Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Goodbye My Beloved Fannie, Run and Play with Abandon. You are Deeply Loved and Missed 1999-2015

It is with the heaviest heart that I must tell you that my most beloved Fannie died yesterday at about noon. She was able to spend one last night at home, but when I woke up yesterday morning (not that I actually slept much) Fannie was clearly on the rapid decline. It was clear to me that my desire to hold on to her was outweighed by the need to prevent her from suffering– which would have been cruel and selfish. This is never an easy decision, even when you know that it's the only choice, but the finality of this decision coupled with the knowledge that you will no longer be able to see, touch and hold your beloved kitty, or hear her purr, is soul-crushing. My husband and I showered her with love, told her that it was okay for her to go (and not to feel the burden to hang on for us), and that she would be forever loved and cherished. The actual event was fast and humane, performed by our vet for well over a decade, and Fannie purred and kneaded up until the end– despite the fact that she was so frail. Once I was finally able to go home, I sat in the passenger seat for the two block drive back to our house, clinging to the empty carrier, and the little lock of her fur for dear life while I sobbed.
Once home, I felt an odd mixture of relief and soul-crushing despair: the former because Fannie was no longer suffering, and the latter because my unmitigated grief was just beginning to catch me in its tight grasp. I walked into the backyard and visited all of her favorite spots, seeking any evidence that somehow this was just a nightmare and that she would be waiting for me.  She didn't emerge, as she always did, so I sat on the lawn under the shade of the palm tree in utter silence for what felt like an eternity. In this stillness, I recounted our sixteen years together, and my great fortune to have had such an exceptional kitty with whom to share my life. I thought of the things that I wanted to say to her beyond I love you and thank you for sharing your life with me, and I wanted to send it out into the universe in the hopes that she might somehow hear.
Fannie's personal oasis

My beloved Fannie (Fancy-Schmancy and every other permutation of your name that I uttered over our years together):

As long as I draw breath, I will never forget the moment that our eyes first met. You were sitting in a cage with your brother at the cat shelter, and the moment that I saw you I fell in love. This was something true and beyond explanation, but I just knew that we belonged together. I tried to adopt your brother since I didn't want to separate the two of you, but he had already been spoken for– so I had the attendant, who happened to be a former student of mine, indulge me by pulling lots of other kittens from their cages to see who you might get along with so that would have a playmate. You seemed to like Luca, so I signed the adoption papers and brought you home, and so our journey began.
When you were just a baby you showed a natural curiosity in all things, and you would stand on your tiptoes to watch in amazement as the front-loading washing machine would spin. You were so tiny that you fit into a very small empty flower pot, and would look out mischievously as though we were playing hide-and seek.

You loved playing outside, but loved snuggling up in bed or on the couch, and you were always so loving and affectionate. You freely expressed your love by giving me the sweetest single meow that trailed off into the deepest purr that was so big and bold that it simply couldn't be contained by your little frame.

You knew full and well that I didn't want you wandering outside of our yard, and yet you would sneak off and indulge in the forbidden, but would always return and you made every effort not to get caught. There was that one time, however, at our old house, that I was gardening in the front yard and I saw this stealth gray ninja elegantly glide by at what seemed to be the speed of light. You were running down the sidewalk from who knows where, and you had that "oh crap, I got caught" expression on your face. I called your name and you promptly came, and looked at me with those gorgeous green eyes as if to assure me that you were just fine.
You were always such an observant girl, and this aspect of your character constantly amazed me. The first time that you alerted me to the fact that I was about to flood the kitchen, I thought that it might have been a fluke. As you know, I often multitask, and I would often set a glass or carafe under the water purifier spigot at the sink and would do other things while waiting for it to fill. As soon as it began to overflow and spill onto the counter, you alerted me with a meow and looked directly at the overflowing water. However, you would prove to do this more times that I can count, and it became abundantly clear that you were my water monitor.

