It’s not right. The house is empty, the noises are all wrong. We are all lost, every single one of us.
It is simply not right that you are gone.
In July of 1995, I was a broken girl. My boyfriend, the man I mistakenly believed was the love of my life, had been transferred to Japan. I had suffered an early 2nd term miscarriage of a baby I was already very attached to. I was spending all of my evenings trying to drown my sorrows, playing as hard as a broken girl could manage, trying to forget that life basically sucked. Trying hard to just live anyway.
And then someone asked me if I would like a kitten.
I love cats, always have. In the post high school years filled with dormitories and roommates, having a pet wasn’t practical, so I had went without that unconditional love for a long time. Truthfully since my cat Cinders had died my junior year of high school, I’d not had a best pet friend of my own.
“OF COURSE, I want a kitten!!” screamed out the broken little girl inside of me.
They brought a literal basket full. 4 of them, wiggly, fluffy, scrawny kittens … each as adorable as the next. I have always had a fondness for black cats (Cinders was black) and in this basket were 3 tigers and one all black. Still, the tigers were adorable, very playful and frisky and the little black guy? The runt of the litter? He stayed apart, quieter. I played with all of them for a while, then just laid on my side on the carpet and watched. It didn’t take long until the little black fellow made his way over to me. Not to my hand, to urge petting; not to curl up beside me; no, he walked right up to my face. I stayed very still, unsure what would happen next, and this tiny little black ball of fur and big eyes brought his nose directly to mine and sat there, nose to nose as if to say, “It’s me, silly. I’m yours.”
And he was.
Scrapper healed me. He became the child I longed for. He licked the tears from my cheeks following countless broken relationships. He curled up beside me and purred his little heart out every chance he got. He also climbed my leg, the screen, bit my head to wake me when he wanted attention, escaped the house and scared the poo out of me countless times and numerous other frustrating and frightening things. For nearly 19 years, that ball of black fur was the one constant in my life. He put up with the invasion of 2 more cats, a husband, a dog, a child, a move across the country, another dog, and a ferret. He lived in 3 houses, 4 apartments and numerous hotel rooms from San Diego to New York. Once he nearly lived in a wall, but thankfully we rescued him from that.
19 years is a really long life for a cat, especially one born in a barn in the desert region of California and Scrapper lived a very full life. Still, as long as that is, it wasn’t long enough. Not nearly.
I prayed that God would allow you to go to sleep one night and pass onto that Rainbow Bridge peacefully and without pain. I watched as you lost weight, slowed down, and became quite senile. Your panicked meow (ma ma!!) in the middle of the night when you didn’t know where you were broke my heart. But as long as you weren’t in pain, I still prayed for that peaceful end. I remember one day, gosh probably a couple of years ago now, when you were acting quite ill and we thought you were preparing for your next journey. We sat there again on the floor, nose to nose, because you never got tired of that, and I told you I understood and I was ready, if you needed to go. You knew that I was not. I’m still not. I never, ever possibly could be.
I think you were waiting for me, trying to hold out as long as you could so as not to leave me broken again, the way you found me. Your poor little body, though, it simply couldn’t hold out any longer. The look you gave me yesterday … all the pain and fear I saw in your beautiful golden eyes. 2 days you went from slow and old and senile to broken, battered and tortured and I knew that I didn’t have a choice any longer. I loved you too much to let you hurt like that.
Even if I was not ready. Even if it would indeed leave me broken … again.
Letting you go, giving you the freedom that you could not, was the hardest decision I have had to make in my life. I know it was the right one. I know that your pain is gone and you are happy and whole again, because that is what I believe. I know that there is a place where we will all meet again, whole and pain free. But today, for now I am broken and sad and missing you more than I can put into words. You were my best friend, little Scrapper the cat.
So, it is NOT right. The house is all wrong. Clover the dog keeps searching for her friend. She can’t understand why all the sun spots are empty and lonely. Thumper, the little grey cat, keeps calling out for his old friend, the bossy black cat who has ruled the house all his life. We all automatically look to your spots, to check that you are OK. But you are not, you are gone.
I will survive. I will go on, because that is what I am supposed to do. This is life. However, my world, my whole world is not right because there is supposed to be a little black cat in it. Not just any cat, the perfect cat. My cat. My Scrapper.
I will miss you until the end of time.