My darling girl, I am about to begin this journal on your memorial page, as an expression of my ongoing love for you. I love you Bella❤️|
This journal is dedicated to you my darling girl. I know cats can't read. But if you are near me in spirit, you will know in essence that what I am doing, is an act of love. I love you Bella❤️
I will start by going back in time, to talk a little about your predecessor Steve. He lived with us for over seventeen years, and I suspect he was the runt of the litter. He wasn't very attractive, his matt fur grew the wrong way in places, and his ears were huge. He reminded me of Gollum to look at, from Lord of the Rings. He wasn't very bright, and needed help with grooming. Birds would pull worms around him, as he dozed in the garden. But he was very sweet. I often defended him by saying as much. When he was put down, I thanked the vet for his professional care, and declared that he wouldn't see me again. I'd agreed with Dave that we wouldn't get another cat. After a couple of weeks though Dave relented. I thought a tabby would be nice; Dave thought a tortoiseshell cat would be nice. I protested, as I believed that they were ugly. And had been told that they were bad tempered. Anyway, we went on a 'cat hunt'. At the RSPCA was an attractive tortoiseshell called Juno. But she had been handed in for shredding her previous owners. I watched as she scratched a member of staff, causing a potential customer to turn and go. But Dave seemed rather taken with her to my dismay. I recall saying that I'd have to wear a suit of armour to go for a pee in the night, with that thing in the house. I said I'd rather not have a cat, and we went home. But relationships need a compromise don't they. Dave didn't want a cat...but he wouldn't mind a tortoiseshell. I would therefore look out for a friendly but ugly tortoiseshell cat.
I think God had a plan for me. And a sense of humour❤️
And so we get to the best part of this journal, my discovery of you. And what was to become our love story for five short years. There came a day when I read online the magical words.."such an affectionate girl". That was at 8.30am on a Saturday. By lunchtime I was walking into a large cage at a rescue centre, to view you for the first time. I was of course apprehensive, and half expected to be shredded (remembering Juno at the RSPCA). And recalling what so called 'cat experts' had told me about 'naughty torties'. I edged my way over to where you were dozing on a shelf in a corner. I cautiously stroked your soft head. You barely reacted, only to half open your eyes briefly, then doze some more. On reflection, from what I later knew of you, you were probably terrified of your strange surroundings, and the constant clanging of those cage doors. I think you had retreated into yourself to cope. A member of staff told me your previous owner (an old gentleman) had gone into a home, and that you were six years old. I sat on the cage floor and stayed quiet. After a while, you came down the ramp which lead to your shelf, for some fuss. You didn't shred me. I reserved you, and Dave came along the following day to view you. He liked you too. We were to collect you in a couple of weeks, when you'd had a second vaccination. But I came back to you during the week my darling girl, and sat on the floor of your cage to keep you company. Eventually the staff agreed you could come home sooner, as long as we had you vaccinated at a local vets at the appointed time. I went and bought bowls, a bed and some food,etc. Then returned with Dave to collect you. You loudly protested all the way to your new home, as you didn't like car journeys.
I will never forget the moment you stepped cautiously out of the cat box in our hallway. We didn't approach you or speak to you. We wanted you to 'take charge' if you like. You went upstairs and hid under Daniel's bed. We left you in peace. What followed was numerous trips to the litter box, followed by a return into hiding. Again, I think you were terrified of this new situation. You eventually calmed down and joined us in the lounge. We had our first good look at you. What struck was the sheer glossiness of your fur in the sunlight. You had appeared almost black in your gloomy cage, but here the sun illuminated parts of your fur into gold, and your eyes were like emeralds. You were not ugly. You were utterly beautiful. And as we were to discover, the most gentle, loving, polite and sweet cat. You emanated peace. You weren't a naughty tortie at all. You were not ugly. You were beautiful❤️
Your first night with us wasn't a good start was it my darling. We'd prided ourselves on being experienced cat owners. But life is a learning curve, including cat ownership. We made the unwise move to shut you in the kitchen for the night, complete with bed, litter tray and food. After all, we valued our sleep and didn't want a strange cat leaping on us in the middle of the night. We'd just put the light out, when we heard the most awful din. You sounded like a banshee being tortured. You were probably terrified in that strange room. So we opened the kitchen door and let you have the run of the house. But we kept our bedroom door firmly shut. We were just dozing off, when there was the unpleasant sound of your claws scratching the door. We pulled the covers over our ears and wondered what we'd let ourselves in for. The next morning, bleary eyed, I googled "how to keep your cat away from your bedroom door". As a result, I placed tin foil, a laundry basket and a plant spray there. Nothing worked. But what did work was the simple expedient of opening the bedroom door a little, so that you didn't feel alone. And putting a nice soft bed on the landing. Peace reigned. In fact, you never attempted to enter any bedroom for four and a half years; which actually puzzled and saddened me over time. Though in your last six months with us my darling, you just walked in one night, and curled up on the carpet by my bedside. I was so delighted I folded a velvet blanket and put it there each night, hoping you would grace me with your company; which you did. I would drop my arm down each night, and stroke your soft fur as you slept. And then would drift back to sleep myself.❤️
You had been called Polly for the first half of your life. Well, we decided to name you Bella (which means beautiful in Italian). Very appropriate.
