Cats · My Family

These Eyes

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After a rather sudden and fast-moving illness, Softie is gone. 

She passed away Tuesday night, in our living room/basement.  The kids were asleep.  I think Alex suspected, though.

I sat with her.  First I held her, but when that seemed too uncomfortable for her, I laid her down on the carpet and stayed down there with her. 

She rested her head in my left hand, while I petted her non-stop with my right hand.

And all the while I looked into those eyes of hers. 

I told her over and over that I was sorry, so sorry, and that it was okay…I’m here…I love you….

She looked at me but sometimes it was as if she was looking through me, and that is the image, one of them, that has stayed with me, haunting me, squeezing my heart inside my chest and forcing new tears to my eyes. 

Sometimes it seemed to me she looked at me with reproach.  Why couldn’t I do more for her?  Why wasn’t I saving her?  That’s what I’m supposed to do.

I’m sorry.  I’m sorry.  I’m sorry.  So sorry.

Bill and I were both sitting with her when she exhaled for the last time.  Scratchy was nearby.  He knew something was wrong.

I wrapped Softie in one of Julia’s old baby blankets.  It has tiny rose buds along the binding and I’ve always liked it.  Then I put Softie in a plastic box – no lid – and tucked the ends of the blanket around her.  She’d have looked like she was sleeping, only we couldn’t figure out how to close her eyes.  So…she was resting.  Bill put the box in the downstairs fridge.

~~~

Two days later Bill and the kids dug a hole near the garage.  There’s a really pretty blue hydrangea growing there, so we thought it was the perfect spot.

When I got home from work, they showed me the hole (very deep – the kids stood in it to show just how deep), and I brought Softie up from the refrigerator, and we held her funeral.

The kids – no, all of us – picked flowers from everywhere in the yard and placed them in the cinder block that Bill had placed on top of the dirt so no animals would try to dig her up. 

We cried. 

Julia played her recorder.

We cried some more.

And then we went inside.  Alex changed into his baseball uniform, and we headed to his game.

Life goes on, of course.

But frequently, still, I see her eyes from that final night, and something squeezes my heart.  Hard.

~~~

And that’s about all I want to write about this right now.

9 thoughts on “These Eyes

  1. Oh sweetie, I’m so terrible sorry for you and the kids and Bill.
    I know the look, and I know the pain, and I know that it might not help much (but I’ll say it anyway) to know that other memories will soon shine through as strong as those last ones of dear Softie.
    Hugs from afar~
    Kat

  2. Oh Jayne, I’m so sorry for you guys. She had a wonderful life with your family. Softie looked like our old cat Ellie Mae and she went pretty much the same way as Ellie Mae did some 10 years ago. Ellie is buried between two Hydrangea bushes too. I’ll be thinking about y’all.

  3. Oh I’m so very sorry. The only–and I do mean the ONLY–thing that’s bad about sharing our life with animals is that they never ever live long enough. Thinking of you and your family.

  4. I’m so sorry for your loss. Reading this brings back how I’ve sat with my fur babies at all their passings. It is such a difficult experience, but you’ll have all the good memories and they will too.
    blessings
    ~*~

  5. I am so, so sorry for your loss. Animals live in the moment and the fact that you were there with her, comforting her, is the most important gift you could have given her. It is wonderful that you have so many beautiful photos of the times she made you smile – that is how you should remember her.

  6. I’m so sorry. I’m sure she knew how much you’ll loved her. Her body was probably last to go, she would not have been able to reach out to you any longer. You’ll are the best kitty keepers. Bless you’ ll and Scratchy.

  7. We have two seventeen year old tabby sisters. One looks just like Softie. The tears you shed are the fountain of love your cat was given during it’s life. As we have to let go of our pets, remember the hurt you feel is equal to the joy you gave. Bless you and your family.
    Lil

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