if love were enough;
if love could have saved you, you would have lived forever
I share a lot about the loss I’ve endured in my life, and specifically, my best friend Chelsea, whom I lost to metastatic breast cancer. Exactly one year ago next month, in fact. It’s crazy that it’s been almost an entire year without my person. I feel like it’s been forever and no time at all at the same time. She was more my sister than my friend. It was an absolutely devastating loss, but that’s not the loss that I want to talk about today.
I don’t have children. But I am a cat mama. I have been for fifteen years. It is part of who I am. I am a cat mama to Dusty, 15 and Greyson, 13. I have had them both since they were tiny kittens. I was there when Dusty was born, and I have loved him since the moment he has been alive. Greyson, on the other hand, was a surprise. I didn’t plan on getting another cat. I was in college at the time, and although I lived off campus I didn’t think I needed the responsibility of more than one cat. But life, per usual, had other plans.
I came across Greyson one day as I was walking to my car. At first I didn’t know what I was looking at was a live kitten. All that I saw was a swarm of birds going at what I thought was a dead animal. Until I realized that it was kitten. I ran over and scared all of the birds away and scooped him up. I didn’t know it at that moment, but I had just become his mama. We took this little kitten to the vet and got him healthy, and started looking for a home for him. But while I was sending people photos of him and trying to find someone that would care for him and love him, I fell in love with this little guy.
So that was it. I named him Greyson, and he became mine. Dusty was about two at the time, and it took a little while for him to accept Greyson, but it wasn’t too long before they were “brothers” and they were constantly grooming each other and snuggling and spooning all of the time. They loved and adored each other, and I loved and adored them.
Over the last month or so, we noticed Greyson was acting a little strange and had lost some weight. At first we were thrilled because we thought it was because he was getting more exercise running up and down the basement stairs. He’s always been overweight so we were thrilled. But then the weight kept falling off, and he started hiding. That’s when we got really concerned.
We took Greyson to the vet on February 19th, and we got the devastating news that my sweet boy had terminal stomach cancer that had metastasized to his lung. These last few weeks, medications really helped him. We were so happy that he was doing so much better! He was eating and drinking and acting like himself. We thought that we had a few more weeks with him. On March 12th, he suddenly stopped eating, and the morning of the 13th was tough, and he let us know that it was time. That afternoon, thanks to a wonderful in-home hospice vet, Greyson peacefully passed away in my arms, in the comfort of our home, surrounded by so much love. We will always miss his sweet and loving personality, his “diesel truck” purrs and how much he adored us and his big brother Dusty.
While some people think “it’s just a cat”, that could not be further from my truth. Both of my cats, Dusty (15) and Greyson (13) have been the only two constants in my life no matter what else was going on. They went to college with me, they’ve been there through all of the good and the bad, the moves, the break-ups, the losses, and my divorce. At my lowest lows, they still loved me deeply and always cheered me up with their cuteness and their purrs. They got me through everything, and they always knew when I was down and needed cheering up. When Chelsea died last year, it was the worst thing that ever happened to me, and my two sweet boys were by my side through all of the grief.
Greyson always loved and adored Chelsea. When she was pregnant, he would sit on her lap and wrap each arm around each side of her belly. It brings me comfort to picture him snuggled up on her lap purring up a storm wherever the two of them are, but I know it’s somewhere where the two of them are basking in the sunlight.
This was the first time in my life I ever lost one of my own pets. I had pets growing up of course, but they were family pets that I wasn’t extremely attached to and I was not involved when it came time to put them to sleep. I was not prepared for how extremely difficult this would be. No one tells you just how hard it is to say goodbye to a furry family member. Sadly, many people do not understand the grief that comes from this kind of loss, and I think that is a problem. These little creatures become family members, just as much as any other family member. We should never be made to feel that these losses aren’t valid. They are. I have cried as much as when I lost my human best friend. I have been just as sad.
This loss just compounded the grief I still continuously feel for Chelsea. I feel even more lost now. My heart breaks for my 15 year old cat, who has just lost his “brother” of 13 years. I wish I could go cry on my best friends shoulder so badly. I miss her so deeply, and now I miss my Greyson too.
A few days ago we got Greysons cremains back. That was also much, much harder than I expected. But I am happy to have him back home with us where he belongs. Mama loves you Gracies, you were the best, most sweetest boy for over 13 years. We won’t ever forget you.