Monday, June 1, 2009

Together Again


On Sunday, we lost Popa, our 11 year old cat
(the black one in this picture).


Kurt and I adopted Popa & Chewy (brothers)
from the Humane Society in NYC on a sunny January morning.
Chewy was named after Chewbacca in Star Wars.
Popa means priest in Romanian, because he was all black except for the
perfectly placed white square on his neck.

I used to think that Chewy was a reincarnated human
trying to relate messages to me daily.
Popa was just a snuggle bug.

The first night he spent with us, he squiggled his
tiny feline body between Kurt & I.

We could not go to sleep until he was perfectly content,
and he has shared the same spot with us ever since.

We left NY and moved to Utah, which is where Chewy died of what we believe was a stroke. Popa grieved his brother's death for a full month. He sat on his pillow and refused to interact and hardly ate. I will never forget his agony.

After Salt Lake City, we brought Popa to Denver.

He was our family member who welcomed all three of our children.

I miss listening to Popa and my husband snoring beside me at night. I miss placing out food for two cats instead of one. I miss petting him. I miss watching him fight with the Tomcats in town to protect his territory. I miss it all!

What made it even tougher was trying to explain to my 6 year old the cycle of life. He told me while gasping for air, that he hates death and never wants to experience anything dying again. I had to be honest, which meant breaking his fragile heart.

"Ethan we all die. I know it doesn't seem fair, but that's what happens. At least Popa is now reunited with his brother again."

"Are we going to see them too when we die and go to Heaven?", he asked.

"Yes."

"And are you going to see Grandma too?"

"Yes, Ethan, Grandma too."

"Ohhhhhhh. But I still wish Popa was here so I can pet him."

"I know. I miss him too. It is OK to feel sadness and to cry."

The rest of the day was a roller coaster ride. He took a break to play with his friends, but the tears did not want to cease. They always sneaked up on him and then he would run home and just gaze at Popa's paw print that they gave us from the hospital.

He drew pictures of our cat running in the grass with hearts floating in the sky.

He went to bed distraught and all I can do was hug him tight, tell him that I loved him, and that we would all get through it together as a family.

My heart feels empty and the house feels silent.

I know for those who have not owned a pet, it is impossible to understand the loss of an animal. But they are not just animals.

They are loyal companions that love us just the way we are.
They are there to just listen or prrrrrrr when we need a warm body.
They are forgiving of our imperfections.
They are in our lives longer than most people we are acquainted with.
They watch our children develop and love them equally.
They make us laugh with their silly obsession of shadows or friskiness over catnip. They captivate us with their agility and hunting perfection.
And they melt us with their big eyes, soft fur, and perky ears.

4 comments:

BUMBLE BEANS said...

sorry about popa! Unconditional love... nothing better!
I found after my dog Myah, passed, I was even more saddened by realizing how much time and what had happened in my life in those 10 years that I had her... we mourn more than us the animal. As for that quietness... I know have 2 dogs instead of one!

hugs

theresapop129 said...

I'm really soooooo sorry about the loss of Popa.. I hope you all can kind strength knowing he is now with his brother and no longer suffering. Love you all. xoxoxo

Mirela said...

Popa was an amazing friend to us all..coolest kat I knew. Rest in Peace Popa and my heart goes out to the Lang family..xoxo-Nasha Mirela

Peggy said...

I can totally relate. We are pet people, currently have 3 cats and a dog. A few years ago we had 5 cats, yes, 5, and a dog. One cat died of kidney failure and the other had lymphoma which eventually also lead to kidney failure. There was nothing more terrible than KNOWING that any day now the time will come. Right now one of our cats, Simba, isn't doing too well and... well, you get the point.
Just keep in mind that you gave your cats the best life possible. You gave them the love and attention they needed and they were so much better off WITH you than WITHOUT you.

Here is a poem that helped me cope through the difficult time. Hopefully it will help you deal with the loss of Popa.

RAINBOW BRIDGE

There is a bridge connecting Heaven and Earth.
It is called the Rainbow Bridge because of all its beautiful colors.
Just this side of the Rainbow Bridge there is a land of meadows,
hills and valleys with lush green grass.
When a beloved pet dies, the pet goes to this place.
There is always food and water and warm spring weather.
The old and frail animals are young again.
Those who were sick, hurt or in pain are made whole again.
There is only one thing missing,
they are not with their special person who loved them so much on earth.
So each day they run and play until the day comes
when one suddenly stops playing and looks up!
The nose twitches! The ears are up!
The eyes are staring and this one runs from the group!
You have been seen and when you and your special friend meet,
you take him in your arms and hug him.
He licks and kisses your face again and again -
and you look once more into the eyes of your best friend and trusting
pet.
Then you cross the Rainbow Bridge together never again to be apart.

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