I decided to brighten up your life with some cat toys, and enthusiastically set off for the local pet shop. I came home with a selection of toys. You were impressed by none of them. As I demonstrated how to play with them, you would look past them with a bored expression on your face. You would occasionally sigh, maybe clean yourself, or just doze off. So I went back to the pet shop and bought what I thought was an impressive toy. It was a black fuzzy ball with a long black feather attached to it, at the end of a piece of elastic. I hung it from a door knob and turned to view your reaction with interest. You had vanished like a magician's trick. I found you squeezed under Dave's wardrobe in terror. For whatever reason, that toy terrified you. By now I'd run out of ideas, so gave it up. Then one day whilst I was chatting to Dave, you flew over to a wall, landed upright against it like a starfish, and slid sideways down. At first I thought you'd gone peculiar. But then realised you'd seen a shadow on the wall, caused by the spotlight being on. And so began...five years of playing with shadows caused by torchlight, moonlight, sunlight and spotlight. Many a dark morning, early dog walkers would have been dismayed to see a middle aged woman in a pink fleece dressing gown, leaping about the lounge causing shadows by spotlight, for you to chase. And on dark winter evenings I would do the same thing in the garden, with the aid of my mobile phone torch. About two years later you actually became attached to a little red felt fish all of two inches long. You would hold it in your forepaws whilst lying on your back, and try to strike it with your hind paws. You always looked endearingly ridiculous.
I keep that fish in my pillow case now. I feel for the lump of it in the night. I only fall back to sleep once I locate it. I treasure it.❤️
After we had cared for you for two weeks, it was time to take you to our local vet for your second vaccination. Bear in mind I had only a few weeks before declared to that vet that he wouldn't see me again. And bear in mind the undeniable fact that he had a reputation for being fearsome and formidable. And absolutely never smiled. Well, I burst into his room at the appointed time with a flourish, and a big grin on my face (I couldn't help it I was so pleased with you), and placed your cat box on his table. I then stated the obvious - "I'm back!" He actually smiled😊 When I went to the reception area to pay, the member of staff said there was to be no charge, at the vet's insistence. How kind.( It has to be said here, that when I had lost you over five years later and was desolate my darling, and this formidable vet had retired...he actually gave me full support and sympathy for my grief. I will ever be grateful to him for that).
Unfortunately, I had to take you back to him a few weeks later, as you had been attacked by the local ginger tomcat, causing you an abscess. And here we were to learn something again. Cats are experts at hiding pain and discomfort. You must have been in awful pain, and yet outwardly never showed it. That ginger cat was to become the bane of your life for some time, until his owners moved house. Then both you and I were more able to relax when you were in the garden❤️
The day we had collected you we were told that you were overweight, and that they had put you on a diet. Maybe your previous owner had overfed you. It was our task to continue with the quest to help you to lose weight. So we bought some digital scales, and carefully weighed your food out each day. But you never did lose weight did you my darling; which puzzled both the vets and ourselves. You remained plump and cuddly for your five years here. I tried to keep you active with 'shadow games'. But also with our game of 'chase'. Each evening, as soon as I'd cleared the pots - it would become 'Bella time'. We had an understanding without words. You would watch me hang the tea towel, and then put on an old fleece if it was cold. And we would both approach the back door casually. You would get a little ahead of me, then wait for the words - "I'm coming to get you!" You'd tear up the garden with me in hot pursuit. Once we reached the top we would both turn. Then you would chase me; or wait till I reached the other end and called you. Up and down we would go, with neighbours probably peering behind curtains, thinking me crazy. But I never cared. You ran at the speed of light! But in your last months you were becoming slower; I have often wondered why, and it troubles me. You had the ability to climb trees, but not the agility to come back down; probably because you were plump. So then one or another of us would have to stand on a garden chair, and retrieve you from fences and the tree behind the shed. You were rescued from that tree six times in one day. You silly girl🥰❤️
If I were to describe your beauty, where would I start?
You were lovely from your furry coat to right within your heart.
Your fur was soft as silk to feel, it glinted in the sun.
It twinkled gold in bright sunlight, like you and it were one.
Your eyes were full of love my girl, like seas of dreamy green.
Your pink paw pads were soft to touch, your teeth so white and clean.
I could have gazed at you all day, and stroked your gentle head.
And held you in my arms all day, and then again in bed.
So wait beside the Rainbow Bridge in sunshine my dear heart.
One day we'll meet again my girl, and never be apart.❤️
For years I have suffered from chronic fatigue, causing the obvious - extreme tiredness. So I have to rest up every afternoon, in order to carry on with the day. You shared each afternoon with me when you came here, and it was bliss. Having you there made those rests so much more effective. I would sit on a chair, cover my legs with a velvet blanket, and raise my legs on a dining chair as you tended to sprawl. It was such a comfort to have you with me. After about an hour, when the horrible symptoms had subsided, I would pick up a book to read. To me...Bella + book = bliss. That was my equation. But now, I'm just left with the memories and the blanket, with your hairs on it. I will never wash it❤️
After we had cared for you for a few months we decided to go to Devon for a short break, as we have done for years in autumn. So I booked you into our local cattery. I gave them your own food, and verbal and written instructions. I left you there and went away like a fretful parent, and hoped for the best. It was a disaster. We returned four days later to collect you, only to find you totally traumatised. The staff said you had been seriously distressed. You'd certainly lost your voice from crying. You were probably afraid, as you often were of many things, of your strange surroundings. And probably felt abandoned too. We took you home and I gave you lots of cuddles, and you soon thawed. A few months later, when we wanted to return to Devon for another short break, we took the risk of sending you back to the cattery. The hope was that you would feel a little accustomed to it; but mostly that you wouldn't feel abandoned this time, as we'd come back for you before. It proved disasterous again. We decided there and then never to take you back. We would have to come up with another plan. It was about then that Sam and Daniel each came back to live with us, each for different reasons. So that took care of your nights but not your days, whilst they were at work. And so I asked a good friend and neighbour Stella, to check you out frequently each day. This she did willingly, for which I shall always be grateful. She was to report on how you were, with accompanying photos. Over time we thought of her as your 'Auntie Stella'. The first ever photo she took of you to reassure me, was of you on your favourite pink blanket. My dear friend Stella five years on used that photo, to have its image imposed on a cushion for my 60th birthday. I was delighted with it, and placed it on the sofa. I think you approved, for you immediately jumped up and reclined in front of it, in the same pose❤️
