Four weeks ago, we lost our beloved cat, Simon. It was a sudden and unexpected loss and even now, the thought that he is no longer with us makes me sob uncontrollably.
Simon was a 1-year old shelter cat we adopted from the local Humane Society when we first moved to Hilo. He was the most vocal one there and when I walked into the cramped cat house, he was in one of the cages, almost ordering me to take him home. In no time, I was signing the papers to adopt him. After being neutered, he came home to us, bonding immediately with my husband.
Simon spent 10 years with us and in that time, he became an integral part of our family. Most of our day revolved around him; the morning and evening routines, the way he needed to be in the same room with us when we were home, and how he sat in the window to watch us leave for the day. He lived to make us happy, to love us, to take care of us, and in the process, he changed us.
- At the sound of yelling, he’d meow loudly as a warning and if ignored, he’d bite the offender, so arguing was out of the question. We adjusted and as a result, we fought less and lived harmoniously, under his watch.
- He depended on us and we took that responsibility very seriously. Needlessly to say, we happily spoiled him. Why not?
- He cherished time spent with us. Whether it was climbing in bed at 5:00 am to cuddle before waking us up, brushing his fur at 5:00 pm, or dozing off for a cat nap beside us on a lazy Sunday, he followed us everywhere. We began to carve out opportunities for all of us to be together because we too enjoyed spending time with him.
- He knew how to comfort. Coming home after difficult days, he’d come to lie down next to us, a paw always touching us, consoling us in the simplest and most meaningful way. He’d lend an ear if we needed to get things off our chest. As far as he was concerned, we were perfect just the way we were.
- He made us laugh hysterically. Simon would act crazy, which always left us in stitches. When he did, we temporarily forgot troubles and looked forward to seeing how he was going to make us laugh again.
Now that Simon’s gone, we are still struggling with and readjusting to a life without him. His toys have been collected into 2 unsealed boxes that remain on the living room floor because we still aren’t ready to store away those visual reminders of him. His urn sits on the counter that divides the living room and the kitchen. He is literally smack-dab in the middle of the house, so we walk by him and talk to him everyday. We tell him good morning and good night and that we miss him and love him, the same way we did when he was still alive. I sometimes wonder if we will ever stop talking to him, but if we never do, I don’t think it would a bad thing.
One night, I came home to find Simon’s urn moved from the counter to his favorite pillow on the ottoman, where he usually slept when we watched TV. The Country Music Awards (CMA’s) were on. The show was a long-standing “guy thing” in our family and my husband had brought him over to continue the tradition, even in death. I went straight into the bathroom and had a long cry. 10 years of traditions and routines with Simon came rushing back and I broke down realizing those events are no longer memories to create, but now, times to remember.
When I read the prompt about traces of life and legacies left behind, I immediately thought of Simon. I didn’t know if I was ready to write about him and even now, as I write this, the tears fall freely. Simon did great things in his short life, but truly awe-inspiring is that he taught us, in the effortless and only way he could, how to love unconditionally, how to cherish what we love the most, and how to make the lives of those around us better. Even now, his lessons continue, as we learn how to grieve together and comfort each other through loss. The collection of these valuable life lessons is a beautiful legacy left behind by a 12-pound tabby and one I can only strive to leave behind as genuinely and meaningfully as he did.
“Mom and Dad love you, Simon. We miss you everyday.”
Weekly Writing Challenge: Traces | http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/11/11/weekly-writing-challenge-traces/