This post originally appeared on the blog May 2, 2014.
Since then, as many of you know, my darling girl has gone to the Bridge. And yet, she is very much alive in my heart.
Today marks the one year anniversary of carrying her to the threshold of her departure. What more can I say than her living — and dying — changed me as a person? Profoundly changed. Transformed. I am more deeply human, for having loved and lost, and endured. Today, I honor the whole of our experience together. It goes on. Just as your loved ones go on, in you.
Nothing can destroy love like that. Not ever. So hold fast to that truth, and Corgi On my friends. Corgi On.
Once upon a time, I didn’t like cats. Not so much dislike as misunderstand them. Thought they all looked alike and had no personality. (Ha!) Dogs were IT for me. In my short-sightedness, I was firmly on the dog side of the fence, no budging. No way.
As those of you well acquainted with cats know, I couldn’t have been any more wrong about them. I also didn’t know I could love both dogs and cats with equal fervor. That my heart was vulnerable to takeover by a cat.
Imagine that! Life has some delightful surprises.
One gray feline in particular has been happily proving me wrong for over eighteen years now. Kitten Girl handily maneuvered me into line. From the lynx-like tips of fur on the tops of her velvety ears to the extra toes on her mitten-y paws, she fixed me firmly to her in no time flat.
Have I enjoyed it, this servitude? Frankly, I have loved it. But lately, there have been moments when I hate it. Because loving somebody in pain, the kind of pain you can no longer do anything about, hurts.
Just plain hurts. And it’s scary, too. Many of you know.
So this is the shuffle of the deck these days. My battle-weary cat has lived with kidney disease for over two years. Hyperthyroid for over three. Arthritis that’s laid claim to her muscle, making walking without a tremble or sway difficult, and I honestly don’t know how much she hurts. She hides it well, as cats do. I can touch more of the tiny architecture of her bones now, as there is little more than skin and membranes between my fingers and her ribcage, spine, hips. Although she is still eating and drinking and occasionally purring, hers is no longer a life of full dignity.
And dignity is what she deserves.
She and I had “the talk” yesterday. Yes, that one. The one you have when you have decided to release your animal to the Bridge, to free them from their pain. When they have had enough of it, and you can finally see far enough past your own hair-raising fear to glimpse reality. And your profound responsibility to this creature, who has given everything they have to give.
Yes, I have had 18.5 years with her. Many parents send their kids to college at that age. Me, I’m sending mine somewhere else entirely. If anybody tells me one more time that I was lucky to have all those years with her (I already know that, but she’s going — did I mention that?), I will have to spit in their soup. This is my kid, and after tomorrow, I won’t see her again on this earth.
I know I’ve been lucky, and I still am. Very blessed, actually. And I am grateful. But watch your soup! For a while, anyway.
Tomorrow afternoon, I will present her frail body for the last time to my wonderful vet. I will hold Kitten Girl in my arms as her pain, worries and breath fade away, feeling my kiss on her head, hearing her mother’s tender words.
I have to believe that her lovely soul will fly free.
I hope to see some sign.
I did ask for one.
“My life flows on in endless song,
above earth’s lamentation.
I hear the clear, though far off hymn
that hails a new creation … “
(My Life Goes On)
Eva Cassidy did a wonderfully soulful rendition of this song. You can listen here.
The blog will not publish next week, in honor of my beloved girl’s passing. I have no idea what life without her looks like anymore, and it will take a while to adjust. My inner compass will find a new North at some point.
Thank you for being with me on this journey.
Most sincerely yours,
This is a beautiful tribute to your darling KG. You are in my prayers at this most difficult time of parting. Hugs to you both!!
Love you Laurie. This is beautifully written and a gorgeous tribute to KG. I am weeping at my desk. Holding you both close. Cyn
This was definitely a very hard decision to make, but since you and KG had the talk, obviously the right one. You will be in my thoughts and prayers. What a beautiful story of KG. Cherish your final moments with her. Corgi kisses from Noodles to you and if he could, he would be there to lick those tears off your face (he's good at that).
I'm so sorry – that is such a tough situation to face. You're handling it with grace and dignity for your sweet little lady. Corgi and kitty hugs for you!
Susan Slavin says
Your heart overflows, Laurie. Be at peace…your Kitty Girl knows the gifts you bring her. We hold you in prayer – Susan
Liz Williams says
Oh Laurie (I remember that was a song …) I am in tears. I feel for you so much. I used to be a doggie person (and still am at heart and look forward to getting a new Corgi when I retire) but have been the proud pal of a feline for the last 13 years. I dread the day when I have to make the decision you are making but hope that I too will know when it is time to do the right thing for my boy. We will all be thinking of you – and Kitten Girl – as you take her on her final journey.
