It’s Thursday morning, 7:06 am specifically, and I have been mostly awake for hours. I feel an impending decision hanging over my head and heart and it threatens to break them both. My best buddy’s health is deteriorating and it’s becoming clear that all that’s left isn’t really a choice at all. It’s my last gift of compassion instead. My BFF is my cat, Parsley. As I write this, she’s sleeping on my outstretched legs and while we’ve done this thousands of times I know this is not a moment that I will have much longer. Her neurological function is failing and there’s nothing to be done. Slowly, but all too quickly at the same time, our paths are beginning to diverge.
As the hours continued to tick by on Thursday the truth became known, this would be our last day.
It’s incomprehensible to think we’d already gotten to the end, when our first day more than a decade earlier is still clear. We were both young girls at the time just really getting our lives started. I was newly married and still in my 20s and Miss Parsley was barely an adult cat who had been rescued from a bad relationship of sorts and was ready for a fresh start.
After I saw her among the shelter cats at a local pet store I felt committed to finding her a home. There was something about her that I couldn’t quite shake. I called friends trying to find her a home but was declined at every turn. After nearly a week my husband relented and she was adopted into our family.
Our trek down the path of sisterhood had begun. Initially, I was under the illusion that she was the only one being rescued but time would tell a different story. Time always tells. It tells you how it will work out but it also tells you the story of a life. And hers was all love. So much so that she had a patch of white fur on her belly that almost looked like the shape of a heart. Maybe I just like to think so.
She wanted nothing more than to sit on your lap, knead her paws on your legs, and purr — loudly. This tabby cat was love driven. She would forgo food anytime in order to get and give love. And much like humans, she didn’t like to dine alone. She always preferred to have you sit down beside her while she ate and then, thinking you wanted her to share, she’d scoot over to give you room to get into the food bowl if you like. Just like any good girlfriend would share her mac-n-cheese or late-night pizza.
Over the years, Parsley and I both matured, grew up, and our friendship and bond only deepened. We were finding our way in life always side by side.
She encountered many health challenges during her time with us and repeatedly she showed herself to be a fighter. Just when you thought she was beaten, she’d rally and turn it around. And even in the difficult last few days we held out hope that she’d do it again. But every good story has an end — welcome or not.
The decision, as always, was made by her.
We shared our final goodbyes with our fur buddy on Thursday evening. She left our lives just like she entered them — purring.
This sadness will heal. The heaviness will lift. But the space she leaves behind will never be filled.