Goodbye, Jan

I never know how appropriate it is to write about these sorts of things, but as this space is my own to be able to record my thoughts and feelings, I wanted to be able to acknowledge someone very special to us.

The death of a loved one is never easy for anybody, but when it’s sudden and completely unexpected it comes as a devastating blow to everyone who knew them.

We attended the funeral of our friend this morning – a wonderful woman who had joined us at our wedding celebrations just a week before she passed away. The Bloke and I were her colleagues at my former school – she had worked as an English teacher before retiring a few years ago – and the number of friends, colleagues, staff and former students that attended (to the point where it was standing room only) was a sheer testament to how much she was loved. The amount of messages I’ve seen across social media from ex-students (many of whom had particularly difficult circumstances) demonstrates the impact that she left on them all these years later. Continue reading

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A Lost Little Cat and a Ruined Birthday Surprise

imageI’m tired today.

I feel a little raw and bruised, mainly because of the trauma of yesterday. The atmosphere of the house is different, almost empty. Daisy’s brother, Poppy (yes, I know it’s a girl’s name – long story) settled down well last night until 4.00am, at which point I think he realised that she wasn’t there, and took it upon himself to investigate every room downstairs, crying as he went. It was quite heartbreaking to listen to – this was only the second night in eleven years that he had spent without her and he was clearly feeling lost.

He’s spent most of today being extremely quiet, fast asleep on my lap. It’s odd – normally he has a mad half-an-hour of running around, playing and making lots of noise after he’s been fed, but today he’s just… sad. Continue reading

Goodbye Daisy

imageI lost another little friend today… The only bad thing about having a pet is when they leave you, and it never gets any easier.

I’ve had Daisy and her brother since they were 5 weeks old. Normally, that would have been far too young and I hadn’t intended on getting two more cats at the time, but the state that they were both in meant that if I didn’t take them in they would have almost certainly died. She was so small that she could fit in the palm of my hand and I used to laugh at her enormous ears, particularly as she looked like the love child of Yoda and Gizmo the Mogwai. Continue reading

If We Were Having Coffee #11

imageCoffee conversational posts are normally saved for the weekend, but the last few days have been a roller coaster. For those who read this little blog regularly, would you expect anything else?

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I celebrated my birthday and The Bloke and I’s anniversary. I knew that he had bought tickets to the Good Food Show for Sunday, which has become an annual event for us, so I organised a birthday drinky-poos with some friends on Friday night at Bohemian. There were two reasons for this – I know that Saturday nights after payday are always too busy for me to cope with, and I wanted to ensure that I had at least 24 hours to recover from the inevitable hangover.

It turned out to be a wise decision. It was two-for-one cocktails, and after several hours, six or seven raspberry mojitos and a number of passion fruit yummy concoctions that were called Porn Stars, I couldn’t feel my face and had seemingly lost the ability to do anything other than talk nonsense and giggle at nothing. Continue reading

One Year On and I Still Miss Her

imageIs been a year since I lost my little friend.

For some, owning a pet is the same as buying an object, or a piece of furniture. For me, our pets become part of the family – needing the same love and care that we would give to any human being. While many may roll their eyes at the sentiment, she was my companion for thirteen years. I had adopted her from an RSPCA shelter when she was six, and by all accounts hadn’t had the easiest start in life, but I was surprised by how quickly she settled into a comfortable life with me. When so many things changed, she remained my constant through the good and bad. She was a little character, she made me laugh and crappy days at work would seem far less crappy after I had been greeted by her at the door as I arrived home. I bought her the best food I could afford, toys to play with, I had many sleepless nights when she was sick. She would regularly assist me when marking my students coursework by choosing the paper I was working on to sit on. I would wake up at 5.00am to find a fluffy paw tapping my face, indicating that she wanted breakfast, which she would then promptly ignore after her bowl had been filled. I took as many pictures of her as my friends did of their newborn babies. We were a little team, with my friends and family often enquiring after her before they asked anything about me.

A year ago she left me – at the grand old age of nineteen – and saying goodbye was one of the most painful things I have ever had to do. I know that she was ill and she had a good life with me, but there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about her and miss her very much. I miss the 5.00am wake up calls. I miss marking coursework without having to remove her from my papers first. I miss the little squeak I would get from her when she realised I was home. Of course, I still have the other two little monsters,  but there is, and always will be, an empty space that she left behind.

I’m grateful for the years I had with her. I just wish they hadn’t gone so quickly.

Miss you, my little friend…

 

For M

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What do you say to your oldest friend when she loses her mother?

I’m sorry.

I’m here.

Thinking of you.

Is there anything I can do for you?

I’ve searched the Internet for poems and quotes that may inspire me, but it all seems so patronising and full of cliche. I don’t want to talk about heaven, or the fact that she isn’t in pain anymore. I can’t pretend to understand how she is feeling right now.

