I am writing this to say Thank You. This is not an easy letter to write, in fact I can’t see to write it, you should be here to wipe away my tears as you always have, but you’re not and that’s why I’m crying. Oh Hank, you never were the reason for tears, always the sponge to soak them up and raise a smile. But here I am writing to you now you are gone and I know in my heart that you will understand every damn word of this. The one word, the most important wordof all is – Thanks.
My cowboy cat, my beloved, my true friend, Hank.
Once upon a time, thirteen years ago to be precise some half wit human without a maternal bone in her body gave birth to her gorgeous daughter Idgy. Now this human didn’t have a clue about kids and was lost to say the least. On her very first outing with the new baby the neighbouring farmer stopped to admire the newborn. During the chat he asked the human if she could take on a kitten. Oh no she joked, I’d only take a white cat as I’ve always wanted one of those. Well it just so happens…..
Enter Hank, a totally feral white kitten just a few weeks old. Now this human (me) may be useless with human babies, but a kitten, well I could cope with him. Cope I did. After a week of scaling the kitchen walls and living on top of the dresser he came down, calmed down and sat on my lap. He sat on my lap for the next thirteen years.
He used to curl up in Idgy’s pram and in her cot. Friends were horrified, it was normal. She grew up thinking Hank was her brother and caused much merriment at nursery school when she told the teacher that she had a brother called Hank who just happened to be a cat. God knows what they thought my social life was like!
We have shared so much over the years. All those Christmases when you’ve endured the Santa hat and ate turkey for a week.
All my life happenings: the death of my Dad, marriage break up, depression, my Mum’s downfall into dementia, my brother’s cancer. The ups and downs of my life for the last thirteen years, Hank has been there for me.
Idgy’s little brother.
My best friend.
They, whoever they are, say that ‘you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone’. They are wrong. I knew what I had with Hank. I knew he was a treasure and special and a wonderful friend. He was ‘there’ when there was nothing else. He was mine.
How do you say goodbye?
This morning I came downstairs at 7am and he was crying, my friend was crying for help. He couldn’t move. My heart lurched, I phoned the vet. Another journey but this time one so unexpected, so f*&cking unfair. One so torturous, so mind numbingly bad.
He had a blood clot, DVT if you will. His ongoing mild heart murmer had done it’s worst. There was nothing we could do.
So I held my friend, I told him I wished it was me. I’d take his pain and go instead. He looked with eyes that held nothing but trust and I did the only thing left, I loved him and held him and said goodbye.
Hank, my cowboy cat.
You came into my life when I needed you most.
You have been there for me every step of the way.
You were my smile in the morning and my cuddle at night.
I owed you everything and you asked for nothing.
I don’t want to say goodbye.
These photos and words are my only way of doing so.
You leave a paw print on my heart and a hole in my life.
Goodbye my darling. Please don’t forget me Hank, for I will never forget you.