I REALLY hate that my first entry in two months (wow...it has been that long) has to be a sad one, but alas..
January 1997 ~ August 2010
Yesterday morning, my precious General passed away. It was a little unexpected, but not totally. I had noticed in the last few weeks, that he'd dropped a bit of weight. Not enough to see casually, but I thought he was looking a bit thinner than usual. I made homemade cat food to try and get some weight back on him, and he ate everything in the house voraciously. But he was still just sort of maintaining a slightly lower weight than I was used to seeing. I'd also noticed him sneezing sometimes. However, the last bit, as you can imagine has been hectic, and getting him to a vet unfortunately took a back seat. (Mom fell last week, and that resulted in another trip to the hospital.) Plus, he just didn't *seem* sick. Up until just a few days ago, he was the same frisky, playful kitty I've always known and loved. In fact, just last week, he was chasing the laser pointer around the living room, plowing head-first into furniture, then coming right back for more. But Sunday night, he seemed off. Yesterday morning, he seemed REALLY off, and I'd determined he definitely needed to see the doctor. His breathing seemed labored and his purr was raspy and that really, really concerned me. I actually was planning to go to an oncology appointment with mom, so my intention was to take him to the vet right after.
We never made it that far. When I came in from mom's appointment, he was lying in my bedroom, in a pile of my clothes that needed to be washed. He looked like he was taking a nap. It saddens me that even in his dying moment, he wanted to be near something of mine that smelled like me, but it also warms my heart. People might say that animals can't feel love, but I beg to differ on this. General loved me. I know it as well as I know the sky is blue. He loved me, and I loved him. And yesterday, I knew, just intuitively knew, that he was a lot sicker than I'd originally thought, but it was too late by that time. I had a bad feeling as I was driving home from the doctor's office to get him, but I don't think I realized it was THAT bad.
My world lost a little (OK, a lot) of its light yesterday morning. While mom has been sick, he has been a constant source of comfort. The girls and Trouble are always around, and yes, sometimes they pick me up when I'm feeling sad. But General was always, always, always there for me. When I would cry, which I've done a lot of lately, he would curl up right under my chin and bop his head against my face. He gave me kitty kisses on the nose every time he climbed on my lap. He was truly my baby and he was extremely special to me. Cats are often aloof and independent, and while they like having their humans around, they can do without them. I think General needed me, and my God, I needed him. I still do and I have to say, it will be tough making it through the coming months and years without him next to me. We've been through it all together...my divorce, job loss, moves, mom's illness, deaths of other family members, both human and animal... My constant companion for 13 years. We had a bond that words fail to describe.
My title comes from the fact that, for as long as I can remember, General slept on the pillow to the right-hand side of me. It was "his" side of the bed, and I rarely used that pillow to sleep on. At night, if I'd been reading or watching TV in bed, and had all the pillows propped up behind my back, he would wait patiently for me to put his pillow down, then he'd climb up on it and go to sleep next to me. Seeing that empty pillow this morning was really hard to take.
Someone said yesterday that they wondered if he waited until after I was gone to die. And I think that may have been the case, or maybe it was just coincidental timing. But I have a suspicion he laid down for that final nap right after I left the house. Even then, he didn't want me to see him struggling. He was truly a special boy, and there shall never be another like him.
(And it just struck me yesterday, that the two-year anniversary of Sabrina's death was last week, the 18th. They were best friends from the day I brought her home, and while he bonded with Trouble, and obviously loved my two remaining girls, I don't think he ever stopped missing Sabrina. One of the few things that comforts me through this is the hope that maybe the two of them have finally been reunited.)