There is a heavy sadness today. Last night my wife's cat of 23 years passed away. Oscar has been part of the family almost ten years longer than I have, and he has known the girls since the day we brought them home from the hospital. When I first met him he was a healthy twenty-two pound cat who loved to jump in your lap and wanted nothing more than to be loved by someone and petted.
We have known for quite some time that this was probably Oscar's last year. Last night he yeowed, stumbled and went behind the couch. I glanced behind me just in time to see that he was moving slowly and I saw him wobble. I pulled the couch out just far enough away from the wall so that Aly could squeeze in to lift him out. She was crying and said, "Mama, I think he's sick."
His eyes were cloudy and we gently covered him in a towel because he was cold. We suspect that he may have had a stroke.
We thought of taking him to the vet but we knew they would just put him to sleep. And since he wasn't howling out in pain, we chose to keep him with us.
He looked at each of us as we all gathered around him. Lois held him in her lap as we all sat around and cried like babies. She told us all the Oscar stories that we've heard time and time again and we all laughed and cried.
I eventually had to go to bed because I had to work and the girls and Lois camped out in the family room. The girls set up an airbed by the couch and Lois curled up on the couch with Oscar in her arms.
At 1:30 this morning Lois came upstairs crying and said that Oscar was gone.
It has been a long time since I've felt this sort of grief. Sitting here I have tears rolling down my cheeks. I am thinking of my wife and the pain she must be going through. I am thinking of my youngest daughter who woke up this morning only to learn about her beloved friend and then who fell back to sleep with tears on her face. And later this morning, the other will wake up to the sad news and the crying will continue.
I have not seen our family shed this many tears in a long time. And as my friend Renee said the other day, "Hard times."
Please stop by and offer your condolences to my wife at Miscellany.