You were such a delightfully social girl, and while you loved to nap in the bushes, you also loved to hang out when your dad would play the monotonous game of fetch with Delilah. You would sit on the arm of his chair and purr so loud that I could hear you from inside of the house, and this constantly delighted me and warmed my heart.
You had carte blanche with me, and when you demanded to go play outside at night, we let you. You were always able to get me to do whatever you wanted, and I complied with joyful abandon. You made sure that I refilled your water glasses and bowls constantly (though we both know that you preferred drinking from a glass than a bowl). I may have thought that your water was fresh, but you would just stand next to the sub par water, look at me then look at it and blink. As soon as I would give you fresh water you would blink again, give me the sweetest meow of thanks and then would drink it.  When you would emerge from a nap, and were hungry you would let me know that it was time for a little lunch, and when I would give it to you would would always express your appreciation. We slept with the bedroom French Door open (screen door shut) so that you could let us know that you were ready to come in. We never put in a cat door because that was your domain, and the other kitties weren't allowed outside, and as the eldest, who grew up going outside, you were granted privileges not enjoyed by the other felines. Last night, I kept waiting for you to come to the door, but you didn't. I am currently staring at your full water glass and bowl, and I feel empty knowing that you won't sip from them again.
There are so many sweet memories that are beginning to emerge, and I am sure that more will continue to unfurl as I try to make sense of what has happened.

You and I shared a life filled with the deepest kind of love, and there is no question that our bond was very profound. You were, and will always remain, my baby, and I know that you know that my love for you is far deeper than words could ever begin to convey. Thank you for choosing me to be your mom and thank you for 16 beautiful years. I am so sorry that I wasn't able to get you more time here, I would have done anything for you to have had more years in good health. My tears are a mixture of joy for having been loved by you, and grief that you are gone. I will never stop loving you, I will never forget you, and I will miss you as long as I live. You were deeply loved, baby girl xoxoxoxox =^..^=

P.S. You might be shocked to know that your weird brother Zeus follows me around when I am crying, and awakens from the deepest sleep when he hears me beginning to cry. He sweetly crawls in my lap to comfort me because he seems to understand. Who knew he was that sensitive, right?!

50 comments:

  1. RIP, Fannie. You have been such a special kitty for Helen. You will be dearly missed.

    Big hugs for you, Helen!

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    1. Thank you so much, Sunny! While I hurt more than words can convey, I am profoundly grateful to have loved, and been loved by, such a wonderful kitty! Thanks for the big hugs, I really need them right now! <3

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  2. My kitty is the same age - my heart goes out to you.

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    1. Thank you Beth, give your kitty an extra big hug for me, and cherish your time together! <3

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  3. There is a kitty-shaped hole in my heart for you, dear Helen, but I sit here safe in the knowledge that no matter what part is the universe you share these words with, your loyal Fannie has heard them. She may have left this plane but she'll never be far from your side.
    Much love <3

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    1. Wow, thank you SO much for saying this. This is such a comfort to hearing right now. I am so grief-stricken right now, and the shock of this loss is just consuming me. I keep wondering if there was more that I could have done, and of course rationally I know there wasn't. However, the idea that she is near and knows how I feel is like a tincture for my soul! Thank you very much! <3

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  4. Helen, I'm so sorry for your loss. :( I still often think of my kitties who have passed. As individuals, they are irreplaceable. But I'm happy to have had them in my life. I'm glad that Fannie (such a great name!) is no longer suffering. And she was a very beautiful and unusual cat with gorgeous fur and markings! what does Zeus look like?

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    1. Hi Allison, Thank you so much. I know what you mean, I do the same. You are so right that they are irreplaceable as individuals, and I, too, ann happy to have had them in my lives as well. I'm glad that you love Fannie's name, it just seemed to suit her so well, and she really was a beauty. She was Siamese and Persian sprinkled with some Calico. Interestingly her littermate/brother, who I tried to adopt, looked like a pedigree Siamese. So there must have been two different fathers, or Fannie was a throwback to other lines in her blood.

      Thank you for your love and support!

      Here is Zeus:

      http://www.lolassecretbeautyblog.com/2015/10/zeus-furniture-recycler.html

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  5. Godspeed Fannie and hugs to you, Helen!

