by Laurel Jeffrey
Here's my story:
I am in so much emotional pain and grief right now. I was not there at the moment my furry girl passed and it's like a knife in my heart to know that she died cold and alone. Her name was Baby (an 8 yr old Russian Blue) and I adopted her from my now fiance nearly 3 years ago. We joke that she moved out from him and in with me and then he got her back after all when I moved in with him summer of 2015. She was the reason we met and we will always be grateful to her for that.
Over the summer my closeness to Baby has really increased, as I've been home more and able to give both her and Wally more attention. Every morning would have a little love-fest while I was sitting on the couch on my computer, that was how I last remember her. She was on the arm of the couch and I was giving her lots of love and she was rubbing and purring so loudly.
That evening (Tuesday) I came home around 7 and then you came by and I after I noticed Baby wasn't around. I thought is was odd but she sometimes stays away when people are there visiting. The next morning I didn't see her on her usual spot on the couch but I figured she slept there and just went out into the carport or the basement - two of her favorite places to hang out. I called around for her and thoroughly searched the house and basement and then went to work. That night (Wed.) when I got home from work I was now very worried because I hadn't seen her in over a day. I told Mark that I would make up flyers the next day if she didn't come home that night. Sadly when I walked down into the living room the next morning she was still not there. I called Greenhill to report her lost and Mark posted a Lost posting on Craigslist. I made up flyers and we posted them around the neighborhood. She would never venture further than our yard so the thought of her going too far made me suspicious that she had been taken. She never went out on to the street. I think it was just too far for her to walk and even in the Buck St house she never left our yard. Females are supposed to be better in that way.
Thurs night after work we went next door to the purple house as they had returned from a 2 month Europe trip and coincidentally she went missing the next day so we wondered if she was stuck in a shed or their basement. We did a extensive search. I thought about going to the next door neighbors on the other side (to the right as you look at our house) but they have 3 noisy boys and I didn't think she'd go near their place.
Friday night I took a flashlight and went around the neighborhood looking to see any cats that might be out at night. I talked to another neighbor across the street on the corner. He said he would keep a lookout since he has 3 cats and she might go there looking for food. Saturday Mark put up more flyers around the neighborhood and I was feeling so sad because it had been 4 days but I didn't want to lose hope. I would go outside every hour or so and call her, but nothing. I really felt like she was gone.
Sunday morning I was at Winco with my grocery cart full and I noticed that I had got a voicemail. In the middle of Winco I nearly passed out when I heard the message, "I'm so sorry to have to tell you this but we've found your cat in our wood pile...". I couldn't even listen to the rest of it, I just ran out of Winco and called Mark, and then called Ethan. When I got home Mark and I realized that it was the next door neighbor, the one with the kids. We went over and they had placed her in a box with a gray t-shirt draped over top. We both thought it would be best not to look at her so we put the box in the front yard while we figured out what we were going to do and also I needed time to just have her be there. Wally came by at one point and sniffed the box. I ended up looking at her, but I couldn't look for long. Her mouth was all bloody but I couldn't really see anything else that looked like blood. Ethan and Kayla came over and brought flowers and Ethan just held me as we cried. Mark dug a hole in the front yard in a spot where she used to like to sit in the sun next to her cat mint plant and I wrapped her in a lavender colored cloth and placed her gently into the ground. I could tell that Mark was fighting back the tears. Not me, I cried and cried and cried from about 11 am until about 7 pm and I drank an entire bottle of wine. I needed some kind of anesthetic to numb the pain.
We will probably never know what happened to her. Perhaps she was hit by a car? Perhaps she was in the wood pile walking around and one of the huge stumps fell on her? Perhaps she ate some poison? I will probably always feel guilty that I didn't look hard enough for her or that I should have always kept her inside -- that will be my cross to bear and maybe someday I will be able to forgive myself. Mark has been begging me to not feel responsible, but it's hard not to. He tries to remind me that she had the best 1,009 days of her life and I have to believe that is true. I have to believe that up until her last breath she knew that she was loved and cared for more than anything. I just wish I could've been there to comfort her. I will wish that forever.
I haven't had to say goodbye to a pet family member in about 15 years, so I'm not used to having to deal with death. I know Wally's time will come, but I never expected to say goodbye to Baby so soon. She was about 8 years old.
What I do believe is that "Time heals all pains"...
Thank you for your love and prayers.