Eleven years ago, when we were just twenty years old, David had moved from a dorm room in college to his very own one bedroom apartment. It didn’t take long for loneliness to set in and my then boyfriend needed some company. So, January 2007, we went to PetSmart while I was in town visiting to get him the ultimate late Christmas present and companion – a kitten. PetSmart was having an adoption day, several cats and kittens for sale in cages and boxes on tables. We came up to one, two fur balls in a cage, and David picked each one up. But it was the second one, the one who looked him right in his eyes, that he fell in love with. Though the kitten was still healing from surgery from an accident and even had stiches left over, the connection was already made. “We named him, Lucky, because of his accident,” the breeder explained. “What will you name him?” David and I looked at each other, Lucky in his arms, and decided we would keep his name. I took Lucky in my own arms so David could sign the paper work. The kitten barely moved and was quite calm. Passerbys came to pet him and commented on how well behaved he was. I got coached that cats like to be rubbed under the chin. Someone mentioned that cats live anywhere between 10-20 years and I quickly did the math. If he lived to be twenty, we’d be forty. Even if he lived to be fifteen, we’d be thirty-five, which sounded so far away. Surely we would get more than ten years with him, and I got a little sad thinking we might be saying good-bye to him when we would turn thirty years old. We drove back to the apartment with Lucky in a box and a towel from his previous owner and my two boys officially began their journey together.
Two weeks ago today, we had to say good-bye to our Lucky. We took him to the vet after he had stopped eating and discovered he had complete kidney failure. He was eleven. We are thirty-one. We thought we had more time, as anyone who experiences unexpected loss would say. We thought we would bring our babies home to him. But there have been no babies. And no more Lucky to come home to.
We’re told that kidney failure is common and can come on suddenly, but we still feel terrible. We found out on a Thursday and made the arrangements for Saturday for our best furry friend to no longer suffer. As soon as we got the diagnosis, the doctor had placed tissues by us and left the room. We both broke down, holding and stroking Lucky. We couldn’t believe this was the end. We still don’t. We deeply mourned him in our last day and a half with him being with us, suddenly bursting into sobbing messes at any given time. I never imagined having to put down an animal and wondered how I’d feel. Lucky showed many signs he had one paw into the next world more and more after the diagnosis, and though we wanted more time with him, we wanted our best friend to no longer suffer. He wasn’t our same Lucky anymore and it pained us to see him so miserable.
^Just a note that he’s not sick here, just cuddling with David while he’s playing a game.
Its been two weeks and our minds are still adjusting to our house being a little more empty. Out of habit, David will walk in the door after work looking for Lucky for a split second and quickly remember he’s not here. I’m still cautious about closing the pantry door since he was always right there begging for treats. He brought us so much joy, filling our lives with his presence. More than we realized now that he’s gone. Its hard to adjust to something being absent when it was such a constant for eleven years.
I think losing Lucky has made me want to go after things I want a little more. Unexpected loss can do that to you, I suppose. You always think you have time. The thing that gets me the most is that all of my grandparents are gone. And now Lucky. People and a pet who I thought would always be there and one day I’d introduce them to my children. But I can’t do that now and I’ve had a long think of that area of my life. I’m not saying I’m jumping on the Baby Express any time soon, but I’m way more open than ever, not wanting to wait for the “right circumstance” to come along.
I’ve also thought about my blog and all my unfinished writing projects. While I’ll have to make the time, if I really want to do it, I just need to find a way to make these things happen! There are so many things that I’ve put off or stopped doing because I thought I wasn’t good enough or couldn’t power through, though I really wanted to do them. Losing Lucky has, even in a small way, propelled me to not care as much about what people are going to think or say about any of my projects that I put out into the world. I have to do what’s on my heart. Do what represents me, even if its terrible, because we all have our starting points and stepping stones that make us better.
We both still have the urge to find wherever he’s hidden in the house and pet him. It’s getting easier each day to let go and understand he’s gone, of course, but there was no cat like him. None that will take his place. He hardly did anything wrong or got into our stuff. He was very nimble and never knocked anything over or clawed his way up our tree during Christmas time. We miss our kitty head bumps, cuddles, and how he knew our routines. Our next cat will have some giant shoes to fill.