We quickly discovered that you were afraid of just about anything. The list was extensive and included crisp packets, lawn mower, yard brush, ironing board, iron, hoover, aeroplanes, helicopters and football matches on the tv; although this last fear was understandable, for Daniel watching Liverpool matches was often quite loud! You never did get used to the hoover did you my darling. As soon as I plugged it into the wall socket you would literally droop with fear. I would then have to lift you out into the garden, whilst you hung like a damp rag, and I murmured endearments all the way. You would then peer with horror through the French window at the 'terrible goings on' taking place in the lounge, as if I'd gone mad. Once I'd put the hoover away, you would approach the back door cautiously, and edge your way into the house, checking for the enemy all the way. I remember Dave dropped your tub of dried food on the kitchen floor at feeding time. Instead of taking advantage of all that food spread about you bolted with horror. You didn't go in the kitchen after that for seven whole months if Dave was about to feed you, in case he did the dreadful deed again. You would hide in the hall, and peer found a doorway; only going to your bowl once Dave had completely left the kitchen. Even though you were mostly indoors when an aeroplane flew over, you would monitor its progress at different windows, only relaxing again once it had receded into the distance. And the photo below, with you on the garden table, is of you observing a helicopter going over. I didn't realise at the time, but I'd taken a Live Photo. So all I have to do now is press the image and you move, tilting your head up with apprehension in your beautiful eyes. I can hear the rotary blades then too. When I view it I wish I was back in that moment, and you were still here. I think one of the many reasons I loved you, and still do, is because my heart went out to you with all your worries of the world.❤️
I would sit up the garden and cat watch, and let the minutes unfurl
As you rolled on your back in the sunshine, my beautiful beautiful girl.
I loved to watch as you rolled there, in an unhurried way on the grass.
You had no worries or schedules, you just let the time gently pass.
You always lived for the moment, moment by moment each day.
You had no concerns for tomorrow. For you it was eat, rest and play.
To sit up the garden and cat watch was a lesson for me in it's way.
Don't look ahead to tomorrow. Be glad of what you have today.❤️
Although you were a worrier, your fear of being outside alone diminished with the fading light. Night time you felt safe, under cover of darkness. This proved a problem for us, as on warm evenings you refused to come in for the night. If I managed to get you in, you would become restless and claw at the back door insistently, until I gave in and let you out. Then I would be like a fretful parent again, hoping you weren't attacked by the local ginger tomcat, or even a fox. At least you had your box and soft blanket by the back door, under cover of the carport. We loved it in that shelter didn't we darling; sitting together undeterred, listening to the drumming of the rain on the corrugated roof. And often times when I was busy, you would recline on your box and watch the rain splashing on the garden path. Unless of course you fancied a shower! Which you often did during a downpour. You would stand in the rain till you were soaked, then saunter into the kitchen. You were probably attention seeking, as the result was always the same - one or another of us would exclaim "Bella, you're all wet!" And dry you off with a bunch of kitchen roll, whilst you purred loudly. You cheeky girl🥰❤️
You only managed to kill one bird in five years thank goodness; although still one too many I know. You had an attempt with Mr Black our resident blackbird also. I will never forget that day. Before I knew it he was in your mouth, and you didn't seem to know what to do with him. I shrieked "No Bella!" Which startled you so much, you released him. It's amazing what can go through someone's mind in a split second. I thought "Is he maimed? Will he live?" He was unharmed. In fact he cheerfully caught a fly as he flew away. Mr Black then built a nest with his wife Mrs Brown, right by our French window. My heart sank as I thought they were doomed. But these were smart birds! If you went anywhere near either them or their kids, they would go absolutely berserk! And set out to peck you repeatedly, as well as making deafening alarm noises. It was enough to give me palpitations, let alone you. You found the commotion so unsettling, you very soon made yourself scarce, and never attempted to cause them mischief. They successfully reared two sets of equally ferocious youngsters. I was impressed. But the smaller birds that persisted in nesting in our garden were another matter. I came up with a solution. I recalled that you were afraid of bells (from your extensive list of things to worry about). So I draped strings of Christmas decoration bells around their nesting sites, which jingled in the breeze. Problem solved😊. One other bird story you may recall. You were dashing up the garden to join me one day. A pheasant flew down into the garden at the same time, and you both virtually collided. You took one horrified look at each other, and each returned the way you came. I remember thinking "did I just see that?" You never attempted to attack the big fat wood pigeons that strolled about our garden on a daily basis did you darling. I think their audacity and size perplexed you. You would crouch and watch them thoughtfully with, I have to say, an evil look in your eyes. And the end of your tail would twitch, ever so slightly❤️
Tale of a Tail
Your tail could always tell a tale of how you felt that day
From whether you were cross or sad, or flirting in your way.
Your tail would bush to make it large if you felt a threat.
Or stick up like a flagpole if your needs weren't met.
If you rushed to meet me it would tremble like a leaf.
If you felt quite poorly it would hang like a wreath.
When you lay upon your back shyness would prevail.
