Requiem for a Kitty Witty

You’re an orphan when your parents die.

You’re a widow or widower when your spouse dies.

What are you when your pet dies?

Because whatever that is, that's what I became this past week.

I had to put my my beautiful Roxanne down last Tuesday, as age and illness finally took their toll on her. She and I had been Mama and Kitty for 19 years; I rescued her from underneath some bushes outside a friend’s house one Friday night after happy hour -- she couldn’t have been more than six weeks old at the time. We were together ever since, right up until 9:45 am, September 25, 2007.

Roxanne was named after the iconic Police song --and while she wasn’t a hooer (hee!) like her namesake, she was a diva princess. Happily. Don’t know where she got that from. For many, many years, it was just me and her. She knew all my secrets -- and 19 years can hold a lot of them. I’m privately glad she couldn’t talk. She was my one and true companion. Giving me guidance and clarity with just her very being. Comforting me with nothing but tears would come. Unconditionally loving me.

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I still have a hard time believing she’s gone. We’d been together pretty much my entire adult life. And while her body was betrayed by the ravages of age for a couple of years, her spunk and attitude were still the same as they always were. The decision to put her down was made quickly -- she had developed a nasty sore on her back left haunch; when the emergency room vet used terms like “quality of life” and “options,” we knew what that was gentle code for. Her kidneys had been declining in terms of useful service for a couple of years, but in the past two weeks, had accelerated in their breakdown. I’d known that this time was coming sooner rather than later for a while, but hadn’t deigned to think about it, instead preoccupying myself with the other pressing issues of my life.

My eyes are filling with tears as I write this -- I think the grieving process is going to take me a while to complete. It’s taken me several days to even try to put any of this down on paper. Initially, I was overwhelmed with the thought of losing her, my companion, my confidant. Yes, it’s part of the circle of life -- but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t suck. But I was struck recently with a thought that I’m clinging to -- it’s not so much a matter of me living without Roxanne, but a matter of me being strong enough to hang on my own. That might sound weird, but it somehow makes a crazy bit of sense to me.

We’re going to try to live without a pet for a while, per the mister. Which is fine -- I can never replace Roxanne, but I think I need some distance between her and another kitty coming into my life.

Farewell, my darling, beloved fuzzy wuzzy friend. I shall miss you.

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Roxanne and Mama, circa 1988


jason said...

Godspeed Roxanne.
She was a beauty.

thombeau said...

Aww...You are both blessed to have had each other in your lives...

Miss Janey said...

How heart-breaking to lose a life-long friend like that. So sorry for your loss.