I was taking a shower and you were curled up on the bath mat. Purring, a sound to let me know you were there. Roaring louder than the shower, like the little lion you are. When I was exiting the tub you were watching my every move lest I slip — you seemed ready, just in case, to catch me and the baby somehow. Just like somehow, you knew my body was changing — and carrying a new friend for you.
You were always there as my support. Before the first tear would fall down my cheek, you would rush to my side as if the flood gates opening were a calling for you. You were silly enough to lighten any day, and mood, with your antics. Even at 3 a.m. And now, in the season of the year meant for cuddles, I miss you the most.
Your sister sleeps on the bed some nights now. You would’ve liked that. Curling up alongside us, just like you did when you were sick. Leaning on my legs when yours were too weak to carry you. It was only when you couldn’t jump up onto the bed anymore that I realized — or accepted — it just isn’t fair. Your nails clawed into the carpet to help steady your stride. You used all of your nine lives as gifts to me and the world around you.
Your eyes were black and big, and you were ready to go. In truth, I knew you were almost there. I didn’t want to let you go, but that was my lesson to learn: That we don’t always cross bridges together — especially rainbow ones.
And in your eight years we crossed so many. From the first days I held you and your sister, and you two curled into figure eights, intertwined. Only you always found a way to stay in the sun, your sister enjoying the shade. Earning a deserved name of Helios (God of the Sun) and your sister Selene (Goddess of Moon).
We became a circle of five with that little life you protected for so many suns. At the end, she cried for you, screaming “BUDDY!” Reaching out for one last pet and bursting into tears. We all cried, and I knew in my heart what it meant to feel “circles and circles of sorrow.”
I let it all out when you were gone; yet you were still in my arms. A wailing that carried through brick walls, into the waiting room. Unlocking each brick, laying rows in the foundation of the building both around and inside of me. Echoing through the halls. It gave us extra time together because I didn’t know how to let you go. I still don’t.
Sometimes, I think I see you running out of my view, under the couch or around a corner. I know it’s just your playful nature reminding me you’re still here in ways I can’t see. To help me smile through tears like you always used to do.
I think of you every day, and I miss you more than you’ll ever know. Cuddling with your sister now, protecting our baby girl with the lives you left for us and gave to us. Until we meet again, and I cross that bridge to see you. Until I can pet you again, my friend, continue to spread your love like the sun; always warm, just like when you were around. We will keep that warmth with us always, forever in our hearts.