You'd curl it up between your legs - your modesty tail❤️
You never ever ever tired of being fussed. I obviously can't emphasise that fact enough. So it's a good thing you came to live with us my darling, as you had a good deal here. The day would start thus - I would feed you before anything (or I'd never hear the end of it). Then let you out for a pee, whilst getting on with breakfast preparations. Then I would let you back in, for your first fuss of the day. This usually entailed cuddling you and muttering endearments to you. I would then put you down and get on with more kitchen chores. I expect you did not approve, so would saunter off for a bit of a sulk. A little while later I would sit down to put my make-up on - whilst you regarded me with mild disapproval. No doubt you thought my time could be put to better use, ie, fussing you some more. But Bella, putting make-up on at my stage in life was vital! And still is. Anyway, that task accomplished, I would fuss you some more; knowing that Sam would be hurtling down the stairs any minute to shower you with kisses; which you didn't mind at all. And sometimes he would pick you up for a cuddle, which you did mind; but you endured it anyway, with 'that look' in your eye, which I knew only too well. Then Sam would put you down and get on with the day. No matter. You knew Daniel would be reluctantly starting the day. We would hear his floor boards creak. Then he would plod down the stairs and slump onto the carpet with his breakfast. That way he could eat his toast, and fuss you at the same time. And they say men can't multi task! Then there would be a lull on your 'fuss rota' as we each got on with the day; which I'm sure didn't meet with your approval at all. Eventually though, you would curl up and go back to sleep. The way cats do. The very best part of each day was our afternoons together wasn't it darling (Bella + book = bliss). At 5.30 pm your fuss rota would resume as the menfolk each returned home from work. And later at 7pm you and I had 'Bella time' and our game of 'chase'. At about 8.30 you and I would retire upstairs for the night; you to your blanket, and me to my book. But it wouldn't take long, as I turned the pages, for my eyes to drift your way. And it was no good! I would have to leave the comfort of my bed, and get down on the carpet - and fuss you some more. And tell you I loved you over and over. It's those moments that I recall often, when I need that warm glow in my heart. I imagine you are on your blanket, and I am there with you, telling you over and over how I love you.Which I still do, and always will❤️
I Miss You.
My heart filled with love a thousand times a day
Whenever we cuddled or I looked your way.
You were my Peace and my Friend, and I thought it would never end.
But you are not here and I am alone
With so many memories of you in this home.
My heart now aches, I'm in so much pain
Longing, so longing for what won't come again.
You were my Peace and my Friend and I really did think it would never end💔
When we first met you, the staff at the rescue centre stressed that you were to be the only pet. It seems some cats are more amenable than others at sharing a household with other furry friends. Not so you. I expect you would have been scared of them - even a goldfish. When you had settled with us, at times I would wonder if a furry companion would have been of benefit to you, to while away the minutes and hours with, when we were pre occupied with our jobs and chores. You could have curled up together, groomed each other or had a play fight. Sometimes I would lift you onto the window sill of the bay window. That way you could watch the world go by at leisure; which would of course allow you to observe dogs and their owners, as they passed by on the village green. But this idea did not meet with your approval did it my darling. For one thing the window sill worried you. And for another - so did the dogs. They would trot along by, tails up, grinning without a care in the world. Oblivious to the fact that they had a mortified audience, in the shape of a cat. You would view them with horror and make a hasty retreat. So that idea didn't work did it. Although there was one particular day when you actually had a close encounter with a canine kind. You were contentedly dozing on a chair, whilst I was busy doing some housework. Unbeknown to either of us, our next door neighbour's dog Kizzie (who is a delight) decided to pay a call. She took the opportunity to slip out of their front door when it was ajar one day, and slip through our front door, which was open for whatever reason. Anyway, Kizzie sauntered in and made herself at home on our carpet. Being as her fur almost perfectly matches the colour of our carpet, I thought I was hallucinating, when I saw it 'move'. Once I realised it was actually Kizzie, I laughed so much and hugged her; then returned her to her rightful owner. As I walked back towards our house I wondered how you might have taken this encounter. You were still reclining on your chair, as still as a statue, on high alert. Your eyes were popping out of your head from that mysterious encounter, as if to say -"Did I just see that?" You remained like that for some time, as your world had become an Unpredictable Place. Silly girl🥰Kizzie would have been quite happy to be your friend I'm sure❤️
I have always loved the seasons and the different weather systems which of course includes snow. Many a time when the boys were small, I would be the one outside building a snowman, whilst they stayed inside in the cosy warm; preferring to watch tv or play with Lego or something. But you my darling girl did not approve of the snow at all. You were having none of it. Considering that you wouldn't use a litter tray, this posed a problem. So one day I decided to enlighten you as to the joys of snow, by carrying you up the garden and plonking you in it. I then retreated backwards to watch you make your way back towards the house. This did not meet with your approval whatsoever. You protested loudly as you cautiously stepped my way. I had my mobile phone with me, and so I took a photo. Little did I know that five months on, on a summers day, I would lose you. And my world would come tumbling down. A kind friend sent that photo to a jewellery company. As a surprise she then presented me with the result - a silver heart pendant on a chain. Within the pendant is a gemstone containing that image, unseen to the naked eye. But shine a torch through it, and there you are projected onto a wall! You are again walking towards me, with your beautiful emerald green eyes flashing, and the snow twinkling all around you. I wear that necklace every day now. Often times I press it against my heart, where you already are. For now and forever more, my darling girl❤️
I want to tell the world how much you mean to me
To shout it from the rooftops - you are my fur baby.
I'd shout about your beauty, your gentle loving eyes.
The quiet way you looked at me, seemingly all wise.
I want to tell the world the reason I'm in pain
Now that you're not with me, nor will be here again.
