Before you all think I’ve gone off the deep end, hear me out. I’m a big believer in writing letters to people who have passed, or friends we’ve lost touch with as a means of clarity and catharsis. In this case, being that we’re talking about a cat, I feel I should at least address it and let you know I haven’t lost my mind. I’ve just lost a very special pet. My heart aches for him and I truly didn’t know how much this would affect me until it happened. So please, bear with me as I say the last words I didn’t get to say to Bobo, aka Mr. Bojangles, before he passed on 11/29/20 at 14 years old.
My dearest Bobo,
I have been crying pretty much nonstop since you have been gone. There is a hole in my heart that only you could fill, and I miss you so much it hurts. This was one of the most painful goodbyes I’ve ever experienced, and I’m having trouble finding the words to express how much you meant to me. But damn it I will try.
There are a few things I would have loved to say to you before you left, and if there is internet over the Rainbow Bridge, I hope this finds you (perhaps while you’re browsing the Arts section of the New York Times).
When I said goodbye to you, I lost a bit of myself, a grand old friend, and a family member. I couldn’t even breathe. You looked so sad, so weak, and yet, so sweet at the same time. It hurt me so much to see you suffer, I cried the second they brought you over to me. You deserved the very best life, and I couldn’t make you live this way anymore for my own selfish needs. All I wanted to do was pick you up in that fluffy bed, with those soft plaid blankets, and squeeze you as tight as I could, just one last time. But you were so fragile, I knew I couldn’t.
When I said goodbye to you, you couldn’t even walk. I was carrying you from the laundry room, to the couch, to the bed, just to make sure you had company and knew how much I loved you. But each and every time I did it, it broke my heart a little bit more. You seemed so frail and exhausted, I could feel every bone in your body from all the weight you lost. The wide-eyed, hungry, anxious little guy that I fell in love with seemed to be gone for good. I tried so hard to bring you back to me, but with every failed attempt, I felt a pain in my heart. Out of our 14 years together, this was the first time I didn’t know how to fix you, and I was afraid it might be your time to leave me. I just didn’t want to admit it to myself.
I begged you to stay with me every single night that week. I sat down next to you and whispered “please spend one more Christmas with me”, as I pet your small little head while you slept. I prayed for you, I wished on stars for you. Deep down, I had a feeling you wouldn’t make it to Christmas.
When I said goodbye to you, your eyes couldn’t even find me, and I was standing right in front of you. I blamed myself for not recognizing the warning signs, but in my defense, you were one tough little kitty. You never showed me the pain you were in, and I will never really know how long you suffered for, but I hope it wasn’t long. I will probably beat myself up for this for quite a while, but I know I did everything I could for you, and would have continued to do if it felt right. Seeing you like that didn’t feel right anymore. I would give anything to have you healthy again, sitting on my lap, begging for scratchies.
You were always by my side, literally and figuratively. Through four different apartments, countless jobs, half a dozen relationships, arbitrary illnesses, and everything else…there you were. If I was sitting on the couch, you were there next to me or on my lap. If I was in bed, you slept right in that little nook behind my knees or my stomach. You loved to just be near me, and you made sure I knew it. Anytime Chris or I would leave the apartment, you’d grab that little burger and meow like a nutcase. It was weird, but we loved you for it.
When I said goodbye to you, I remembered the first day you came into my life. A tiny little kitten crouched and quivering in the corner of a cardboard box, meowing incessantly. You were so scared, you hid in the corner of my room for hours. I don’t even remember how it happened, but your name just fell out of my mouth. I said quietly, “Bobo, look over here”, and you did. You turned slowly, walked over and sat in my lap for over an hour until my legs went numb. From that moment, I was hooked.
You were the biggest constant in my life, and I can’t believe I don’t get to see you every day anymore. I woke up this morning and looked for your little face outside the bedroom door. I went into the kitchen and expected to hear the pitter patter of paws behind me, with that hopeful face that says “a piece of turkey might find its way into my dish”. Now, I lay here in the dark writing this post, knowing that if you were still here, you’d be snuggled at my feet the whole time.
When I said goodbye to you, I thought of all the good times we had over the years, and how much joy you brought to my life. The mornings were our time together before silly old Chris would wake up, and the apartment is so much more quiet since you have left it. You were the best gift, and even though I am in tremendous pain from missing you, I will forever be thankful for you. I never thought I could love a pet so much. You were a special, sweet, and fancy gentleman, which is how you became @bobofancycat. You could always make me laugh with your silly, perma-shocked face. And your taste for the finer things in life (as well as judgmental demeanor) made you truly one of a kind. You were, without a doubt, MY cat.
When I said goodbye to you, I remembered how attached you were to me, and I want you to know I will always be attached to you. When I place my hand over my heart, I know you’re in there. I walked into that animal hospital with my little baby Bo, and walked out without you. I can’t explain the pain I felt in that moment. And still feel. If Chris wasn’t holding my hand, I probably would have never left you.
When I said goodbye to you, I wasn’t prepared for it. But I’ve learned that you can never be prepared to lose someone you love. I hope you are in kitty heaven enjoying the biggest steak, with the finest glass of Scotch, and a big bowl of gravy on the side. A crystal bowl, obviously.
Rest in peace, my adorable, quirky little Bobo. I love you always, and I know we’ll meet again one day at the Rainbow Bridge. <3