Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow

Sitting here with my morning coffee, I can hardly see the computer screen through my tears.  I have gone from soft, silent crying to full force, hurting-my-gut weeping.  My beloved “Tommy” is by my side and he is dying; I know you understand when I say it is killing a part of me too.


My head turns to the right to look outside my breakfast room windows and see the beautiful woods and birds at the feeders.  The hummingbirds are active too, defending their feeding territories, preparing for their long journey before winter arrives.  My head turns to the left and I see my beautiful cat of 12 years, my sweet buddy, who has heart failure and is declining rapidly.  It happened so fast.  Right now, he is a lump in the softest pile of blankets I could find.

I am very good at care-giving, making people and pets comfortable, but I cannot fix this.  I cannot fix his heart or bring his vitality back, neither his playfulness or fun spirit.  Right now it feels like he has a foot in both worlds and we are forced to say goodbye, either through God’s will or ours, very soon.  I’m afraid I’m not very good at saying goodbyes.  Lately, it seems I am saying goodbye far more than I’m saying hello.

One might wonder how a little cat could bring a strong woman to her knees emotionally.  At the time Tommy came into our lives, I was a single mom and working very hard.  One day I was outside gardening and I heard the tiniest cry coming from the woods.  It wasn’t a bird, so I had to go investigate.  What if some little creature was in trouble?

Finally, I saw him among the leaves and twigs; a tiny little fur ball no bigger than my palm and not old enough to be weaned.  I watched for a long time to see if mom would appear, but something must have happened to the mother or she abandoned her kittens.  Tommy had crawled through a large patch of woods where I found him, hungry and scared.  Certain death would have been his fate with birds of prey and other critters around here.  The decision had already been made.  With one swoop of my arm, I scooped him up and put him on my chest; when he started purring, he owned my heart.

From that moment to this, he has proven himself to be the coolest cat in the world.  He comes when you call him, plays with you, nuzzles you, and will do anything for a scratch under the chin.  Very loving, very sweet-natured.  Now, he is at the end of his life, and I discovered last night that his diagnosis is exactly what my mom died from.  I was helpless then and I am helpless now.  The drugs help with breathing, but there is no quality of life.  I know what must be done but it is ripping me apart.  The vet said he is not yet in any discomfort and I don’t want that to happen.

Two days ago, Tommy came into the kitchen where I was checking emails on my laptop.  In a manner very uncharacteristic of him, he stood up on his hind legs, reached his paw as high as that paw could go, and tapped me on the chest.  I looked down into those bright green eyes; it was as if he was trying to tell me something.  Something I didn’t want to hear.

Just this minute, I let out a whimper as I wrote that last line and blew my nose.  Tommy got up from his pile of blankets and is sitting right next to me.  He just reached up and tapped me again with the same paw, wanting to be picked up.  He’s trying to say he loves me; he has succeeded.  I whispered “I love you too, buddy” in his ear.  He wanted me to swoop him up in my arms once again and put him on my chest, just like I did in the woods so many years ago when he was lost.

You just never know how or when paths may cross to change your life forever.

I must end this blog now, because this purring embrace with him is too precious.

©2014 The Estate Lady®

Julie Hall, The Estate Lady®, is the foremost national expert on personal property in estates, including liquidating, advising, and appraising.  She is also the Director of American Society of Estate Liquidators®, the national educational and resource organization for estate liquidation.

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8 thoughts on “Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow

  1. My heart weeps for you and Tommy. I have an aging kitty that will soon be standing before the rainbow bridge as well. I completely related to your pain, and love.

    I read your posts with pleasure. I don’t answer and meant to several months back when you were experiencing a miserable frustration period. You provide ideal information to those of us in the field and good advice constantly. Thank you for your effort and willingness to share. You are a splendid being of love and light, sprinkled with practicality that is invaluable.

    Thank you for who you are and all that you share. While I can’t take away your pain, I send appreciation for what you are feeling and hope my message of love surrounds you and Tommy gently.

    Beth Myers

    1. Thank you for your kind words, Beth. They mean so much to me, and do bring comfort during these painful momemts in life. Warm wishes, Julie

  2. Dear Julie,

    I know what you’re going through. Please take comfort in knowing you have given Tommy a safe, loving, happy home, the best possible life. He will be with you forever, in your heart. You are a strong and giving woman, you have enriched so many lives, you will continue to do so, and sharing this experience is one of the many ways you inspire others. Tommy’s legacy will be other pets saved and loved because you shared this. Thanks you for all you do.

    Love always,

  3. Oh dear Julie….what a heart-wrenching time this is. The way we love our fur-children is like no other. They are more than pets, they are family members, gifts from Heaven in very special ways. My heart aches for you, as I too have faced this awful time in the past and will again, more than once. It is awful, it is painful, and it tears us apart…but it is also a measure of respect and dignity that we can offer our beloved kitties, or dogs, to show that full measure of our love for them.

  4. sending you much love and blessings on this journey. we’ve all been down this path and it never does get any easier. sending you both many angels. lighting a candle to st. francis. soar with the angels dear cat, time for your wings!

  5. We who have also lost pets know and share your loss. Somehow it is easier to express our pain and loss about a pet than about people sometimes. May you keep fond memories and some day when you are ready, find another pet to share your life. It is not something most of us are ready to do right away. A new cat doesn’t replace an old one — it just helps fill that empty space in your heart.

  6. We are so sorry to hear your story. As cat lovers for many years we have had our share of losses. It does not get any easier but having multiple cats as we do helps. There is always another waiting for something!

  7. I lost “my girl” who I had delivered in 1998 with my own two hands after her silly mother had accidentally smothered the second kitten in the litter. She took her first breath in my hand and almost 2 years ago she slid into kidney failure, passing soon after. She was my best friend for all those years and I miss her deeply still. My thoughts & prayers will be with you and your furry buddy.

    Ps- thank you for the estate articles that you write. I lost a parent recently and your blog has been lending some levity to my I insane universe.

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