But I won't be shouting, I'll whisper you instead
And say "I'll join you later girl, you've just gone on ahead"❤️🌈
You and I, we understood one another without words didn't we darling. I would look into your eyes and know what you were thinking. Oh how I loved your eyes. Our eyes would meet just prior to our game of 'chase'. I would hang up the tea towel and give you 'the look'. Then we would head to the back door. But sometimes I actually wanted a conversation with you. One approach I would try would be this. I always, to your disgust, placed you outside on your box, whilst I went to work at the school, just in case you needed a pee whilst I was out. I would only be gone for two hours. But I knew that by the end of those two hours you would be bristling with indignation. As I walked towards the front door I would step left, and peer through the gap between the back gate and the house. Without fail you would have predicted this and be sitting the other side, and glaring through the gap. I would exclaim "Bella!" And you would yowl loudly once. I would then say "Oh Bella!" And you would then miaow once more. Again I would say "Oh Bella!" At this point you always decided the conversation was over. You would continue to glare at me accusingly, whilst I fumbled clumsily for the front door key. It was just a little ritual we had. If I stayed in the shower too long you would stomp up the stairs and position yourself on the landing, for a prolonged miaow in a long, low key; full of woe. I always found this hilarious. And I always made you ask for a dreamy. I would hold out a treat and say "Do you want a dreamy?" Only giving you one when you had answered "yes" in your language. You were quite co operative on these occasions. Your last miaow of the day was always as you came into the bedroom. You would walk round the end of the bed towards your velvet placed blanket, as if to say "At last, we can settle down for the night now." Every single night now, when I am in bed with my book, I 'see' you walk round the end of the bed and towards your blanket. And miaow just the once. I know it is just my imagination though. It is just a yearning. My friend who lives in Wales said it is my Hiraeth - my yearning, my longing for you. She also taught me another Welsh word 'cwtch' which means 'hug'. I long for the day when I leave this world, when I can walk towards you in sunshine. And sink to the grass and give you a gentle cwtch. For that is my last lovely memory of you my darling, one hour before you passed. Neither of us were to know it then. I want to go back to that moment, and be with you again forever. I love you Bella❤️
In the summer the garden belonged to us didn't it darling. If I was in it, so were you. Unless it was too hot for you, in which case you would stay in the relative coolness of the house, with a bowl of water placed in whatever shady spot you had chosen. Or you would shoot into the house whilst I mowed the lawn for you did not approve of that monstrosity (it was after all on your 'fear list'). But apart from those occasions, you were my shadow. When I pegged out the washing you would join me, and flop across my feet to trap me, causing me to have to shuffle along with the pegs. And if I dozed on a sun chair, I didn't even have to look to check if you were there. I would drop my hand and feel your soft cool fur, as you reclined by me on the grass. I find it difficult now to be in the garden, as I miss you. I planted the first primroses of the year in tears. About a week later I awoke in the early hours, feeling that I must dig up your ashes and place them in a pot for safe keeping; I don't know why. But I did it anyway later the following day. I then put a rose bush and more primroses in it. I later looked at photos, and found one of you I had taken when you had jumped into that pot to sun yourself. You had never done it before, nor since. The date on that photo matched the exact week the previous year - to the week I placed your ashes in that pot with the flowers. I find that strange. I have planted three roses in memory of you, all pink. One is named Aphrodite, which represents my love for you. One is named Joie de Vivre, which represents the joy you gave me. And one is named For your Eyes Only, which represents your beautiful loving eyes. And daffodils are flourishing now, for I planted their bulbs last autumn in places where you used to be in the garden. I grew wallflowers from seed last spring, when you were still here my darling. I was apprehensive as I thought you would stand on the seedlings. But you never did, and they are flourishing now. I feel they are a gift from you to me. I have decided that each time I dig a plant into the ground I will say "I love you Bella". That way our Eden will continue to flourish, full of my love for you❤️
I often think of you each day, in relation to what the weather is doing that day. I imagine where you would be, and what expression would be on your beautiful face. I know that last week you would have been very happy. It was unusually warm for the time of year. I sat in the garden with a t shirt on. Obviously, I thought of you. I sat on the sunchair, and imagined you by me. I occasionally dropped my hand down beside the chair, to imagine feeling your soft cool fur. I always knew you would be there. When it was quite hot, you would retire under the sunchair for some shade. I always worried, perhaps irrationally, that the sunchair would break and collapse on to you; I felt so protective of you. Last week I dragged the sunchair out of the shed, to sit on in the warm sunshine. And guess what. It did collapse! A screw had come out, and down it went. So, maybe I had been right to fret for you after all. Today you would not approve of the weather at all. It is snowing now and everywhere is white. The strong winds are blowing snow like cotton wool balls, in swirls through the air. Today, you would have been back in your soft warm bed by the radiator, with a sulky look on your face. We would both be waiting for the days to get better again. I miss you so much my darling girl❤️
Recently I felt the need to go to the crop field, which I had long ago named as my 'crying field' after losing you. I struck off early, and stood in the middle of it sobbing. I then looked at my favourite photo of you on my phone, my darling girl. I found myself praying angrily to God, and not for the first time. Usually I would be saying "Why? Why? Why didn't you heal her!?" But this time I was saying - that even if I was dragging this grief out by thinking of you, and looking at photos of you every day -I would not stop! Could not stop. That I wanted to look at your beautiful face always. The tears were streaming down my face, in the middle of that field. At that exact moment, I received an email from someone on the forum. It said .."Hi Giselle. I've been thinking of you and your beautiful Bella. I love her picture! I think if you want to look at pictures of her every day you should definitely do that as it's all part of the mourning process. I hope you're doing ok. CK" I replied "You are like a messenger from God". It was perfect timing. I have since framed that photo, and placed it in the kitchen. Whilst I'm working away in there, It is comforting to see you, and it makes me smile. Which can only be a good thing😊❤️
