Ohh, now I know why I’ve been avoiding writing this post. I’m crying again. It’s been two weeks since she died, on the kids’ first day of school, and it’s so hard for me to sit and think about her because tears start steaming and my ears start to ache. I can’t do it anymore.

When I calm down I feel a gentle wave across my chest and arms. She’s been a part of my soul, another limb, my wispy shadow for 16 years.

I haven’t wanted to write this post because it took me a week to stop crying, and then I was physically exhausted. When a pet dies, it’s not simply the loss of an animal friend. It’s the loss of a family member, a part of you, of time, an era. She was a living relic in my house who was always there. She was with me when I lived alone in university, when I met Josh, when I moved back to Toronto and into my own humble apartment. She moved with me to my first house with Josh. He and I got engaged, married, had kids. She was there.

She was sweet, beautiful, quiet, playful, aloof. She only had eyes for me, and there was something very special for me about that. Her purr was soft; you had to put your ear to her to hear it. And I once caught her hanging from the window ledge in my university apartment — from her claws. That made me laugh just now….

When she first came to me, her name was “Maggy.” But her meow was so raspy it reminded me of Marge Simpson, so I named her “Marge.” And then I spelled it “Maaarge!” because “Marge” is such a bizarre name for a kitty, so why not.

In the last year of her life, she meowed a lot. I hear it now, echoing in the silence here. She was so hungry; I couldn’t feed her enough. Then she started having the seizures, and I started having to medicate her twice a day. So every night and every morning, I feel that urgency still to give Maaarge her meds. But she’s not here.

We got seven more months with her — since the seizures started — and I’m grateful, but a little more time…….

Then two weeks ago we found her paralyzed from the waist down on our dining room table. And she still wanted to eat. As long as they want to eat they want to live, they say. But by the time we got her to the vet, after I kissed my kids and wished them an awesome first day of school, she was fading away.

We don’t really know what happened. The vet suspects a clot, or maybe the brain tumour that (we suspect) caused the seizures.

This hasn’t been the greatest year for me. I think that’s partly why I haven’t been wanting to blog so much. I’m feeling sad, and private and closed. When I’m not working with my wonderful friends at Today’s Parent Magazine, I just want to get offline and be still, quiet and with my family. I haven’t wanted to go to yoga either because I hate crying there.

A lot of things are changing. Maaarge’s death was a blow.

The day she died, Betty White spent most of the day curled up in a ball on my bed. “See, Betty,” I found myself telling her, “I’ll never let you suffer.”

Thank you, Maaarge, for loving me, for teaching me how limitless my care can be, for teaching me patience and acceptance, for playing with me.

We hated that you lived on our dining room table. But we loved you so much that we let you….

Two days before she died, I dreamed of Simba. His image was very vivid, and he was big before me. I looked at him. We were face to face, and he said, “Hi.”

The other day I was putting the dishes away, and a plastic lid spontaneously fell down on me from one of the kitchen shelves. It felt like it was her. I could imagine her sitting on the shelf, batting the lid with her little paw. It’s something her spirit would do — tease me, play tricks on me. I’ll watch for that. I still can’t imagine her not here….

I love you, my Maaarge. See you in my dreams.

Love…

xo Haley-O

P.S. Many thanks to the amazing vets, technicians, assistants at the Laird-Eglinton Pet Hospital. Maaarged loved it at the vet because you all loved her too. I’ll always be grateful.