I can understand why people say a parent feels so strongly when they lose a child. No, Chloe was not my human baby; I did not birth her or carry her inside of me, and physically we do not share that bond. But I did nurture her from a sick kitten and spend 14 1/2 years with her by my side through thick and thin. There were times when it was just her and me, and the emotional bond we shared can never be broken. She was my fur-baby, and to me that matters all the same.
I fondly remember the time shortly after I got her when my grandmother came up to visit. Always the fashion fleet, my grandmother wore a fur jacket with fur ball-shaped tassels on the belt. Chloe wouldn't stop jumping up to bat at the dangling balls, thinking they were there just for her! Or the time when the two of us stayed with my parents for a couple of weeks before I started working at Guiding Eyes. Chloe decided to lay on our family dog Sandy's blanket, which Sandy didn't accept - so Sandy tried to pull it away but Chloe wouldn't budge, so Sandy ended up pulling her around the dining room until she finally gave up! Chloe certainly gave us all some good laughs over the years.
Grief does some interesting things to the body. It has made me hear things that aren't really there (like a little meow around the corner when she isn't there) and tear up when I walk into her empty, silent room. It has made me sob uncontrollably when I see a trailer for "The Art of Racing in the Rain" or when watching one of my favorite Disney Pixar movies on TV ("Finding Nemo" always reminded me of Chloe because Nemo has a "lucky fin" just like Chloe has always had a "lucky claw" - a deformity she never outgrew).
I miss how Chloe loved to lick my nose and chin. How if I was sitting on the couch for any reason she needed to be sitting on top of me (which sometimes made it difficult to see my computer screen and answer emails!). How she would meow like crazy and do an "I'm hungry" dance when she felt it was feeding time, even if it was only 3:00 in the afternoon (which was annoying but hilarious all at the same time!). And most of all, how much she just loved me no matter what. My heart is broken. But I know she's in a better place free of any pain or stress, and that my memories will bring me peace and help me heal. She will live forever in my heart and never be far from my mind, and loving anyone that much is always a gift to be cherished. I was extremely blessed to have her in my life for so long.
There's a saying that goes something to the effect of, "Animals come into our lives for many reasons. They love us and share in our joy and guide us through the hard times. And then, when we are finally able to stand on our own, they leave us." Thank you, Chloe, for being there to love me and teach me so much; I never could have done it without you.
Rest peacefully my little Chlo-Chlo, and know that you were very much loved and that we will be together again. Momma will think of you every day and smile. Thank you for the memories.
Maria Huntoon, CBCC-KA