This is a poem for my sweet kitty, Sage who I had to say goodbye to on November 10th 2023.
I’d had Sage, and her (non-bio) sister Layla, since they were kittens. We became a family in September 2011.
My life has changed so much since then, but Sage and Layla have been by my side through it all. They went from Kentucky to California and back. (Twice.) Once on a plane, once by car.
Sage and I have a very special bond. She’s my best friend, the best cuddler, and always wanted to be by my side. She was a chatty girl and always let me know she was there and she wanted attention.
She got sick in May 2022, but stayed with me until November of the following year when, out of nowhere, her condition drastically declined. The last day was tough, but I’m so grateful for the extra year and a half of cherished moments and the biggest snuggles. Up until then, she was full of life, energy and love.
I love my sweet Sage girl and I always will.
I hope this poem brings comfort to anyone who’s lost a pet best friend of their own.
If your cat is sick with IBD, check out IBD Kitties, a great resource with a helpful Facebook Group that kept me informed when I was deciding how to treat my Sagey girl.
“The hard part’s over now,” they said when it came time to say goodbye. The hard part? I thought with one last look at your gray fur on your sweet head. Oh, no. The hard part? That’s what’s starting now.
The hard part is the silence. The emptiness in my lap. The hard part is the space between what was “you” and what is “now.”
That is the hard part. Counting the days the way I used to count your breaths, wondering when it would happen. Wondering how.
It’s easy to make the choice between pain and goodbye. The hard part? That’s what comes after.
Twelve years went by fast, but no matter how many years we had, it would never be enough. So I won’t measure us by time.
Instead, I’ll measure our lives by the details. The softness of your fur, the strength of your purr, the warmth of your body stretched against mine.
I’ll measure our lives by our victories. The time that we stole. The places we called home. The days that we owned. Because you might have been sick, but you did not lose. You were strong, you were brave, you were triumphant.
But what happens now? What happens to the parts of you not made of atoms? How will I know the tiny pieces of your soul when I meet them again?
If time is an illusion then somewhere in the past you’re still whole. I don’t want to grow away from that whole. I don’t want space to stretch across time and separate this present from the ones that we share somewhere back there.
I don’t want to feel better, I want to feel sad. I want to grieve and know that it’s my love for you, changed in form, but strong as ever.
Will you stay with me in my mind? Will you come with me as the present moves through time?
Or do you want to go free? Leave me with love and our memories and find a place that’s empty? A place of your own that you can fill with little pieces of you until it’s whole, but unburdened, something new?
Whatever it is, I want that for you.
But maybe the smallest piece of you could stay with me. I’ll store it in the backyard, I’ll bury you with seeds. I’ll look out the window at the dirt and the green leaves and I’ll think of you every time, my sweet best friend. It’ll be a new beginning, one that you’re a part of, proof that you, and love, can have no end.