Our previous cat Steve had been grey. So I had decided the next would be a tabby, with symmetrical markings. But we ended up with you my darling, as Dave had said he liked torties. I had ignorantly thought them ugly, 'splodgy' and 'uneven'. But I was to learn so many things from my care of you. Your fur played tricks with my eyes, depending on the light. You weren't so much a 'shape shifter'(like in the sci fi movies). You were a 'colour shifter'! In the evenings by soft light, you appeared almost black. But as the sun came up in the mornings, your ginger bits would start to appear. The most amazing transformation came when you were in full sun. Then you would illuminate, and appear gold all over. I have a photo of you reclining on the garden table, which shows this taking place. And my most favourite photo of you, shows your splodgy, uneven asymmetrical ginger bits, perfectly placed. And although you had black whiskers, you had one white one. Like the icing on the cake, or the final defiant flourish of the Painter's brush❤️
Yesterday whilst ironing I had a flash memory of you. When you first arrived here the ironing board worried you. And so did the iron, probably as it hissed. When I put the ironing board up, you would retreat to a distance with a look of dread in your eyes. I decided to try and help you to realise that there was nothing to worry about. So I popped a dreamy into the middle of your soft warm bed, which was positioned quite near to where I ironed. It was quite amusing to watch you wrestle with your fear, as opposed to your greed for the treat. Eventually greed won and you would rush over to your bed which was 'perilously close' to the 'dreaded enemy'. At which point I would immediately lavish fuss and endearments upon you whilst you were still there at that point. You quickly realised it paid to override your fear of my ironing, not just for a dreamy (which I stopped doing eventually), but for the love I lavished on you every time you approached your bed. In time, as soon as I put the ironing board up, you would rush to your bed, and sit looking up at me with hope in your eyes. Every day we had this routine. I would fuss you up to six times per ironing pile I'm sure! Ironing took longer to do when you came to live with us my darling girl❤️
There was nothing you liked more than to have your belly rubbed! This came as quite a surprise to me, as your predecessors James, Jemima and Steve would never have tolerated it. I was therefore astonished when I discovered that belly rubs were what you liked best. Which became a favourite pastime for me also. You would lie on your back often, even on my knee, whilst I stroked your tummy. Your fur was like the softest silk, and I found it so therapeutic. In our last hour together in the sunshine that day, you lay on your back on the grass. I had just finished brushing you. I stroked your tummy gently. My abiding memory of you in that moment, is of you stretching contentedly, and idly looking one way and then the other. Your beautiful eyes could not have looked more beautiful than they did then. I remember thinking so at the time. I have to try and remember that moment now, like it is a gift from God. And to discount the memory half an hour later, of your eyes full of fear as I passed you in your cat box over to the vet in the carpark. We never saw each other again. I try not to dwell on that moment, as it didn't represent the five precious years together did it darling. For I had tried to take your worries away for those years, and I had mostly succeeded; partly because you trusted me, and because you knew I loved you so. I have to instead wind the clock back in my head by half an hour... to stroking your tummy in the sunshine. You couldn't have looked more beautiful than you did then❤️
Your eyes lit up like emerald green lights.
They shone through frosted glass on dark nights.
Your pupils dilated when ready to pounce
On a stick, or a shadow I made in the house.
When you looked at the sky with the sun on your face
Your pupils were thin like a thread or a lace.
The green of your eyes I will never forget,
Nor the love that was in them from the day that we met.
I look in your eyes every day still
In a photo I framed and put on the sill.
I tell you I love you again and again,
And will always do so until the day when
I can hold you close to me as I did our last day,
And look in your eyes and know you will stay
Beside me forever, for that's heaven to me
Together with you for eternity❤️
The week leading up to your last Christmas Day with us frightened me to death. You had become constipated for whatever reason, and it had become very serious. In fact, Sam found you lying on your side in a soil border crying. Obviously, I took you to the vet. You had in previous weeks been poorly in this way, but never this bad. We were to give you two medications via syringe; and if they didn't work they would have to consider giving you an enema. At first, in my ignorance, I hoped they would do just that. But the vet explained this was a traumatic procedure, which could result in shock or even death.. so once enlightened, I desperately wanted the medications to work. At first they had no effect, leading to the possibility of mega colon. Also, one evening whilst giving you your medications via syringe, you panicked and wriggled, and inhaled it instead. This stopped you breathing which terrified me. Thank God you started to breath again. I rushed you back to the vet the next morning,and they said you'd be ok; but that if you'd inhaled the other medication it may not have been so good. As far as I was concerned, if you didn't make it - then life would be over for me, let alone Christmas. On Christmas Eve you had started to recover well. And were put on a special diet subsequently, which rejuvenated you. I rang the vets to thank them for your care, and said they'd given me my Christmas back. On Christmas Day a photo was taken from our front garden - of me holding you up like a trophy at the window. In it I can see I am wearing a cooking apron, as the turkey was roasting. But more than that ..,I am wearing a smile of happiness, for I am holding my bundle of joy. This last Christmas I went to pieces, for you were not here. After all that worry the previous Christmas, I actually lost you unexpectedly on a summers day. I still want to wake up, and find it was all a bad dream and you are still here. I love you Bella❤️
