I never truly understand what loss felt like till my cat died in my arms. Skeeter was my first true friend. Growing up as a child bullied at school, Skeeter was always there when I got home to make me feel understood. We slept in the same bed for 12 years, keeping each other content as we hid away from the darkness of each night, her eyes of golden moons bright. She was getting older and grew sick. I was in my English class at college when I got a phone call from my sister telling me Skeeter wasn’t looking good. I left class without hesitation and got home.
The commute was the worst experience, I sat on the train calling my sister to get updates. When I got home I found her nestled in my bed, her brother Hobie laying near her. I ran to our bedside and found that she couldn’t lift her head up. She felt like cartilage, bones weak. I took my time getting into bed, I lifted her up with ease and laid her on my chest. Her tummy pooling off my rib cages, her inky black fur warm.
We spent an hour together before she died. An hour that I will cherish for the rest of my life, because Skeeter waited for me to get home so she could say goodbye.
When it comes to healing, we all process our emotions differently. Sometimes we never truly heal and that’s not a bad thing. It took 3 years for me to be able to bring a new pet into my life. I left a sense of guilt, that I was forgetting Skeeter. But I remembered that her energy and memory still lives with me, everyday.
I adopted Oakley in June of 2016. A white puff ball of a dwarf rabbit. His eyes of earthy tones reminded me of spring, of earth wet and vibrant. He was only 8 weeks old when I brought him home. We got to know each other slowly as he began to trust my touch and kindness.
We are collectors of memories and emotions, when someone or something we love passes on they never leave us, we simply just grow. Oakley and I share a bond that is very different from what skeeter and I shared. I realized that when I welcomed Oakley into my life that I wasn’t replacing Skeeter, but I was adding a different kind of love into my heart.