I thought you would live forever. I really did. But, that’s not the way life works.
Seeing as endings are so sad, I thought that I would start at the beginning and go from there.
It was June 1996, we went to the shopping mall under the guise of buying me dress shoes for work. But I had another plan and it involved you. When we passed by the pet shop*, I knew that there would be resistance but I had come prepared. I had wanted you for 24 years and today was the day. I knew it.
And there you and your sister were. Waiting for me. I wanted you both but that was not in the cards. I’m not sure how it came to be that you were picked. Maybe it had something to do with your spunk. At only 8 weeks old, it was evident; Hair standing on end looking like a ball of static with energy to boot. I must find that photo album of you.
Not very many people know this but your first name was “Winnie”.
I didn’t pick it. I would never have named you after a forgetful bear. I knew that you were special and needed a name that would suit you. And so, your second name was Aries. Might I add that your name suited you to a tee.
You spent almost your entire life inside. Whenever you wanted to roam, we let you. Hesitatingly. We loved you and didn’t want you to get hurt or sick. I often felt guilty that you weren’t allowed to discover the world as I have but at the end of the day, you really enjoyed finding that warm sunny spot and having a nap.
Every once in a while, something would bother you. And you made no secret about it. You had this ability to get your own way. Sometimes that meant milk three times a day. No one minded much because you never caused anyone harm. Including the many cats that you came into contact with. Although it was always clear who was boss.
You were an excellent judge of character.
Within five minutes of meeting Ed, you jumped up on his lap and that was that. I have to admit, I was a little jealous. I mean, in the four previous years, you’d only talked to me when you needed something. And then, to add insult to injury, you chose to sleep in bed with Uncle Fred that winter that we went away.
You weren’t one of those cats that came out to say “Hello” when people showed up. However, your absence was not indifference. Far from it. You cared. You always knew when I needed someone to sit with me. When I was alone, you would let me know when someone was at the door before they even were. You were the only one of your kind that I ever knew could growl.
This morning, when I saw you lying on the cold tile floor unable to even pick up your head let alone use your legs, I knew that it was serious.
This would be your last roadtrip.
I remembered summers at the farm and camp, moving between four homes (one of which was in a foreign country) the eternal roadtrip that was your life. We joking called you “Porta-cat” and given the stamps on your passport, you were up for any adventure.
When we heard the words “renal failure”, we knew that it was time. After almost 18 years, you owe us nothing. I’m sure if I did the math, it is us that owes you. If we ever failed you, we’re sorry. But, regrets won’t bring you back. Besides, I know that you understand. You always did.
And now, you will provide life to the flowers in our Mexican garden. I wish it didn’t have to be this way but it does. I am forever grateful that I was there with you when you took your final breath. I hope you know how much I love. How much you mean to me.
I’m not the only one that will miss you.
I’m so happy that you got to share the bed with Uncle Andrew during his most recent visit. I assure you, it was as much a treat for him as you. And your godfather Uncle Fred, because of course you had a godfather, loved you dearly. Not once would he call the house and not ask about you. Last but not least, Uncle Eric. He loved you like his own and looked after you without hesitation.
In case you don’t remember, after you’d passed, the vet took out the needle and there was some blood on your paw. With no prompting from me, your Mother, he took a cottonball, put some alcohol on it and wiped the blood away. Because, even in death, you matter.**
The Life and Death of Each of Us has an Influence on Others ~ ROM 4:17
On January 29 at 10:30am, without warning, Aries closed her eyes for the last time. She will be forever missed.
Ed took the portrait of Aries sometime in 2004. Aries had jumped up onto his desk where he was taking pictures.
P.S. I wish that I could just leave you “sleeping” on your couch, in the sun, forever.
* The Pet Shop was run by the Humane Society.
** This reminds me of the last time I held Alexander after he had passed away.