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  6. Hey Sis-been away from late nite web trawling for awhile but thought of u 2day however feel really sad to hear such heartbreaking news...your heart & soul felt words for your beloved brought a tear 2my eye. Wishing you love & peace dear Sis. Wishing Fannie many more adventures in her new life. Wishing the universe unites you again one day :) x

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    1. Hi Sis! I have been thinking about you, and meaning to send you an email! Good for you for being away from late night web trawling! Thank you so much for your kind words, and I love the image of my beloved Fannie having many more adventures in her new life, and the idea of being reunited one day is a comforting thought!

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  7. I'm so sorry to hear about Fannie. She was such a gorgeous kitty. Losing a furbaby is definitely hard. I lost my beloved parakeet a couple years ago, and he still lives in my heart, and watching videos of him is difficult, but I have to move on.

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    1. Thank you, Shipra! Fannie was a gorgeous kitty, inside and out! It definitely is a profound loss, and I an only imagine the sadness that losing your beloved parakeet caused you! <3

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  8. This post made me cry! I am so sorry for your loss! My dog turns 10 in December, and I'm always fearful that I'll have to make a decision this heavy in a few short years. Animals truly are family members!

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    1. Hi Julie, Thank you. I'm sorry to have made you cry! I know what you mean, as our canine and feline family members advance in age, there is always a touch of fear. Hopefully you won't have to face this for a very long time! I agree, animals truly are family members!

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  9. Oh, Helen, I'm so sorry for your pain but so happy for the years of joy you had with the irreplaceable Fanny. When we connect with a soul the way you did with Fanny, it's a comfort to know that we'll be reunited when the time comes. A special kitty and a special lady: a match made in heaven.

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    1. Thank you for your beautiful words of comfort, Eileen. I am really trying to focus on the years of joy that I shared with my beloved Fannie, but just when I lean into those happy feelings a tidal wave of grief washes over me and is my undoing. Thank you again, this makes me feel better, at least until the next tidal wave. <3

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  10. Oh twinsy. I'm shedding tears as I read this veryyyy sad post. I feel you! We had to put down 2 of our dogs several years ago due to severe health issues. They passed away, one year apart. One was 20, the other 21 y/o. It was the saddest moment ever. We are privileged to have received our pets' utmost love and loyalty. Fannie is now your kitty angel and she's thankful to you as well! Huge hugs to you!!!!

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    1. Hi twinsy, I understand the grief that you have felt losing two of your dogs only one year apart. 5 years ago we lost two kitties to cancer two weeks apart. I honestly felt like I would never recover because there was no time to recover even a little bit from the first blow before the second one hit. I worry that we may be facing this type of horrifying loss again. Milo is going in for an endoscopy and biopsy this morning, and it is possible that he may be joining Fannie. Let's hope that isn't the case!

      You are so right that we are so privileged to receive the love and loyalty from our fur babies, and the thought that Fannie is my kitty angel is comforting.I know that she knows that she was very loved. Thank you for all the love and support– it means a great deal to me, Kath!

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  11. I'm so very sorry. May your good memories of her bring you comfort. I'm thinking about you all.

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    1. Thank you so much, Iris! I appreciate your kind thoughts and words of comfort! <3

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  12. Having had cats my whole life, and going through the loss of two who meant everything to me, you'd think I'd know exactly what to say in this situation; but I don't. It's an indescribable hurt but know you gave Fannie the best life possible and all the love she could have ever needed.Hugs.

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    1. Hi Bailey, I know what you mean completely. No matter how many times one goes through it, it seems like the first time. However, you know exactly what to say! It is an indescribable hurt, and I certainly tried to give her he best life possible, and one that was filled with love! Thank you so much for your kindness! <3

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  13. What a wonderful tribute to such a sweet loving kitty. I struggle with facing such a heartbreaking loss, which we wouldn't have absent such remarkable feline companions. I guess I mean to say the two go hand in hand, and the soul crushing grief is the result of a wonderful relationship, though it doesn't make easier or better or okay. I'm glad to hear you had such a wonderful kitty companion who touched your soul and lived a life full of love. *hugs*

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    1. Hi Kirsten,

      Thank you so much for saying that. Beautifully stated, and so true. Thank you for such a loving and sensitive comment– you really touched my heart! <3

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  14. I'm so, so sorry to hear this, and teared up reading through your wonderful memories of Fannie. Thank you for sharing them with us. She brought a lot of beauty and love into your life. RIP, Fannie. Helen, here's a huge virtual hug for you, and hope Zeus continues to comfort and love you xoxo.

