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​​​An Old Friend Said Goodbye Today

by Reid Moore 3 years ago in cat
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How a faithful buddy taught me a lesson about living. And dying...

Cat SleepingAn Old Friend Said Goodbye Today on Vocal.mediaPhoto Courtesy of PublicDomainPictures.net

​​​​An old friend said goodbye today, and, the funny thing was, I never knew what buds we were. But Grace knew, and that's all that mattered.

Actually, Gracie (as we called her) was always rather aloof, and never really paid much attention to me. It was to my mother she gave all her love to. And, that's understandable. After all, it was she who nursed Grace from an orphan to ​adulthood, so my mom was the only mother Grace had ever ​really ​known.

I'm not sure, but, by now, you may have guessed that Grace was a cat. And, she died today.

When I woke up this morning, it was a day like any other. Except, this morning, I awoke to having Grace, the family cat, digging her paws into the blanket covering me and purring loudly.

I was surprised, because, in the 15 years that Grace was alive, she barely even noticed me. Except, maybe to realize that I was rather aloof about her, and didn't really pay much attention either.

Besides, I hadn't lived with my mother all that time. I remembered Gracie mostly as a kitten. And, in the last few weeks, as the aging family pet who had always been there, and that seemed like she always would be, as I began sorting out my own life moving forward.

I was never unfriendly to Grace. And, occasionally, I'd have to fill in ​​​and put some food and water down in her bowls, on the rare occasion my mom was out of the house for more than a day or two. That would always earn me a slow promenade around the ankles, and a little swipe of her tail as she thanked me in her own small way.

So, why all the sudden attention and affection being lavished on me this morning?

I didn't question it at the time. In fact, it was rather pleasant, lying there in the cool hours of the morning, just drifting out of a sound sleep. I stroked Gracie's head and back for a few moments, and then she abruptly got up and walked away. Just another day...

Later, as I was absorbed in some task, my mom asked me, "Have you seen Gracie today? I can't find her and she hasn't touched her food."

It didn't seem unusual to me, but, my mom explained that Grace was a creature of habit, even for a cat.

"She never misses a meal," she said.

I was too wrapped up in whatever I was doing to answer more than vaguely that, no, I hadn't seen her. And, then I suddenly remembered what had happened this morning.

"Wait," I said. "I did see her today."

And I related to my mom how Grace had awakened me. For the first and only time in her long life. Mom looked at me thoughtfully for a moment and then I got back to whatever I was doing at the time as she slipped quietly from the room.

15 minutes later, she came back in and said, simply, "I found her."

She led me into the front bedroom, where we had a heavy, free standing clothes closet that was positioned a few inches from the wall, providing a narrow gap in which one could reach with a broom or a mop on cleaning day. It was much too heavy to move except for maybe once ​or twice ​a year, and mom always needed help doing that, and re-positioning it again.

In other words, it was the tightest space in the whole house. And, somehow, Gracie knew it. Just like she knew that today would be her last.

At some point she squeezed herself into that lonely spot and simply... died.

I remembered reading once that animals will do that to hide from predators at the most vulnerable moment in their lives. If there's anything another animal can sense, it's when you're at your weakest.

Of course, Gracie had no predators to fear. It was just nature, following its course. Nothing more than instinct taking over.

Mom and I took Gracie into the garden out back, dug a suitable grave and wrapped her in her favorite blanket as we laid her to rest. We said some kind words as we spread the dirt and covered Gracie up forever. It was the only way we knew how to say goodbye to a faithful friend who took a moment, even as she was dying, to say, "Thank you."

I didn't think much about Gracie in all the years I knew her. But, after today, one thing is for sure. I'll never forget her.

Because, in a way, not only did Grace teach me a lesson about living.

She taught me the only thing she knew about dying​:​

​At the end of the day, take a moment to let your loved ones know you appreciate what they've done for you.

​​Then, just quietly drift off to sleep...

cat

About the author

Reid Moore

I am a Freelance Writer living in Riverside California who writes on a wide variety of topics including News, Politics, Popular Culture, Science, Music, Fiction, Poetry and Art.

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