Friday, December 07, 2007

goodbye, sweet friend

jackie_couch

We lost a dear friend yesterday. About a week ago we found out that our sweet kitty Jackie had a big, mean tumor in her belly. Since then she has made a rapid decline, and yesterday we said goodbye to her and buried her in the garden. I can't remember when I've ever cried so much.

About five years ago we moved into a rental house downtown, and she came with the property. Jackie technically belonged to the landlady, but lived outside, and when the landlady moved out of the house, she couldn't catch Jackie. So she became our outside kitty. For about three years we fed her, and slowly she softened up enough to accept a scratch on the head with her dinner. Then one June, she disappeared.

After four months, we had given up hope. She had lived an adventurous life, but we figured some final adventure had taken her away. One night in October, I was fixing dinner and our other cat, Simon, was going nuts at the back door. There was Jackie, cold, hungry, emaciated, covered in parasites, and with a badly injured hind leg.

I've already written the story of how our wonderful neighbor, Dr. D, saved Jackie's life that night, and how she recovered the use of her nearly-severed leg. I haven't written as much about what a wonderful friend Jackie is to Simon, how he became a well-adjusted domestic pet after she came to live with us (after ten years of neurosis worthy of a Woody Allen kitty movie), or how Jackie and HWWLLB became best buddies in our new house. Her favorite thing was to sit with him in his big recliner, and she would always come running when she heard the recliner creak as he sat down.

The last week has been so hard, so sudden. One day she was our happy little housemate, and suddenly she was weak, skinny, starved for affection but unable to eat. Yesterday HWWLLB held her on his lap as she died. She is resting now in our garden, and we have planted a rosebush on her grave, with big juicy rosehips for the birds to enjoy in winter. I scattered sunflower seeds on her grave, and lots of squirrels and birds have been visiting her in her new resting place.

More than once we have joked that Jackie was the spunky, red-headed heroine of a romance novel. She was tough, smart and beautiful, and her life was a series of hair-raising adventures. Last night as I sat at the window looking out at her rosebush, I imagined her walking down the path to kitty heaven, or the kitty ancestral home, or wherever it is that good cats go when they die. Little birds were singing to her and keeping her company along the path. I imagined that somewhere in his mind, Simon might be singing a kitty song to help her find her way, that maybe all the cats in our neighborhood were singing that special song.

Goodbye, sweet friend.

30 comments:

  1. oh I'm so so sorry for your loss!! what a heartbreak! I'm sure she is hearing special kitty songs from your heart as well.

    hugs!!

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  2. What a great way to always keep the sweet memories and commemorate a wonderful relationship! You sound like one of the few that understand the privledge that cats bestow on us when they choose us. She was blessed to have you in her life and I am sure comforted to have you close during her last hours here.

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  3. An avid reader but non-blogger here, de-lurking to tell you how sorry I am to hear of this. I've lost many kitty friends myself over the years; to say that it's hard is a massive understatement.

    This is a beautiful tribute, worthy of a small, spunky, fur-covered heroine. I cried as I read it. So many kitties wind up lost, or in shelters, or are born in the wild and grow up feral....so many of them, and so few of us (it seems) willing to take them in and give them the homes they need. Jackie was incredibly lucky to have you and HHWLLB and Simon to love and be loved by. And I'm sure she knew it, too.

    And I love that you planted a rosebush on her grave. When one of my childhood cats died, my Dad - who is normally very aloof - planted mums and a pinwheel on her plot in one of his flower beds.

    Blessings and kind thoughts to you, your guy, and your little furperson.

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  4. I too am sorry to hear of your loss. My thoughts are with you and your family.

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  5. I'm so sorry to hear about your loss. Loosing a loved kitty is so hard. Be thankful that she died at home. I still don't know the final resting place of my dear Bug.

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  6. I am so sorry for your loss. Our thoughts are with you.

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  7. i'm so sorry to hear this. sending hugs and thinking of you. xo

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  8. I'm so sorry about your kitty's death. sending love and light...

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  9. What a lovely tribute to a fine furry friend. It is so difficult to lose a pet so suddenly. Cats are so good at hiding anything that is wrong with them. It sounds like she had a wonderful life with you and she spent every darn one of her nine lives, it seems! She'll watch over Simon now. Cherish your memories.

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  10. I'm so sorry to hear this. My thoughts are with you. Take good care.

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  11. She was a well loved kitty, and very sweet too and her memories will stay with you always. I can totally relate to the pain you are feeling as we lost our little kitten only a week or so ago now. We too planted her in our front garden so she can see the butterflies she used to chase all day.

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  12. I'm so sorry to hear about your little Jackie. Being an animal person myself, I'm familiar with the sorrow that comes with losing such loving devoted members of the family. I like that you've planted Something special for her. We've don the same with three dogs we lost a few years back, and it helps to see Cugie's flowering shrub or Anny's lilac or Gracie's trumpet vine. You will have Jackie's roses. Sending you and HWWLLB and Simon hugs of comfort.

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  13. I'm so sorry to hear that she's gone over the rainbow bridge. It's always so difficult when this happens :(
    but I'm sure you'll keep wonderful memories of her in your heart always. All my thoughts are with you and your family~~~ hugs~!!!

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  14. Sorry for your loss...but happy to hear that you have some wonderful memories to comfort you.

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  15. How so very sad. My thoughts are with you at this time. WHat a beautiful cat she was!

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  16. I'm so sorry about Jackie...

    What a pleasure to read about her, though - thanks.

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  17. Thank you for writing your wonderful post. I'm sorry for your loss.

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  18. We are certainly blessed when they pick us. I was one of those who cried upon reading your post. My thoughts will be with you all as you grieve.

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  19. what a sweet way to remember your kitty. i am so sorry for your loss.

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  20. Thanks for such a beautiful eulogy.

    I lost my beloved Seamus to a sudden illness just over four years ago. I still miss him, even though his successors are terribly sweet, and I have a private crackpot theory that he was almost immediately reincarnated as my daughter...

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  21. I am so sorry to hear about Jackie. She sounds like she was a wonderful companion and pet. The rose bush will be a nice reminder of Jackie.

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  22. I am so sorry for the loss of your kitty. We just lost one, too. I saw a sign in a shop not too long ago (actually there was one for dogs, too) that made me happy/sad. It said: "Heaven is the place where all the cats you have loved come to greet you."
    Susan

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  23. I hope things get easier for you soon. It is so hard to lose a loved pet. You are in my thoughts.

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  24. It sounds like Jackie had a full life and it's obvious she will be remembered and missed. I hope healing makes the loss easier.

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  25. you are always so eloquent ....

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  26. It's always so hard when they leave us. She had a good home with you. Cuddle Simon and take care.

    --Danielle
    http://blog.lib.umn.edu/mahlu002/oneday

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  27. she had a good home; came to you when she was hurt, learned to trust. I'm sorry for your loss- but happy to hear of the good life you gave her.

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  28. i am so so sorry. thinking of you my friend, and sending you hugs, and warmth. xoxo

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  29. i feel so
    awful...
    don't know
    how i missed
    this...
    i am so so
    sorry...
    big hugs
    to you.
    xoxoxo

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  30. oh, so sorry to read about the passing of your dear kitty. what a sweet tribute to her.

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