Our last night together I will never forget. Dave was still downstairs, and you were asleep on your velvet blanket beside the bed. I had earlier made an appointment at the vets, for the following day. Your breathing had become increasingly heavy. Yet now, you looked so peaceful as you slept. As I lay there in the half light, I felt an overwhelming feeling of foreboding. The feeling grew until I felt like panicking. So I prayed to God in my fear. It was not a specific prayer; more along the lines of - God please help us. Please be with us and keep us safe. As I lay there, rain began to fall softly outside. It sounded soothing. At the same time, the sweet peas beside my bed released their perfume around the room. The combined effect was calming. It was almost spiritual. And yet...the next day I lost you. And my world came tumbling down. It's been eight months now. And yet I still miss you. I ponder trivial things like - will I grow sweet peas again. And if so, will I place some by the bed. Would it help or hinder me. Trivial things. I'm glad I didn't know then that it was our last night together. Sometimes it is better not to know. I love you Bella❤️
You always looked at me, with hope in your eyes. Hope - that I would put the tea towel down. Hope - that I would stop rushing past you to do chores. Hope - that I would stop. And just love you. At first I found this irksome, as I had much to do. And cats are supposed to be independent aren't they. Your predecessors were. But you had come into my life to teach me many things my darling girl. So, you would keep me in your sights, and sit quietly waiting, waiting. Very slowly the wheel of my mind slowed down; and began to spin the other way. I found my chores irksome instead, and you my delight. You were like a log fire. The more I put the logs of love your way, the warmer my heart became. You were my love. My baby girl. My world. I began to realise then, that losing you one day would hurt. That I would become heartbroken one day. I am heartbroken💔I feel lost without you. I will though, live with this pain. For as Rabbi Marc Gellman has said - "I own this pain of lost love and am blessed by it, because that is what love does to us when it comes and when it goes"❤️🌈
I am writing this in the sunshine in the garden. As I write I can feel the sun's warmth on my face, and feel the gentle breeze. I can hear the birds singing. A butterfly has just flitted past. The yellow of the wallflowers and daffodils contrast with the blue of the crocuses. An idyllic setting. But to sit here is a challenge for me, for I am in pain. I can 'see' you everywhere I look. I will describe what I see. You are walking towards me in that graceful feline way, like a panther. You stop and sniff the grass about you. What causes this interest I wonder. You sit and look about you in a contemplative way. You then walk over to a rose bush, and rub your face against it. Not for the first time, I hope you don't scratch yourself on the thorns. You spot a butterfly in the aubretia. I know you won't get it though, no matter how covertly you approach. You are always too slow. You walk over to the fence and sharpen your claws at your usual spot. I will never paint it now, for I can still see the scratch marks. A bird flies over and you duck, in case it is an enemy. A plane flies over, and you watch its progress. All goes quiet. You decide there is nothing in the world to worry about, so you flop onto your side and stretch luxuriantly. You then roll onto your back, the picture of tranquility. I am cat watching again, but you are not here. Yet I shall walk up the garden often now that spring is on the way. I shall sit here, and 'see' you again walk towards me. I will play the film of you walking towards me over and over, my darling girl. For that is what I loved to do when you were here❤️
Roll back three years to a time when life was normal, and there was no pandemic. It was May, and Dave and I were in Cornwall; a place we loved to visit. I had done all I could to make sure you'd be ok. 'Auntie Stella' would care for you by day, and the 'boys' would be there for your nights. I knew you would miss me though, for I was your mum. You'd made that quite clear soon after arriving into my life. In Cornwall we were having a relaxing time - sitting in the harbour watching the boats, doing coastal walks with spectacular views. All was good. Half way through the week I ambled about the harbour shops, buying items of food: bread from the bakers, quiche from the delicatessen, etc. It seemed a much nicer way to shop, than at the big impersonal supermarkets back home. I then on impulse walked with the shopping bags down to the beach, and sat on a rock by the water. Not for the first time, I wished we lived coastally. A coastguard helicopter roared overhead, and receded into the distance, leaving me with the sound of the waves and the seagulls. All was good. Later I walked along a residential area, and saw a black cat ornament in someone's front garden. And suddenly it was as if a dark cloud had gone under the sun. I immediately thought of you. I just wanted to come home. I never told Dave; but the rest of the week went too slowly for me. And the drive home was a private agony, with traffic jams. I just wanted to pull the miles on a rope, and get them behind me. When we arrived home, it was...bliss. I picked you up and cuddled you. To me it was heaven. Within months the pandemic had hit. Going anywhere wasn't happening, let alone to Cornwall. The things we had taken for granted like seeing a friend or popping in to a neighbour for a quick chat, all stopped. For two years it was you and me. When I lost you so many people said - of course you've taken this badly. Bella was your companion during lockdowns. Which you were of course. You were my constant, my friend and companion. But...I remember Cornwall. I tell no one of course. They would think me mad. But even there, I had missed you. I have learned that grief can be a lonely thing. Especially pet grief. It is not widely acknowledged nor understood. Yet, it can be agony. Now, if I can help someone along just a little I will. They need to know that their pain and tears are valid. I will do that for as long as I live, my darling girl, as a legacy to you❤️
I have a memory which hurts so much to recall. I have avoided writing it until now. Even as I write I may cry. Actually, my tears are coming now.....every afternoon my precious girl, you would jump on my knee for our afternoon rest together. You would first of all sit by me and prepare for your little jump. If you dawdled, Dave or I would say "hup!" to encourage you. A few weeks before we lost you, you went to leap up but slipped down. You immediately instead got into your bed which was alongside. At the time I laughed, thinking you were simply unnerved from slipping. A few days later it happened again. And then a week or two later again. Each time you would immediately get into your bed, and look up at me. You always looked so sad. On reflection now, I really think you may already have been in some discomfort in some way. But I didn't read the signs. Between these bouts you seemed happy and well. But now I think, the walls were closing in. If you could have spoken at the time my sweetheart, I would have taken you to the vet sooner. And most likely would have lost you sooner therefore. Some things we are not meant to know. It wasn't quite your time I don't think. We still had a period of grace❤️