You are in my prayers. You were so gracious when we lost our corgi, Jack. Just hope I can extend that same love and compassion to you. I know you will face the time ahead with grace and strength.
hugs to you and to kitten girl. I'll be thinking and praying for you often this weekend.
So very sorry. My thoughts are with you.
Laurie, My heart breaks for you. All my love and prayers to you. You do such a wonderful job of helping so many Corgi families when their fur babies go to the Bridge – now let all of Corgi Nation wrap their arms around you in comfort and love. (HUGS))
Little Miss Pudgy Paws says
When I think about you, I think of you & KG. When I say hello and ask how you are doing, I ask you & KG. So now, when I wish that your pain and sorrow be lighter, I wish it for both you & KG. R
Hugs to you, Laurie!! I know how hard it is, I had to make that decision for my precious "kitten girl" last summer. It is so hard, and it's hard to think you'll move on, but you will, and you'll still have Kitten Girl in your heart. The Corgi world mourns with you and we love you!
Sometimes we just know when it's time. When it was Misty's (after 17.5 years) she died on the way to the vets. I hope that you know how much KG loves you. No matter what – you, Laurie, have brought her the comfort she needs during this.
Jenn, Pint-sized Pioneering says
Remembering when I escorted my Rudy kitty to the Rainbow Bridge and sending you both wishes of comfort.
What a fitting tribute to KG……myself, Jozi and the pussycats send our love and hope that the coming days bring you peace and comfort in knowing that KG who owned a girl named Laurie for so very long will forever be grateful for the love and care she was given. Please take your time in finding your North and know that we will all have you in our prayers and thoughts. Eva Cassidy is a great choice, her words always resonate in my soul and reach the far spaces of my being and I am so grateful that her family chose to release all of her albums after the loss of her.
May you know that we send our love to you!
Cat, Jozi and the pussycats
Your are the best thing that has happened to the Corgi Nation… Myself and my Three Corgis wish you nothing more than your Great Memories of your Dear Kitten Girl….
GodSpeed to The Rainbow Bridge KG
With Love & Prayers,
JoAnne,Otto, Wyatt & Piper
I have an almost 19 year old kitty, and have come to the same conclusion just this morning. Then I read this and it resonated with me so very much. I'm taking my little girl into the vet on Monday, and your tribute was just so wonderful. thank you.
Moldy Old Crone says
Your heart must be breaking. Please know I'm holding you and Kitten Girl in my heart.
Love and hugs,
Sue Grant Duffield, Bentley and Penny
Redwood Corgi says
Laurie, may you feel the love and hugs from the corgi nation you've served.
Once your tears dry, you'll feel her walk beside you sometimes,….. until you meet again at the bridge.
Sylvia and Timmy, the Redwood Corgi
Laurie, I'm so very sorry for your loss. I know what KG meant to you and reading your blog made me cry. It is so hard when it comes to say the last farewell and to know that you never again will see your beloved pet in this life is heartbreaking.
"If tears could build a stairway
and memories a lane
I would walk right up to Heaven
and bring you back again".
Hugs to you and may KG rest in peace without any more pain.
You have brought so much joy to so many people. It makes me ache that you have to experience this pain (as all fur parents must one day). My thoughts are with you and KG today. Imagine us all there with you, every person in the Corgi Nation who ever laughed or enjoyed one of your posts, every person whose life you brought a little sunshine to. We'll be there with you in spirit. We'll hold you and KG in our hearts.
Laurie, your loving tribute to Kitten Girl triggered memories from 2 years ago when my 20-year-old Rocky cat (also a medium haired grey)passed on. I sit beside you as you grieve, with my new companion Corky (PWC) at your feet lending comfort as only Corgis can. Blessings to you.
Mabel Ann says
What a beautiful tribute to partner in life.
It's so hard to let go and so hard to know when to have, "the talk." My 17 year old cat told me when it was time and I followed her wishes. KG's story sounds so much like my kitty's story. Hugs and Peace to you both.
Thoughts and prayers are with you, Laurie, as you journey through this terrible sadness without your KG. May some light shine into the darkness as you mourn the loss of your furbaby.
Katherine Collmer says
Laurie, I am so sorry. You and Kitten Girl are so brave and beautiful. My hugs and love go out to both of you.
Sam Ivy says
I'm so sorry to hear about your loss. It's a horrible situation to be in. My thoughts are with you.