Thought of the Week: You Will Be Missed

On Wednesday last week, we received the news that you had died. Any death in the family is hard to process, and it has been especially difficult coming to terms with your parting, for we had not seen or spoken to you in almost two years.

We were heartbroken, of course, that day when we parted ways; you would not leave England, your home for all your life, and we could not stay. Our son – you remember him, I’m sure – cried awful tears when we had to leave, and you should know he cried the same when we learned you were now gone. We never stopped caring.

You were always there; through the tough times, all the fights and the stresses and the endless moving houses, you were always there for us. It felt at the time that you often had little to say, but I realize now that you didn’t need to. You were wise, and trusted us to figure things out – to make it work. And you know what? We did. All these years later, and we’re still a family. You’d be proud of us.

I have so many fond memories of you; we all do. Your wit was second to none, and I recall seeing, in your youth, your agility that would put an acrobat to shame. You were beautiful, always, even as you grew older; I never told you, but I always thought your beard (yes, you had a beard!) was pretty darn cute. Even in spite of your solitary nature, in spite of your natural aloofness, you were always open to a hug and a cuddle, just when it was needed. So many times I was forlorn, and your company would pull me from the depths.

I have missed you over these past few years, and even though I knew I might not see you again, there was always a hope – and it is the loss of that hope that hurts more than anything. In your old age, I wanted to see you one last time, sat warm before the fire, dozing. I wanted to look into your eyes and learn from your wisdom, your intelligence born from a childhood on the streets.

And now, I will never get that chance. You will live forever in our memories, but we will have now only the photographs to remember you by. I would have you know, friend, that every moment with you was a joy, and we could not have asked for a better relative. You will be missed, and never replaced.

We love you.

R.I.P. Shelby W.
1996 – 2012

13 thoughts on “Thought of the Week: You Will Be Missed

    • Thank you, Nell. He was just the best cat you could ever hope for, but his time was due. It’s why the memories are so bittersweet; there’s nothing wrong with a death in old age, but the memories always remain.

    • Thank you. There are thoughts and feelings that will never be forgotten. He will never be forgotten. It’s amazing how easily another creature, even one that tends to himself most of the time, can become such an innate part of your life. More recently, we have discovered a family of groundhogs living in our backyard (new house, new country, neverme Shelby!), and my heart is in my mouth every time I see a raccoon prowling around. Animals don’t need to be ‘people’; their personas are just as strong.

      Thank you for your kind words.

  1. Aw, wise kitty upholds family honor and tradition. Well written. (I admit I chuckled a bit, which I’m hoping was your desired intent. If it wasn’t then I’m sorry in advance for my morbid humor…)

    • I am glad you chuckled. Death is to be grieved, but it is a dishonored memory if the good times cannot be laughed over. I sometimes feel if anyone understood honor and tradition, it was he.

      And morbidity is nothing to apologize for – it is a sign of the acknowledgement of death, and the refusal to be intimidated!

      • Well when you look at it like that, suddenly my morbid humor is a beautiful thing. Heh. And yeah, memories are worthless if you can’t enjoy them — even with the painful side effects sometimes.

    • Thank you! He was a beautiful cat. It took me many years to realize that, as he grew older, he actually had a beard (a real beard – a whole beard-shaped patch of fur that grew thicker than the rest on his chin).

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