She left us not because she wanted to, but because she had to. At least that’s my interpretation. The connection between Lily and me was something I’d never experienced before. Oh, I’ve had very special cats and incredible relationships with cats, but with Lily, it’s as if she chose us and me in particular. She wanted to be a part of everything I did (except, perhaps, vacuuming the carpets). As a kitten she was always underfoot whether I was busy doing something or just sitting at my desk or on the sofa. Not often in my lap, but at my feet like a puppy, or next to me on the sofa or my desk.
She was my helper. She helped me fold clothes, make the bed (oh, the excitement when the clean sheets came out). She watched me cook and was always eager to clean up any morsel of chicken or cheese or just about anything else I happened to drop. Sewing was particularly interesting to Lily, especially if I was cutting out a pattern. She liked needlework, beadwork, wrapping gifts, unwrapping gifts…whatever I was doing, she was there helping me, especially in my office.
Lily was my office cat. She rearranged papers, held down the very papers I was trying to work with—keeping them warm (or from getting my attention). And if I went outside, she watched from the windows. I swear she knew what it meant when we got the suitcases out. She had these beautiful big, expressive eyes and she knew how to use them. It would tear at my heart to leave her. But our reunions—even after a brief trip to the grocery store—were delightful.
She slept with me every night, she followed me through my morning and evening routines, and sometimes she’d curl up in my lap.
Lily didn’t learn to purr until she was around five or six years old. I think the sound startled her as much as it did me the first time it happened. That was just one of many fascinating and fun days of discovery we shared.
While I miss her terribly, I feel fortunate to have had such a deep and touching connection with this sweet being for eleven years. Because of her lifelong kidney disease diagnosis, I feared that we wouldn’t get that much time together. But we did and it was not nearly enough, but my memories of her are priceless.
Since I’m in my office most of the day writing, so was Lily. I discovered that I was missing her most throughout the day in my office, so I put up some of the hundreds of pictures I’ve taken of her over the years right next to my computer so any time I want to, I can glance up and look into her eyes and feel that she is still with me, if only in spirit. This has brought me a level of comfort. Looking at her sweet face makes me smile.