At the age of four, I asked my mother if I could have a cat. She agreed easily, but was in the process of adopting a baby from China, so the cat had to wait! My mother is a single adoptive parent of three children, including myself. Sarah, my little sister is from China, my older brother Karl, American, and me, now 23, born in Romania. I will never forget this day for as long as I live. My mom is a high school teacher, and when Karl and I were younger, she had one of her students in Philadelphia babysit us often. We were at our babysitter's house (I can't remember her name) and I was out in the backyard wondering around the way young kids do. Every little kid's dream is to spot kittens, and I was lucky enough to find two little kittens poking their tiny heads out from underneath a stone wall. I couldn't contain my excitement! I ran inside and pulled my babysitter by the arm screaming, "Kittens! Come see!" Being as this was so long ago, the rest is a blur. I remember my mom showing up and the kittens being put in a green cardboard box. One was gray, black, and white with a purple nose. The other, solid black. I had my eyes on the solid black one.
My fifth birthday happened to be that month. The day I turned five I came rushing downstairs into the kitchen and spotted that same green box on the counter! I stood on my tippy toes and peeked in the box. There he was. The black, gray, and white kitten! I didn't mind that he wasn't the black one. My mom came up behind me and I looked u,p at her...I will never forget this, and asked, "Is he mine?" She smiled and said yes. JJ, the love of my life, was so tiny that he needed to be bottle fed every couple of hours. My mom took him to work with her where he was bottle fed every day. When Mom came home from China with Sarah, JJ was very tolerable of having his ears pulled on. He knew she was just a baby.
Sarah and I used to dress JJ up in nightgowns and put him in baby doll strollers. He never objected! He was such a good cat. He had his share of cat lives. He was very mischievous and loved to get into everything! I loved JJ more than any other animal...we added a dog and another cat to our family as I grew up.
By the time I was 21, JJ had trouble getting around. He could no longer jump up on the counter and weight didn't stick to him like it used to. Although JJ was old, his appetite was plentiful. My mom and I were at the beach the summer of 2010 when my brother called and said that JJ had a seizure. It was late at night and I felt tormented until I got home the next morning. JJ didn't have another seizure until months later...I have a fear of injuries. I don't like to see anyone have a seizure, pass out, etc. But I told myself this was my cat and I needed to be there.
My heart aches as I think back to when it happened...a week after my 22 birthday. JJ was sitting on my bed pawing my arm for treats. This was something he did constantly. I gave him what he wanted and continued what I was doing. Suddenly, JJ laid down and let out a long meow. I knew it was time...I woke up my mom and told her JJ was going...My brother happened to be home which I will be forever thankful for. I couldn't watch as Karl and my mom made JJ comfortable and he slipped away. I remember screaming over and over again, "is he dead?" and then falling to my knees and petting his peaceful sleeping body.
Karl and I buried JJ together. I don't know why but I wasn't able to lift him up. Karl dug the hole, and I prayed. Praying, sadly to say, is not something I do often. But I prayed and prayed. I prayed ghosts existed so I could see my baby. I prayed wherever he was he was taken care of. I prayed he knew how much I loved him. Karl claimed he had to use the bathroom and went inside the house. I stood outside and listened to my brother cry. I hadn't heard him cry in ten years. As I showered before going to bed, I kept apologizing. Apologizing for not being able to pick him up. Apologized for not giving him more attention as he pawed me for treats. My heart ached a pain I had never felt in my life. I woke up sobbing the next morning. I can't remember my life before JJ and my heart breaks every time I think of him. Now, I know I'm not the best write but for the people out there who are grieving the loss of a pet, DO NOT LET ANYONE TELL YOU TO GET OVER IT!!! We are allowed to feel this pain, regardless of the fact that this is an animal and not a human. Take as much time as you need...even if that is a lifetime. I still cry when I think of JJ. But I tell myself it's okay, and who cares if other people think I need to get over it? My heart will heal with time. Until it does, I will continue to grieve and NO ONE will force me to get over it. I thank god that JJ was brought into my life, and hope one day we will meet again.