Tomorrow morning will a week that I have been without Ozzie. Even though it’s gotten easier to get up and face each day, it still hurts just as much. It was 14 years ago since our paths crossed and I brought him home. He was at PetSmart the day I went looking for a cat. I had been living on my own for a while but never had a cat of my own. There were other cats there but Ozzie was the one who came to me and was nuzzling against the cage towards me. He let me play with him and I let him love me with his claws. I always say it was he that picked me that day.

As the years progressed, we grew up together. We both had similar personalities.  He didn’t need a lot of attention or love but always wanted to be able to see you. Sometimes he’d want to snuggle, some times he’d just want to in ear shot. Other times he’d want to be on his own. He could find great hiding spots. On no more than one occasion we had the entire house searching for him only to have him wander out of his hiding spot, all the while watching us frantically searching for him back and forth.

We made a lot of moves together. Our lives changed together. In many ways he was my best friend, in other ways he was the closest I’ve had to a son. My phone and Facebook were always filled with pictures of him. Over the years my lenses had captured his essences.   The love that he shared with us all, we shared with all of you.

I didn’t tell anyone about his illness other than Patti. And I didn’t even tell her about my decision until I had already come up with it myself. Through all my life I know I’ve made a lot of decisions but none as difficult as the one I had to make last week. We had a very long weekend together. One night in particular I found myself cuddled with him in his sleeping spot and I was a mess.   As I lay there next to him he put his paw on my arm and just sat there. If he could have said “there, there” he probably would have. I’d like to believe that he under stood what I was telling him through all that sobbing and even though I was trying to comfort him, he was comforting me.

I didn’t want any attention from sympathy or trying to explain. I just wanted time to try and get through these past days without turning in to a sobbing mess. Patti mentioned to me that there are a lot of people out there who loved him just as much as we did. I’ve spent a lot of time remembering the past 14 years.   I know you have many of your own memories of him which is why I’m sharing this with you now. He filled all of our hearts with joy and laughter, he filled our laps with purrs and cat hair, and he left our cheeks and ears with wet nose kisses and licks.

He can’t ever be replaced and I don’t know if my heart ever will be able to love another like I loved him. There are others in our house who need just as much love and he did. Tibby and Roscoe miss their friend too I’m sure. I have to express my heart felt thanks to North Plano Animal Hospital and their staff for their compassion and understanding. I wish you could have gotten to know him as well as the rest of us had.

If I could share anything with the rest of you, it would be to cherish the ones you love every day you can. I know sometimes it’s harder to than others. Days when they are batting at the window at 2am in the morning because their food dish is empty or when they find their mouse in the middle of the night. Or when they want to snuggle.. on your face.. as you try and sleep. I know it’s darn right painful when they kneed your lap or lick the ear wax out of your ear, but it’s what they do. It’s their way of showing the same love you show them. Enjoy them while you can.

The past week has been hard not seeing him come to the food dish when it’s being filled, or not in his usual sleeping spot, or not on the side of the couch we used to sit at together. I keep thinking that I need to tread quietly when I’m going to the bathroom in the middle of the night as not to disturb him.. or I think see him walk around a corner sometimes. I’m sure it will get easier as time goes on, just need some time.

Ozzie, I know I never said everything I wanted to say. Many of our best times were those quiet unspoken moments. Thank you for picking me all those years ago, thank you for loving me, for understanding me and for putting up with me. Thank you for the unconditional love you always showed me and those who meant the most to me. You will always have a special place in my heart. I will never forget you.

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