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loving (a creature) deeply

The softest memory has now become one of the cruelest. About a month ago I laid my head on my pillow. We were finally home after a grueling month of work. My husband to the right of me and our two little boys in the middle of us and I said out loud “This is a perfect moment. I love our family.” My heart literally felt happy. As if I was the Grinch, 3x growth serum in full effect.

But the next day everything started to decline.



It sounds a little ridiculous, especially coming from me. Before “our boys,” I had never been a cat person. I truly did not like them. Instead, I preferred dogs. They were loyal and always there for you. That was the kind of pet I wanted.


And God knew.


Pip was the most cuddly cat you’d ever meet. He was always there for you (no like, he’d literally always be there).


When I went to the bathroom, he would come and sit on my lap. I’m not kidding like, every time.

When I was in the shower, he would sit on the ledge and watch the water drip out from the curtain so he could lick it off the floor. One time I took a bath and he literally crawled into the bathtub to hang out with me.

When I would brush my teeth, he’d hop up on the vanity so he could have some fresh water straight from the faucet.

And when I would stay up late watching movies, he would come and sit on my lap until 12 or 1 or 2am. I would get up and start walking upstairs, and sure enough he would be there too, following my footsteps, pouncing at my pant leg as I walked.

I’d crawl in the bed, and he would crawl in the bed with me. Do a few little silly doughnuts, stop to make biscuits, and plop down right next to my chest.


This happened every day since we found him. For the last year and a half he has been my shadow.


He saw me ugly cry.

He saw me relieved after a long day of shooting a wedding or exhausted after a disappointing conversation.

He was more loyal than a dog to me, and more present in my life than most humans.

He was family.


As silly as it sounds, I know that God brought him in our lives to help prepare us for having real, human kids.


No matter where we were driving from, as we got closer to our house Ian and I would—almost routinely and without speaking—look at each other and shout “THE BOYS!” as if we both remembered at the exact moment who we were going home to. And sure enough upon entering our front door, they would always be right there to greet us. We would each pick up our respective pet and spend the next hour laughing, decompressing, and forgetting all the trouble of the day.

We had to say goodbye to sweet little Pip earlier today. It was a nasty combo of a cat-herpes-afflicted immune system with recently contracted aspirated pneumonia and to top it all off, a mass of inoperable, terminal, feline leukemia. Just our luck.

He was a rescued stray, not even 2 years old.


He loved sitting in the screen window to look at birds, meowing at his bff Harvey (the neighbor’s cat), playing with toy springs, drinking water straight out of the faucet every morning while we brushed our teeth, and being too curious for his own good.

He always greeted us, got into lots of trouble, and made our lives much more joyful.


His brother Appa already misses him. After we buried him, Appa came right up to Pip’s spot and looked for him, as if he already knew something was missing.

I feel like I’ve cried too much over little buddy leaving us and I’ve definitely written too long of a reflection on one of the 600 million cats in the world (how the heck can all of this emotion bubble up over a stray animal that wandered into our garage?!) But sure enough, it happens.


Through sobs, I whispered into Ian’s chest today that I feel like I’m going crazy feeling this sad over a dead cat. But Ian reminded me that that’s not a bad thing. He simply replied, “You love deeply. It’s one of the reasons I married you.”


I want to hope that that’s true. I guess the tears on my cheeks are good proof.

 

Pip, “Beans,” my little buddy,

We loved you deeply. And we'll miss you forever.


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