For the third time this summer, we had to say goodbye to one of the furry members of our family. Aldo showed up on our doorstep and refused to leave over 17 years ago, shortly after Annie’s first birthday. She was a wee kitten then. And she was a wee, dainty cat all her life, despite the fact that she ate like a horse. She was a bread fanatic. We couldn’t leave bread or rolls out, because she would chew through the bags to get to them. And when the kids were young, they loved to snack on toaster waffles, and Aldo would come and snatch them right out of their hands. She was one of the quirkiest cat I’ve ever known, and let’s face it, most cats have their fair share of quirks. She was extremely skittish, though in the past four or five years, she really mellowed. There was a time when visitors to our home wouldn’t even catch a glimpse of her because she would hide out for days to avoid them, but in the last few years, she would crawl right into a visitors’ lap for warmth and pets. She wasn’t a big fan of her fellow furry family members, and she outlasted them all. Actually, I take that back–she loved Taco. We never knew quite why she accepted him the way she did, but it was sweet the way those two got along. This house has never felt so empty–yep, there’s still five human animals and host of other creatures, but we’re missing all our “free-range pets” (as Gray called them). This is the first time in almost 28 years that Rich and I haven’t had a kitty in our home.
Aldo’s, and Baker’s, and Lucky’s absences are felt in a thousand ways every day. My heart is so heavy and the ache is so strong. But as much as it hurts, as hard as it is to face this new normal, I wouldn’t have traded the honor of having each of them as members of our little family. An honor it was.