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    1. Hi Renu, Thank you so much for your beautiful words of comfort, and for your virtual hug! Zeus seems to be coming through– the moment he hears me cry, he comes running, and he's been doing lots of running.

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  15. I'm so sorry, I send you a big hug an lots of love.
    I know this trance, I've passed twice, and I know I'll pass again. Is hard, but is the best you could have done for her. She's been loved, and she knows it, and you too.
    Cry, smile, and do whatever you need. Big hugs from Spain.

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    1. Hi Miss Potingues, Thank you so much for your love and support, and for that beautiful trance. Thank you, too, for the beautiful reminder of the love that Fannie and I shared over the past 16 years! <3

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  16. I'm so sorry for your loss. Our furbabies are so special, and it's so hard when they have to move on.

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    1. Thank you so much, Ann! They really are so special, and losing them is just so devastating.

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  17. Condolences for your loss, Helen. This is so hard. Blessings on you and on this sweetheart.

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    1. Thank you so much, Alison– I really appreciate your mindless in this difficult time!

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  18. I am so sorry for your loss Helen. Two years ago we put our Pitbull to sleep because he was not well and the doctors couldn't do anything for him... he was 14 years old and had such a great life - or I'd like to think he did. He was my husband and I's first child. Losing an animal never gets easy, I have lost many many over the years, but I'm always thankful that I have had them in my life. Animals teach compassion and it is something I think our World needs more than ever. Rest in Paradise Fannie. Sending huge hugs from Hawaii from our house to yours during this time. <3 xo

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    1. Hi Honey, Thank you so much– I really appreciate it! I'm so sorry to hear that you lost your Pitbull two years ago! Pits are the best and most loyal and loving dogs ever! I have a pit, and absolutely love her so much! You are so right about being thankful for having had our beloved furry family members in our lives, and they really do teach us about compassion and love! Thank you for your loving and kind words of comfort– I am grateful to you for this! <3 xoxox

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  19. helen, i am so sorry to hear about losing your baby. there really aren't words to describe the loss of a pet. i firmly believe that you choose each other for a reason, and she knew that you would always take care of her and have her best interest at heart. that kind of love will stay with you forever.

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    1. Thank you so much, Lizzie– I really appreciate it! There really aren't words to describe how I am feeling, and I absolutely agree with you that Fannie and I chose each other for a reason. I certainly hope she knew that I always had her best interest at heart, and that there wasn't anything that I wouldn't do for her. I will definitely love her forever. <3

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  20. This is one of the hardest things you'll go through. We love our pets in a unique way and they change our lives for the good. She knows she was well loved. I'm so sorry for your loss.

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    1. I agree, completely. The suffering that one experiences after losing a beloved animal family member is utterly horrific! They definitely change our lives, and give us the most pure unconditional love. I certainly hope she knows how loved and missed she is! Thank you so much for your kind words, Marcia! <3

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  21. I'm writing this through tears for you and Fannie. I love that you wrote this beautiful post outlining her sweet, curious, and smart personality. It feels like I know her so much better. Although, I'm sorry for your sadness. Big, big hugs.

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    1. Thank you so much, Natalie! You are such a kind and sensitive soul to have cried for us! I am profoundly grateful that you were moved by my tribute to this exceptional kitty, and an gratified that you feel as though you know her– her loss to this world is very significant, and your sense of a connection to her helps to mark the importance of her life! Thank you for the big hugs, I definitely need them! xoxox

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  22. I got behind on my blog reading and just saw this. So sorry for your loss, she was beautiful.

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    1. Hi Melissa, Thank you so much for your very kind words– they mean more to me that words can convey. It has been such a devastating loss for my family, and I still just can't believe that she's really gone. She was one of the most special beings, of any species, that I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. I will always miss her. :-(

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