Princess was thin and sleek and beautiful by any standard. Some days she was playful and flirtatious, and other days, she would pay no attention to you at all; as if your very presence was a bother to her. When you looked into the pools of her liquid green eyes, you would fall deeply in love with her, without ever having a choice I think. You could probably try, but it was impossible to resist the gravitational pull of her independent charms. Her arrogance and pertness befitted the name Princess, as if she were born for the job. Princess didn’t look like much of a cat at first; a ball of white and brown fur was all. She always cried for attention, then would run and hide as soon as she got it from you. I think back on it, and it was almost like a game she had made up of her own, to pass the time and have fun at your expense. An odd and sometimes troubled kitten, that grew rapidly into a loyal friend that brought countless days of love and friendship into my life.
It all started one day with weight loss and tiredness. Who knows how long this went on before I noticed it was not simply a passing meaningless sign. We got into the car, and took a trip to Doctor Muirs , our long time vet with the heart and skill of an angel. She ran the normal tests and then delivered the news to me quickly. Princess had leukemia and would not last long she said. Perhaps six weeks, maybe eight, before the pain would get too bad to endure. Her words rang in my ears like a shot from a gun, and left my whole body numb to everything around me. Doctor Muir asked me three times I guess, to leave her there and it would be over in a few moments of time, with no pain at all. So kind and safe for me of course; but leave her alone?
No…the answer was so clear to me, as never before. I saw the images in my head of the countless times I was tired or sick and in bed for the day, and there at my side was Princess. She was always there, lifting my spirits and like a powerful medicine healing my soul with her care and attention and simply being by my side all the time I felt alone. Her constant vigilance let me fall fast asleep in the midst of hard times. No...It may well be easy for me...... but to leave her alone and afraid at the time she needed the most care and love, I could never allow that to happen.The chemo-therapy was costly and hard on us both, and yielded a full year we would never have had. We enjoyed the good days and cried through the bad with no shame. I think back on how happy we were as a week or a month of the good gave us back the days of our youth. We played once again on the floor with the pink rubber ball she loved so much, until it too held no joy for her again.
Finally, that uneasy sense of what was to happen comes over you. No one needs to tell you, or give you a lesson. It’s just something that you know, and it chocks you; like being covered with a thick woven blanket, that’s impossible to ignore. It takes your breath away as if being struck in the stomach by surprise. I picked her up in my arms, and softly hugged her so close; and carried her into the bedroom that had been her domain for so many years. I gently laid her down on the spot of the bed that belonged to her for so long, and made her feel cared for. As I lay next to her for a while, I brought my face close in front of her now, and softly touched my nose into hers, and looked into her beautiful green eyes with my own. I wanted her to know she was not alone in this life, and that the last thing she would see, was someone that adored her so much. Someone that was grateful for all she had done for me in life. It was then that I whispered,” I could never let you take this journey alone my love.” " You will be with me forever my dear friend.” With that; she whimpered a silent good-bye, and the flood of tears poured from my eyes until there was nothing left inside me but emptiness and pain in my heart. I was sick with sorrow, and the helplessness I felt to be able to do nothing, pressed in on me with a crushing force.
It wasn't long afterword, before a lesson about life was made clear to me. I looked into her eyes once more and did not recognize who it was. Her body did not look even familiar to me; as if it were another cat that had been switched when my eyes had been closed. Then with my spirits coming back, and a sense of peace and joy filling my soul; a kind of veil was lifted for me to see clearly; that we are not what we walk around “IN” all day long. We are not bodies with a soul that we service once a week on Sunday in church. But rather what we are; are spirits, that take on this body to commune with each other. It was when Princess passed on to the other side; that what made her all that she was had disappeared and left behind this broken frame we live in. The REAL her, was not dead, but alive and well in a land far away; perhaps running and jumping and playing with a pink rubber ball once more. Our spirits live on, of this I am now certain. I shall remember this lesson and this gift you gave me forever my friend, and am thankful for the time we had. I miss you each day you are gone. By Dennis L. August 6th 2007