Saturday, 8 May 2010
They say when you love something you should let it go, or at least be able to. I guess I never really understood this, I mean why would you want to let it go? If you love something surely you want to grab hold of it with both hands, hold it tight and never let it go. You want to hold onto it for eternity.
Never let go, I truly believed that.
Eleven years ago I went through some really big changes in my life. I moved out of home and started life on my own. Well not exactly on my own because it was then that I met my new best friend Treacle. I heard of a cat that needed a fresh start and had some social problems, I could relate to that. She was a rescue cat, about seven years old, had not had a great start in life and it didn't seem to be any better for her now. She wasn't really wanted and was in need of a good friend. I adore cats and had always had them as a child, so without a doubt I said I would give her a home.
I remember the excitement I felt on the way to collect her. My very first cat all to myself, I nearly burst with anticipation when I entered the flat, and then I saw her.
She was the most beautiful tubby tabby I had ever laid eyes on, with magical amber eyes. She rushed past me incredibly fast for such a portly cat. She was very scared and didn't seem at all happy with the young guy she was living with. In fact she seemed terribly distressed and scratched him as he forced her into the basket. He called it a farewell scratch, but I was sure Treacle felt it was good riddance.
When we got home, she ran straight to the bedroom and dived under my bed. She stayed there for hours, days, weeks in fact and I had to push her food and water under there for her and retrieve the empty bowls once she was done.
Over the next few weeks I went through some really emotional issues, I was finding it difficult adjusting to my new way of life and the pressures involved. I would find myself feeling sad and quietly crying on my bed. This was when my new and ever so reclusive friend Treacle started to come out from under the bed and would come to sit with me purring loudly as she brushed past me in a comforting manner. I felt as if she was trying to cheer me up and tell me that everything was okay. My guardian angel I called her, my guardian angel and my best friend.
Months went by and we enjoyed our time together. Soon we were joined by new additions, a kitten Wellie and my little boy Noah. Treacle took some adjusting, but she soon took to the new guys. She had her own way of living, namely the quiet life. She would come to hang out with us in the evenings and spend her time sneaking down to meet next doors tom cat at the back door. Her nickname became Sneaky and finally she was renamed Sneaky. A few more years and two more furry editions later Sneaky was really starting to show her age and slow down. She shunned the limelight and had a funny way of looking at her siblings. She was by far the brains of this outfit.
We celebrated Christmas and New Year together. Sneaky was becoming thinner and eating less. Instead of hiding away from the noise in her little upstairs hideaways, she was sitting in a basket in the front room with the family. Not moving much and sleeping lots, she was my lovely old lady. I would bring her food and sit with her, telling her stories and listening to her purr.
Eventually her weight had become such a concern that it was obvious she would need to go to the vets. I had tried so hard to get her to eat but to no avail, so it was the only option. I knew deep down that as she was about 18 years old there was a strong chance I may not have her for much longer.
On the Tuesday morning I made the appointment to take her in. It was a dark morning, the sky was cloudy and overcast and I think I knew that it was our last morning together.
She was watching me from her basket, seemingly tired and almost too uncomfortable to move or rest. But she still mustered up the strength from somewhere to come over to see me and purr loudly as she brushed past my hand with her face. I called this Sneaky spirit, never give up. She never gave up, even at the end.
The vet told me it was best for her to be put to sleep peacefully as she was in a lot of discomfort from tumours and old age. Although this was the most difficult decision I had ever had to make, I wanted her to end her life as peacefully and as happy as it had become and not go back to the bad old days. I held her softly as I said goodbye and my heart was heavy, an indescribable feeling of loss but also an end to my best friends pain.
I kissed my wonderful girl goodbye and held her close, I am sure I saw her spirit leave her body. It seemed to appear to me as a puff of smoke and slowly drifted away. Then I knew I had lost her, she had gone and I felt completely empty.
It was days, weeks before I could finally come to terms with no longer having my special old lady around. I collected her ashes and put them in a special corner of my room, the part where I sit quietly and work on my creative projects. I had a small Sneaky doll made to sit with them so I could talk to her whenever I needed a boost and some Sneaky spirit.
Now, nearly four months later I can think of her and smile. Remembering the good times, how she made me feel and ever more magically, how she knew what I was feeling. I think about her every day and sometimes even think I can see her rushing out of the room in her funny little way. I laugh about her little habits and her old lady attitude and it makes me smile. Sometimes I still cry, but at least I knew her, loved her and she loved me. Some people just aren't that lucky.
I loved her, I let her go, and one day I'll get to see her again. She'll probably hiss first, but that's just my Sneaky.
Dedicated to my wonderful girl, who I said goodbye to on 19th January 2010. Thank you for 12 wonderful years. Please don't forget me, I'll never forget you.