Sunday 4th July last year, was my last day of happiness. The following day your breathing had become quite laboured. The day after that, I lost you. On Sunday the weather was beautiful. I had cycled the country lanes in the morning, returning to housework and lunch. After which it was our afternoon rest time together. I placed a sun chair by the apple tree, and your pink rug and scratch post alongside. The pink rug was never really necessary, as you were quite happy to recline on the grass. But I always placed it out there like a 'welcome mat'. You nearly always accepted the 'invite'. And I would place a bowl of water somewhere nearby in shade. As we relaxed in the sunshine, Dave walked by. I recall asking him to take a photo of us, which he did. I thought a caption for it might read - 'two fat ladies'. We relaxed some more; but I could see heavy rain clouds advancing at speed. Anticipating the imminent rainfall, I rushed the sun chair and scratchpost into the shelter. I then picked you and your rug up quickly, and gently placed you on your box. I vividly remember you looking put out, as if I'd been a spoil sport and disrupted your relaxation in the sunshine. At that moment the heavens opened, and the rain drummed on the corrugated roof. I like to think you understood then, why I had moved you. I expect you did. Since then my darling girl, I have not been happy. I don't know if I ever will be again. I just want you back. I realise this will never be. I can only go on now, by hoping to see you again. I pray to God every day - please, please allow me into heaven when my time comes. And please, please give me my girl back for I miss her so. I love you Bella❤️
Your last day. You were slower to come down the stairs that morning, and didn't eat your breakfast for a while. I still had that feeling of foreboding. I had googled - reasons for heavy breathing in a cat. I knew I couldn't rule out your having heart problems; but there were other reasons why you might breath heavily too. So I tried not to think it could be that. I went for a morning walk; then visited my father who was poorly. When I returned you were sleeping peacefully in your bed, so I didn't disturb you. Instead I lay on my bed feeling unaccountably cold. Your appointment at the vets was for 4.45 pm. Soon after 4 pm I carried you up the garden. I stopped briefly halfway to look at your beautiful eyes as you looked about you. Somehow you felt unsubstantial, lighter. I gently placed you down on the grass in sunshine. I brushed you and then gently stroked your tummy as you stretched luxuriantly. You looked like you hadn't a care in the world. I then put you in your cat box for your final journey. We neither of us knew it at the time. I'm so so very sorry my darling girl, that I had to take you out of the sunshine where you were warm and happy. And take you to the vet. I would have done anything to save you. We arrived at the carpark, and the vet came out to collect you. I barraged her with questions, as to what your problem might be. She remained understandably noncommittal . I told her I hoped it was nothing serious, for you were my world. I said that I was worried and that "this cat will be the death of me". She took you in, and came out minutes later...without you. She said it was your heart. I asked her to please fix you, with tablets or anything she could. She looked uncomfortable, and sent me home whilst they did x rays. I even wonder if the vet found me a liability. As soon as I got home she rang to say you must be put down. And my world fell apart. I don't regret not being with you when you passed my darling girl. I just know that my tears would have upset you. And I know that I could never have coped with seeing the life go out of your beautiful eyes, I know you can forgive me for that, simply because you are the most loving and forgiving of souls. You are my angel. And I will love you forever❤️
The day after. The next day was possibly the worst of my life. Dave had insisted I leave the house for a walk or to go to the stables whilst he was at work. So I briefly went up to the horses. But when I walked through the door later, you were not there to greet me. I equate the pain I felt then, to that of acid being thrown on me. I walked from room to room trying to breath. I walked up and down the garden trying to breath. The days ahead were agony. They were a blur of pain. I didn't eat, sleep or wash. I cried day and night, and in public. The family didn't like to see me this way. Dave hugged me at times, and the 'boys' retreated into their rooms. And so it went on. As the weeks passed I became more composed. As more weeks passed I started to function, and to appear to embrace life again. But it is for show. This pain is my own, and I cannot share it with those in my life. My world has now changed, and my heart hurts every day for you my darling girl. I only go on, by hoping to see you again.I have never loved an animal more. You are my fourth child, my baby girl. I think of you perhaps more now, than when you were with me. And I realise that now I am on a spiritual journey;for that is what loss does to us. Which is no bad thing. For you came into my world to teach me many things. I love you Bella❤️
I have decided after all not to avoid sweet peas for the rest of my life. I had thought I would, for there was a bunch of them beside me on our final night together. The smell of them had been beautiful and calming. So today I have planted 24 sweet pea seedlings in memory of you darling. Every time I planted one I said "I love you Bella". It is just a pact I made with myself some time ago, so that our Eden still flourishes, full of my love for you. I expect too that on 5th July, I will have a bunch on my bedside locker again, reminiscent of our last night. I hope it will be of comfort to me. I have put some in your pot too, which is by a fence with a trellis attached. In a moment I shall sit out there in an old fleece for it is windy. I shall sit right next to your pot, which will be warm in the sun....and remember. I will always remember you Bella. I know it through and through now. I shall walk through life smiling outwardly at least. And you will be in my heart always❤️
Well, here we are Bella...on the eve of the day that I lost you. I am in bed, and there are sweet peas in a vase on my bedside locker. Where has the time gone? And how have I survived? I have thought of you all day my darling girl. I have just said to Dave that if you had lived until you were twenty or more, it would never have been enough. I was always going to hurt losing you. I will always hurt, and always miss you. I love you with all my heart my baby girl. Every day I will tell you the words "I love you forever", just as I have done out loud when alone each day. And I will continue to pray to God, that he reunite us again one day❤️
This journal has been dedicated to you my darling girl. I know cats can't talk but if you could speak, I would like you to be able to say...
"I am not gone
Just gone from your sight.
In the blink of an eye
I'll see you again
When the time is just right.
Wipe the tears from your eyes
And watch for the signs that I send to remind you
That love never dies"❤️