Today I lost one of my best friends. He and I had been friends for over 17 years. He first became my friend when I was pregnant with Cheyenne (at the tender age of 39). Today, I look back at what a staple he was in my life and how much joy he brought me. He filled the years with laughter by virtue of all his antics. He was always around ready to be my sidekick in whatever I was doing.
I remember my first interaction with him as clear as if it happened yesterday. I held him in the palm of my hand while he was laying on his back and he stretched out with an air of trust and ease and purred. It was clear right then and there that he was the kitten from the litter that belonged with me – indeed, I often wondered if he more accurately chose me in that moment. I named him Spot and from that day forward he was my loyal companion. I could call his name from anywhere in the house and he would come sauntering over in his assured, but loyal way. I could speak to him and he would “speak” back in seemingly responsive meows. He was my steady freddy through moves, relationships, and life changes.
I noticed the effect of aging on Spot a few years back, he started to get thinner and a bit frailer, but still he conducted himself with the same charm and personality he always had. He still purred with abandon and luxuriated in attention, and he never missed an opportunity to hunt mittens out of the mitten basket and deposit them at my bedroom door as an offering. He still chased things about the house like a kitten (although he was less apt to catch things) and maintained a playful personality. He still tried to be crafty and get away with things he knew he wasn’t supposed to do. Someone said to me back when Spot first lost weight that he was too skinny, too old and he should be put down; but, he was still just fine I argued and every single day he evidenced that there was still plenty of life left in him.
I knew intellectually that the day would come when he would have to leave me. I think he knew too, but we were both loathe to face it. As long as he was still up and about and not in pain I wanted to keep him with me. And God bless him, in these last few days I could tell that despite his deterioration he was determined to try and hang on as long as possible for me. I had to finally make a humane choice for him as I knew that he would have hung on as long as possible regardless of the burden he bore. I believe Spot understood how difficult it was going to be for me when he was no longer with me. Say what you will, but friends know these things.
Frankly, it breaks my heart in both big and small ways to know that our time together is over. This is the part I hate about having pets – they leave you at some point and you are left to wonder how in the world you will fill the hole in your heart they left. And this hole is a big one, one made over 17 years of friendship.
I loved my Spot, he was a great cat and an even better friend. I have to believe that his spirit will linger with me and remind me of the gift he gave me when he chose me. God’s speed my Spot Spot, may you deliver your hunted mittens to God’s door now.
Another day in the new forty (a very sad day) – obla di obla da