J was a wonderful woman, and a wonderful mother. She was warm, kind and generous. She always made me, and all of M’s friends feel welcome, and we all loved her almost as a second mom. I could talk to her about anything, and did whenever I saw her. I remember her fabulous sense of humour, and how much she made me laugh. It was a privilege to know her, and I know that she’ll be hugely missed.

Love you lots x

 

A Quiet Goodbye From a Feisty Little Dog

We never really worked out what breed Jess was. She resembled a small Alsatian, but seemed to have characteristics of collie and whippet in her too. She found a place with my mother not long after my father left in 2002. We think that she was about three years old, and her previous owners no longer wanted her because they were relocating to Spain. My mother, upon seeing her sad face when they left, knew that she had taken the made the right decision in offering her a forever home, and within weeks Jess had transformed from a rather nervous little thing into a ball of boundless energy, with a cheeky personality and a seemingly big smile. She adored my mother and her other dog, a bumbling retriever named Ollie, and the two complemented each other perfectly.

Jess was a constant in my mother’s life from that moment. She followed her around, making sure that she knew where she was, and was fiercely defensive of anyone who came near her, or indeed the house. She only seemed to truly relax when she knew that Mum was asleep, inevitably taking the opportunity to curl up next to her. She was a happy, contented softie, always enjoying a cuddle. For the last twelve years she’s been a friend, a protector and a member of our small, rather dysfunctional family. She helped Mum though a nasty divorce, several house moves and a number of jobs, and I always felt a little comforted by the fact that she was there to keep Mum safe when my sisters and I moved into our own houses.

As she aged, her little personality grew into that of a stubborn old woman. Armed with bowels that could be used for chemical warfare, she knew what she wanted, and made sure everyone else knew it too. It was a regular occurrence to be woken up in the early hours of the morning with a slobbery chew toy being placed on my pillow, and despite my protestations she would quite happily chase it as often as I was willing to throw it. She would sell her soul for a crisp, barked at other dogs on the tv, took great delight in shredding any post that came through the door and made a point of threatening the postman in the process. She had her own box of toys, and a preferred place on the couch. At Christmas, her presents would be placed lovingly under the tree with all the other gifts.

When Ollie passed away, she gradually accepted another two dogs into the family, but always managed to maintain her position as top dog. She was the boss. She knew it. They knew it. We all knew it.

Mum took her to the vets today after seeing a quite a sudden deterioration in her health. After receiving X-rays, she was brought back home this evening. Jess jumped on the couch with the other dogs, curled up, and quietly passed away. She knew. She waited to come back home, to be with her family, and said her goodbyes before she left.

I’ll miss her very much. I’ll miss the cuddles and the constant affection, I’ll even miss the slobbery toys. Most of all, I’ll miss the unconditional love that she brought to my mother’s home and to our lives.

Goodbye, my feisty little friend. I’m sure that wherever you are, and whatever you’re doing, you’re showing them who’s boss.

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She Was There – Goodbye My Little Friend

Today, I lost my little friend.

I often see the phrase ‘I have no words‘ written after the death of someone important. I have plenty of words. Hundreds.

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My Little Friend

From that very first day when she pushed against my hand at the RSPCA centre she has been a huge support in my life, the only constant that has been with me for thirteen years. She’s seen me through my graduation, she sat on my lap when I typed up applications for job interviews and she celebrated with me when I got them, she was there when I began new relationships, she was there when they ended, she was there during the highest and lowest points of my life. She has moved house with me six times, taking every move in her little stride. We’ve seen in countless New Years, birthdays and Christmas’s together. She would chase me around the house with her stuffed toys, her eyes growing wider just before she was about to pounce. She was there when my family broke apart.

She was there.

When others have judged me, insulted me, put me down and dismissed me, she has been the one thing that has never failed to greet me after a bad day and show me unconditional love. Every night, as I got into bed, she would lay on me and give me a kiss goodnight before retiring to her own little bed in the corner of my room. If I cried, she would jump up and push her head against mine. She was always an independent soul and made it perfectly clear when she wanted to be left alone (I have the scars to prove it) and right to the very end her feisty nature and her hatred of the other cats never waned. She was funny, she had a quirky little personality and could never quite establish a normal miaow, instead creating something that resembled more of a squeak. Her presence allowed me the confidence to feel safe on my own in the house at night. She was my little safety net in times of darkness, and made the happy times seem so much brighter.

Some may role their eyes and proclaim that she was ‘just a cat.’ To me, she wasn’t just a cat, she was my company, my confidante, my family and at times she was my only friend.

She was there. She was mine.

I was with her in her last moments. At the age of nineteen I know that she had a good life, but that doesn’t make it any easier. I did everything I could for her and I know that she was happy and loved, but I wish that I could turn back the clock and live it all over again with her. I want to bring her home and protect her. I want to feed her, play with her, cuddle up with her, talk to her.

What I don’t know is how I am possibly going to do the rest without her.

Goodbye, my little friend. I’ll miss you forever.

You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog

 

Thank you so much for all the comments of support that I have received since publishing this post… Your messages have made me smile, made me cry and are helping me to come to terms with things.