Two weeks ago today I lost my lovely friend and traveling companion--my thirteen year old Manx cat, Cookie. He had been hospitalized for slightly over a week after being diagnosed with lymphoma and was released to come home because he had stopped eating. He died peacefully and naturally in my arms after two days of being carried to the park to take in the sun and sitting with me in the courtyard while I worked.
I miss his gentle and loving ways so much. He was always immediately friendly and curious with other cats and even the largest of hyper dogs. Nothing seemed to shake Cookie's calm interest in getting to know his fellow four legged beings. He was always quietly cooperative with his doctors and never struggled or scratched even under duress. I have never seen another cat with quite such an angelic temperament.
I live with three other beautiful cats but I felt a special bond with this one who was given to me as a young kitten on the afternoon of one of the most traumatic days in my life. Earlier I had been abducted from the walking trail of a city park with a knife at my throat. It was a relatively short ordeal that ended with only minor physical harm to me after the police intervened and the man was apprehended. But something inside me changed after knowing that my life had been threatened deliberately and brutally by a fellow human being.
When I was released from the hospital to come home all I wanted was to stretch out on the sofa and do nothing. My tiny new kitten spent hours resting over my heart, his face against my chin, comforting me in a way that little else could.
He is buried here in France, on a friend's land in the countryside, an ocean away from where his life began.
Now all that sweetness is gone. I think it will be a while before I feel like myself again.