– Why don’t you write about her Mummy?
– Not yet. I’m still too sad. It still hurts too much. I will do. Soon. When it’s not so raw.
It still hurts. And yet here I am, writing about her. Or about the loss of her.
I keep seeing her everywhere. The absence of her stretched out in front of the woodburner. Or lolling in the warm patch of sunlight on the living-room rug. Or miaowing around my legs in the kitchen, trying to get a little more food for herself.
I see her image burned into my brain. From the last time I saw her. Stroked her. Asleep on the vet’s table. Never to wake up again. The image I don’t want to keep but, at the same time, don’t want to lose.
I feel her walking across me with heavy paws, resting her face in my hands to snooze in safety, just as she did when she fell into her last sleep.
I miss her. I can’t believe she’s never coming back. That she’s gone forever. My darling cat. My friend.
My heart keeps dragging up ways to keep her alive. A portrait commissioned. A photo blown up, framed and hung on the wall. No. No. No. Not yet.
It hurts so much. The sadness rips at my heart every time I let myself think of her. It’s out of my control. The tears trickle down my face in public. I let it pour out of me in private.
Like a dream terror in which a lover has gone forever and there’s nothing to be done to make it right, no way to recover what once was. That kind of raw pain that leaves you gasping when you wake and thankful it was a lie.
But this time it isn’t. It’s truth. It’s bare, barren truth. She’s not coming back.
And I can’t stop crying. And I know she was ‘just a cat’. And I know that I need to get a grip. But I can’t. I won’t. Not yet.