Sometime when I was in Elementary School, my family got a cat. My dad was a daycare worker and he had taken us to the park, where this group of teenagers was tossing around a kitten. He was a tiny thing and he was scared and, I don’t know how my dad did it, but he got the teens to give him the kitten. We named him Tiger.
The thing about kittens is that they eventually grow into cats. Tiger did, and my mom commented that it might be nice to have a kitten around again. Almost as soon as she thought it, she realized how much work it would be and that kittens turn into cats and changed her mind, but by then it was too late. The morning of her birthday, my dad left with me and my sister and came back with a kitten. He sat the kitten on top of my mom and that was her wake up call.
Since we already had a boy cat, we had intended to get a boy cat. With that assumption, my mom named her Mickey.
We’re not entirely sure, but we figure it’s been about thirteen years since then. A few months ago, we took her to the vet because she’d been losing weight. It turned out her kidneys were starting to fail. Then a couple weeks ago, she got a cold and her body started to shut down. We took her to the vet and they put her on fluids for a few days. We brought her home and thought she was getting better. Until last Thursday, when we had to take her to the vet because she was having a hard time breathing. They found fluid around her lungs and there wasn’t anything they could do about it. On Thursday, we had to put Mickey to sleep.
It was especially hard because we had thought she would be okay. It’s the mistake I usually make: optimism.
Mickey was part of the family and I assumed I’d get to keep her forever. But I didn’t and I’m sad, but if I’ve learned anything about grief, it’s this: it doesn’t go away. Some days are harder than others. But all in all, over time, it does get lighter.