, but this is the closest I will get to this emotion, so just give me a break here.

I've lost animals before, but with her it was like a part of me left with her. As I held her in my arms in her last moments I felt my heart break with physical pain that radiated through my entire body. I still feel an emptiness that I'm terrified will never leave. I miss her every day in little ways, and sometimes in big ways. I loved her most.

I'm not having random breakdowns anymore, but the pain is still palpable. The way I'm choosing to deal with some of this grief is to get a new kitten. When my first cat was growing old and ill, I got my new little girl. She was essential to getting over my grief, and I think that's a big reason why our bond was so close. I needed her, she needed me, and we became inseparable.

I love my other cats, of course, but I lack that special, deep connection with them. I know now that I crave that connection, that I need that in my life. But I also know now that a bond with an animal is enough to satisfy that part of who I am. Losing her has taught me a lot about myself and the love that I need in my life.

We're going to meet the new kitten this week. If we bond, if it feels right, we will jump in feet first. While I know better than to expect the intensity of the bond with a new kitten to rival the kitty love of my life, I'm excited to open my heart up to another animal. New beginnings for a new year.