Updated: Jul 9, 2018
When my Tortie cat, Neala, was sick, and I realized her time was running short, I spent a lot of extra time with her. I was lucky to have the time off to make sure I made her last days filled with comfort and snacks. I told her stories about when she was a kitten. I reminded her of the day we brought her and her sister home from the rescue. Special time together.
As I was already starting to grieve her absence, I realized that I needed to stop and remember the funny and quirky things about her that made her unique. So I started writing her a letter. The letter included how I loved when she would jump up into the closet when I was getting ready for work. She would stick her behind up high, flick her tail, do a little dance, knead the cat bed that was up there for her, and wait for me to pet her and tell her how wonderful she was. She also loved to jump on my lap when I was on the toilet. (Too much information, I know.) But she would get so comfortable, I had a hard time getting up sometimes. She would play fetch, specifically with a little, worn-out, green mouse. We would throw it all the way downstairs in the basement and she would hustle down there, we'd hear her talking to it like it was her prey, then she'd come bounding up the stairs, run up to us and drop it at our feet. She was so proud of herself. (I kept that mouse.) There were many other things I reminded her of our time together. Those things really helped me to remember what she was like when she was really alive and vibrant. It was definitely therapeutic.
Now, everyday, when I look at my animals, I am grateful for their idiosyncrasies. I've started a list of unique traits for each of them because I don't want to forget. These are the things I'll remember down the road and smile about. I urge you to do something similar, so that you'll have a "bag of happy" for sometime down the road when you truly need it.
Love to you,