I want to tell you about my cat, FreadyMan. He passed away unexpectedly last Friday. I had just got home from work and my sister said that he had been sick all day. I went outside to check on him, and in the late afternoon sun he was sitting by the swing in the backyard, for all the world looking like he was catching a breeze. I looked at him, he looked at me, and I decided that he was fine. Two hours later, he had crawled under the shed and died. In my crazed grief and sorrow, I think I lost my mind. I know I lost a huge part of me that was just for him. The part that melted into him each time I picked him up to hug. I remember thinking, later, that I had Fready a couple of years before I actually fell in love with him. I do not know how this happened. It was a gradual thing. And it was a beautiful thing. We looked for each other at the begining and at the end of our day. We shared looks that only one or the other caught and understood. I have other cats that I love, but I was besotted by Fready. Sometimes I think we can’t help who our hearts choose to love. Through my floods of tears I remember telling my husband that old saying of it’s better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all is just wrong. I could hardly bear the pain of losing my Fready. I didn’t sleep well. I was sad and weepy. But, I have to tell you – somewhere in my grief, my heart turned over. I went from inconsolable to feeling that I do want to love again. And this is what I believe: I will not harden my heart against loving another animal who might just come into my life when the time is right. And who knows…. perhaps it will be another love story. In the meanwhile, I know I shall look for FreadyMan for a long time. I will see him in all the familiar places. I will still hear his V-8 size motor beating against my chest where I held him. I know his clear, green eyes follow my every move. And this I believe too: to honor the fragility of his short, sweet life, I hope you go and pick up whomever you love, child/pet/partner/friend and hold them close. You never know when your life changes and there is no second chance.
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