She was with us for 16 1/2 years, half a year longer than the maximum most Maine Coon cats are expected to live, and nearly two years after being diagnosed with kidney disease.
She led a happy, healthy and long life, always a beautiful and gracious presence in our home. Even two days before she died, she was going outside on the patio to soak up the spring sun and sniff the breeze, always one of her very favorite things.
I wasn’t home. I was away at a conference. By the time it became clear to David that she was dying, it was too late for me to make it home. Saturday afternoon, she wasn’t doing well. He was up most of the night Saturday night with her and I dreamed all night that she was lying on my hotel bed next to m. We talked early Sunday morning. She was suddenly in a lot of pain, he said, and he thought he should take her into the vet that day, for the final injection, so she wouldn’t suffer. I wanted to tell him to wait for me to get home that night, but I knew that wasn’t fair to her. So I agreed, tucked the grief away and went to teach my workshop.
When I got back to my room, David had texted me that she’d died at home.
So, while I’m full of grief today, I’m grateful for so many things.
I’m grateful her decline was so swift, that she was able to enjoy her life until that very last night, instead of lingering in misery.
I’m grateful for this man of mine, who sat with her and comforted her until the light went out of her eyes. That she died at home, in her favorite sleeping spot.
I’m maybe grateful I didn’t have to watch it, myself.
Most of all, I’m grateful for all the years she spent with us. All that she brought to our life together.
This afternoon we’ll bury her. Maybe under the stone bench she loved to sit on to look out over the valley, while the sun warmed her fur.
Our lives will go on, but we’ll always carry a piece of her special graciousness with us.