I’ve started this a half dozen times, each attempt abandoned after a few clumsy sentences. It’s not the first time we’ve lost a cat, but it turns out that’s not the sort of thing you ever “get good at.” Or that you want to.
My family never had cats or dogs as a kid. And my one interaction with a cat when I was young revealed that I was allergic, so I never figured on having one in my life.
Then I met Dawnise, who’d had cats (and dogs) her whole life. When we moved out, the cats came with us. It was never really a question. I found ways to manage my allergies – as long as I kept them off my pillow and away from my face I was basically okay.
And really, it was much more than okay.
We’ve had a handful of cats in the decades since, each one finding us when they needed us, and when we needed them. Each one weaving its way into the fabric of our lives.
We make the same deal with each of them: we will do our absolute best to care for them, and do right by them.
And eventually, inevitably, they leave us.
And it hurts, more than we think we can bare.
In the end we did our best for Oscar, and when it was clearly the best we could do, we helped him leave.
We know it was the right choice – the only choice.
And that doesn’t make it hurt even a tiny bit less.