Last fall I met a little friend. We adopted a small gray kitten with a raccoon-striped tail. We named her Fiona. She had a small head with big bright eyes; I often compared her to an owl. I always wanted to stare into those eyes and wonder what was going on behind them.
Fiona could be compared to a peaceful island in the middle of our otherwise struggling lives. As soon as we saw her little face, the doubt, anger, and depth of our daily lives took a backseat to her need for our personal attention.
In late January, we began to notice small changes in her; we knew she was struggling. Without going into detail, I'll say that she seemed to age years with every day that passed. Every doctor and every medication couldn't help her life from slowly slipping away.
Last weekend we held her, kissed her and looked into those big bright eyes for the last time. By just looking at her you could tell that she was ready to go. Ready to go far too soon.
Sara and I hugged each other while gently holding our hands on Fiona's small head as the doctor allowed her to take her final breath. She didn't budge except for a twitch where the IV was inserted. I held Sara tighter while the doctor listened to her heart and reassured us that, "She's gone now."
In all of my life, I've never witnessed a loved one's passing. The concept of Fiona being with us one moment and gone the next keeps haunting me. She had a neurological virus, which still cuts me very deep. I lived through a brain virus and I'm still getting a handle on the following years of seizures and set-backs. No one gave up on me during this rigorous journey but I feel so much guilt for theoretically giving up when her brain was going through a similar struggle.
The last two times I fell in love was with my wife, Sara, and this little kitten who didn't get a chance to see her first birthday.