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October 04, 2004: I wasn't ready to say goodbye

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She came to me a little over 14 years ago as a scrawny little kitten, all random colors and fuzz and whiskers. She had a voice that could melt any heart. She would sleep in twisted positions you wouldn't think any cat could form without having broken their spine. She wanted to be near people at all times; to be held at all times; to be under foot. She slept on my roommate's pillow, draped around her head. She cried incessantly if she was being ignored.

She was a typical tortoiseshell personality. She was at times a horrible grouch, prone to swatting or biting, and then seconds later she would be begging for attention, purring, whiskers forward, so pathetically desperate to be held or pet that she would almost fall over. As an adult she slept on my pillow, often curled up, leaning on my head.

She was a grumpy old lady cat who was convinced she really should have been an only child. She had a glare she perfected over the years which she would lower on anyone or anything which did not meet her expectations - a group which encompassed most anyone and anything over time. She was jealous of Richard, to the point where she had to be between us whenever we were sitting next to each other, or laying next to each other in bed. She could stretch her tiny 8 pound body across any distance so that she could lay with her whiskers in my face and her tail end in Richard's.

I felt her step onto my pillow this morning like she often does, and then suddenly she fell over on my head. At first I thought she was just off balance, settling in, but then she gave a horrible, sad cry, and she stiffened out all her legs and went suddenly limp, and as I put my arm around her in sudden panic I felt the result of all her muscles letting go. I grabbed a towel and wrapped her into my arms and held her while she gave a few more long shuddering breaths, and then she was gone. I kept feeling for her heartbeat, listening for her breathing. I tried to convince myself that she was still there. I wanted to find some sign that this was all just some bad dream and she would wake up again, any second now, she would raise her head and I wouldn't really be holding my dead cat's body. I couldn't stop crying.

She was my first cat of my very own. She was grumpy and desperately affectionate and quirky and often high strung and I knew I would have to someday let her go, but I thought I would be the one to pick the time. I thought I had more time before I would have to make this sort of decision. I never expected that she would be the one to make it instead.

I still can't stop crying. Oh Rebecca, I am going to miss you so much. I wasn't ready to say goodbye.

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