Our beloved Hermione is gone from us.
She was the matriarch of our menagerie, our spokescat, my husband’s other wife, my heating pad and companion, my daughter’s tormentor and my son’s first love.
For seventeen years, she filled our home with love and amusement, even as she covered all our clothes and furniture in fur.
Her departure, certainly not unexpected, was quiet. She’d spent all day sleeping on the ottoman by my husband’s living room chair; she jumped off when I went into the kitchen to cook dinner, so she could sit in the dining room and keep an eye on both of us. At one point, I glanced over from the sink, and saw her lying under my dining room chair. She seemed too still.
I touched her. There was no response. Her face felt hard and stony, even though she was still warm.
She wasn’t there.
The other cats know. Her daughter Sprite spent an unusually long time cuddling up to me last night, and her grandkittens, Pewter and Othello, keep taking turns jumping on the ottoman, which was off limits to both of them until last night.
I wondered who would take over her role as spokescat. Sprite seems to have inherited the job; this morning, it was she who led the parade to my bedside, and announced that the water and food bowls were empty.
There is such a void in my house now…
How can a quiet little creature, a wordless companion, a being of a different species make herself such an integral part of our lives, and how can her departure leave such a chasm in our home?
We’ve lost pets before, and each loss has been devastating.
This feeling is familiar, but it is no less dreadful. We know the acute pain will pass, but the longing for Hermie’s companionship will always be with us.
In time, we’ll mostly remember how she made us laugh… how she adopted us by breaking into our basement, where she had a litter of kittens… how she used to stick her paws under Amanda’s door at night, just like the aliens in Signs… how she used to stand on the stairs and meow at Alex when he tarried at the dinner table, because she wanted him to go upstairs with her. I’ll remember her impatience when I took too long in sharing my ice cream sandwiches with her; Jeff will remember how she sat on his lap night after night, watching TV with him.
The tears have mostly subsided now, but we’re left in silence.
What is there to say?