The Cat that Died

We laid our family cat to rest yesterday.
So I'm writing a post.
I don't know why.

When we saw Autumn at the Shelter we "KNEW" she was our cat- even though at the time my kids' dad didn't like cats at all.

She's been in our family 10 years.

She had gone blind, had trouble walking and ultimately was getting lost in the house and couldn't control her bladder.
(these are all of the reasons I justify the guilt I have over having her put down)

What I'm writing about is my kids.

I watched them cry.
I hated it.
I cried watching them cry.

I was sad, but I'm an adult. To me, as much as I loved our cat- it was a cat.

To them... for 2 of my 3 children it was their first experience with severe loss.

I held it together.
I held it together when we made the decision with my 19 year old and she cried.
I held it together when my 9 year old sat on my lap in the morning weeping.

"It's alright. We never lose someone we love, they just live in heaven and are with us in a different way." I coached him.

When I went upstairs and found my 14 year old teen son sitting silently on a chair, his hands clasped in front of him- tears running down his face;

I lost it.

I witnessed throughout the morning seeing my children make adult choices. I began to see into the window of who they are as people.

My eldest, with compassion and strength, the closest to our cat (Autumn lived in her room and slept on the foot of her bed) who silently but calmly made the decisions and carried Autumn into the Vet as well as held her while she received the shots that would take her life. Comforting her and quietly crying as she nurtured her cat. She wrapped her in her own blanket and carried her home.

My second, who is the logical one, the strong one. Who sat by my eldest daughter giving her support. Digging the hole that we buried Autumn in. Tears running down his face as he talked to his little brother and told him it would be alright.

My youngest, my 9 year old who was devastated. He wouldn't come to the Vet and instead, stayed at home with the dog for company. The coffee table was covered in used tissues when we arrived back home. Openly weeping and sobbing like small children do. Being the outward expression of what the rest of us three were feeling.

We buried Autumn in the yard and placed Sunflowers on her grave.
I bought the kids stuffed animals for them to hold and hug in their empty arms.

And today- is a new day.
They are sad. We are sad.
They got up, made their breakfasts, packed their backpacks and went to school.
They continued on with life- in spite of the sadness- just like we adults do.

Animals bring out the best and worst in humans.
They are opportunities for us to love and be loved.

And typically, we outlive them.

We lose them.
But we learn what real love is.
It's day to day.
It's having the chance to care for, support, and nurture another being on the planet with nothing in return but the pleasure and joy of having them in our lives.
One who doesn't care about your bank account, haircut, or jean size.

RIP Autumn.


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