They say that it’s good to express your grief, so that’s what I’m doing today. Clyde, our beautiful cat, my gorgeous lion, my lovely fox, went out of our lives on Friday evening. He had been frail for a while, but he was still valiant, still unquestioningly loving, still with the most gorgeous coat, the softest paws and the brightest eyes.
I am glad that he is not suffering. I know (or I’m trying to remember) that he is in a good place, where there is just love and joy. But my selfish heart is crying for him, missing his soft touch, his gentle paw patting my arm when he wants a fuss, his deep growly purrs, his head-butts. The feel of him as I picked him up and cuddled him, and he purred with pleasure, and the sight of him resting on my lap, gazing at me face to face, telling me again and again that he loves me, before settling down to sleep.
I knew it was going to happen, and I knew it would be hard. Clyde, my love, my lion. Loving to the last. I told you I would see you again. Right now, I want you back, and I don’t think I can cry enough tears.
He went when the birds were singing, and the daffodils were coming out. The sky is cloudless and calm, the sea is like silk. All this beauty hurts so much. I want to walk across the road and turn to see him coming towards me, his beautiful tail held high, with his little ‘prrrrr’ of greeting. I want to go up the hill behind the house and look back to see him following me, nosy as ever about what I’m doing. I want to come downstairs and see him lying on his blanket, sprawled blissfully, face turned towards me expecting a fuss. Clyde, my lovely lion. A thousand and one things, and places, where your sudden absence takes my breath away with the pain.
I hope I can learn something from you. You taught me that love is everything. There is nothing else. You taught me that love wins love. Five years ago, when you came to us, I promised you a safe and loving home, a warm place to sleep. I hugged you on my knee, and you trusted me implicitly. You knew everything, every word. You sensed our love, and you loved in return, without fear, without condition. I let you out on the second day, just trusting, and you circled the garden and the wood with absolute eagerness, disappearing for a few seconds and then reappearing somewhere else, and always coming back, your tail up and your eyes bright with excitement.
In summer you stretched and slept on the bench outside, lapping up the warm sun and enjoying all the admiring attention from passers by. On windy days – and there were plenty of those – you’d follow me across the road to the rocks, your fur getting blown about, trusting that I’d look out for you above the noise of the wind. When you insisted on drinking from roadside puddles I stood there getting wet in the rain until you’d finished. Every evening you’d sleep next to me as we sat on the sofa by the fire, getting up occasionally to tap my arm as a polite reminder for more fuss. All of this I want to do again, today, tomorrow, and the next day, and the next. The happy times and the anxious times. I just want you back. I want to hug you and not let you go.
Someday soon I will come back to writing about things that uplift me. And when I do, I know that I will feel you here, and maybe I will focus on that instead of the emptiness. Thank you beyond words for the love, which you brought into our lives and which I know is still here. Clyde, we love you. x