Do you know how you got your name?
When Lynda and I didn’t know that kittens could get into things, we left a dish of butter on the counter in our apartment. You went after it, ate half the stick, then toppled off the counter into the trash can. We heard the crash and came running in to see what happened, but you were nowhere to be seen. Then we heard that scratchy, complaining, pissed-off mew from the trash can…and we looked in to see you looking up at us. Grumpy cat in a trash can?
Oscar. You were never anything else.
You were with us in that little apartment, before we got engaged. You moved with us when we bought the house. We promised we’d build a screened-in-porch, and we did. It was for us, but you loved it more. When Katie was born, you were there by her side to keep her warm. When she wasn’t sleeping, you laid beside her crib to watch. You sat in our laps in the rocking chair. You ran when she learned to walk, but you never swiped at her when she tried to give you those clumsy, little-kid hugs and kisses.
When I’d head to the basement for some quiet time during those frantic early years, Mom called it, “Boy Time.” You’d sit on my lap, and we’d watch Top Gear, play XBox, and just be. You never wanted more from me than a warm lap, and some quiet time.
When those other kittens came in from under the Rose Bush, we promised you it was only temporary – we’d find them homes. We were wrong, but you knew that. You just rolled with it, made sure they knew their places, and carried on. As I write this they’re looking for you, wondering where The Boss has gone. They all came to see you this morning; Shelby even laid next to you and purred…putting one paw around your shoulders as he tried to help you hold on, or maybe let go.
Katie always wanted you to sleep in her bed. When you finally did, she was over the moon. When you went there yesterday and hid under the covers, I knew the end might be close. When I picked you up and you didn’t have any fight left, I knew you wanted to finally let go.
I took you under the covers last night, just like you always slept – at my side, head on my shoulder. I held you as long as I could, listening to your breathing get quieter, and quieter. I’d hoped you’d finally let go, but I wasn’t surprised at all that you were your usual stubborn, determined self, and you made it all the way to one more sunrise for us.
Katie came in for one last hug. She told us that we’d have to give you a picture to take with you, so you’d remember her. She also told us that when we left today, we needed to take you around the neighborhood to make sure you said your goodbyes.
We held you, Lynda held your paws. I remembered that I’d promised you that I’d be the last face you saw when it was time to let go. I looked into your eyes and said, “Have a good adventure…tell me what you see!” as you took that last breath, and finally left all your pain behind. It was so peaceful, and so gentle, I have never felt so much pain, yet so much relief. I’m glad we were there.
I never wanted a cat. When Lynda told me 15 years ago she was bringing a stray kitten that had been living in her cousins garage, I remember going, “A Cat?! Why?” But then I saw you. You poked your little head out from under the blanket, and had my heart. Today you took a little piece of it with you, but I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.
Thank you for being our first “fuzzy” kid. Thanks for all the Boy Time. Thanks for all the lap time. Thanks for all the head-butts. Thanks for hanging in there through everything we’ve done as our lives have grown and changed.
You made this dog person a believer. I’ll miss you. I already do. I’m really not strong enough to tell Katie you’re gone, even though we did our best to get her ready. I’m not strong enough, because I’ve been sitting here listening for you, looking down, wondering where you are.
I hope wherever you are, there’s lots of pizza, chicken, lo mein, and dogs to chase. I hope you’re back to running at full speed, ricocheting off walls, and purring in the sunshine. I hope you had a good life. I hope we made you happy.
You made us happy, every day.
We love you.
We miss you already.