Thursday, August 29, 2013
cortneyandjon in life, pets

Grief is a vivid, living emotion. It is not controllable, it has a mind of its own. I've heard it described as a sharp pain, or as a dull, consistent ache, and I have felt it as either, or both. Bringing a pet into your home is easy. Giving them food, shelter, and love is easy. Giving them room in your life is easy. But I'll bet few of us who bring those babies into our warmth think at that instant about the time they will leave it. We don't think, in those moments of bliss, about the pain of leaving, the feelings of regret and loss, the terrible, debilitating, breathtaking ache of seperation. Not that anyone ever said that losing them would be easy, but who could ever have guessed it would be so hard.

We lost Cookie today. She'd been with us for all of our marriage, for so many of our wonderful moments, and our darkest ones. We will remember her walking the ledge in our old house, dragging whole loaves of bread to the basement when we weren't looking, littering the house with socks rescued from the laundry during the long hours of the night, draping herself over my shoulders, my lap, my head, my computer, or any part of me just to be closer, regardless of my feeling about her plans.

We will remember with geat tenderness the way that she let Calvin climb all over her, drag her around, tackler her, and still come back for more.

She was not your typical cat. She greeting strangers with aplomb, she came when she heard her name, she was always present. One of our old neighbors described her as "more friendly than a woman on elimidate". She was so present in our lives that she leaves an immense, gaping hole in her absence. Healthy until her last week, when a tumor closed her throat and began depriving her of breath, the most we could give her in the end was her freedom from suffering, as graceful a retreat as possible, and that is always a difficult gift to give. As I discussed with Calvin, when her suffering ended, that was when ours really began.

It is not for her that we weep, but for ourselves.

Article originally appeared on Cortney and Jon Ophoff's Family Site (
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