I have no new post for you today, as last week we had to say good-bye to our beloved cat, Lyra (the boy cat with a girl’s name, which has caused endless gender confusion over the years). I found Lyra, named for the strong, determined, and clever main character of my favorite book, The Golden Compass, on the streets of Washington DC fifteen years ago, and he has been underfoot and on my lap just about every minute I’ve been in the house since. He passed away in my arms in our home.
Lyra was quirky, stubborn, and eerily human-like. He talked back, ate bits of my cheese, licked my legs (which is really annoying), attacked my feet, scratched walls, drank from our water cups before knocking them over, and took over my keyboard when I tried to work (geez, he really is annoying). I could rock him like a baby and toss him up over my shoulder so he could cuddle against my neck. Nothing scared him. He flocked to people when they entered, rather than run away. He loved sitting on: My lap like I’m nothing more than his throne, my husband’s fresh laundry, and anything new that comes into the house, be that a shopping bag or the contractor’s tools. His every move was predictable. I keep thinking I see him in the usual spots, and then I remember. I’ll sit at my computer for weeks to come expecting the claws on my leg, and I’ll turn and expect the meow to get up on my lap. Or for him to jump up on my chest, his nose inches from my face, when I’m on the couch.
The grief from loss is so distinct, even if the severity may differ. I’ve lost people I love, I’ve lost pets I love, I’ve lost internal organs and that life before intestinal reconstruction, I’ve lost time to illness, I’ve lost rounds of IVF, I’ve lost relationships. Right after loss happens, you walk around in a fuzzy, altered world, feeling like everyone around you gets to enjoy a typical day while you are struggling. (Except for when I lost organs, I didn’t walk around for a long time after that.) You know you can’t bring back what is lost, but you ache for it nonetheless. The knots form in your throat and stomach and your mind is consumed with only thoughts of what is gone. If you clicked to this post hoping I had some magic way to not feel grief or some way to get back what is lost, I wish I had that for you. But in time, you get used to the new reality. I’ll get used to the reality of not having that furball by me. And I’m so lucky to have moments of grief only few and far between.
For me, it does help to be public with the loss. To post on my blog and post on facebook and have people write back with support or to tell their own tale. It sends him out with attention paid to his death, and that attention somehow serves as a buffer. And knowing the power time has to ease things helps, even if it hasn’t started working yet. But dang, what a cool cat Lyra was. I miss him terribly.
So sorry, Meaghan. I remember Lyra well. What a character…
And right back to you and yours, Alan. 🙂
Beth @ Hungry Happenings says
I am so sorry for your loss. I know the pain you are feeling and understand how empty a house can feel when you lose a pet. My heart is with you. Hugs:)
I keep saying thank you! to everyone, but it really does help so much to have such support. Thank you Beth!
I am so very sorry to hear of your loss. May your memories of the love you shared for your special fur baby bring comfort in the coming days, months, & years when you remember him.
Bless you. Thinking of you!
Margo in KS
So sweet to read, thank you Margo!
My heart is with you. I know the loss you feel and I hope time works it’s magic quickly on you.
Thank you Karen!
My heart goes out to you I’m going through a similar thing.
Oh, I’m so sorry Kate. And thank you!
My heart goes out to you. He looks just like my Alfie (Main Coon cat). I know your pain; having lost our Dunga 5 years ago. Now, our Alfie has complicated medical problems. We do love our animals, and will always remember them
And my heart goes to Alfie. I hope he gets through this! Lyra has been told he looks like a maine coon tons over the years, he must have that awesomeness in there somewhere! 🙂
VERY sorry to hear this. How sad. Pets are so unconditional – it is so hard to explain, it’s just a feeling of this pure love. Always there, needing you but giving back so much. My thoughts are with you 🙁
Dear Meaghan, Thank you for sharing such heartfelt memories of your wonderful boy, Lyra. I can see how people mistook him for a girl – he’s absolutely gorgeous. The light color fur around his eyes, the black outline of his precious pink nose and those magnificent white whiskers really show off his expressive face.
We animal people can relate to everything you said – how you found him to those oh-so-annoying licks on the leg. Yes – dipping their faces into your cups just as you’ve prepared your drink & then knocking the cup over. Sitting on the keyboard so you had to pay attention to him rather than work on your blog.
Oh yes – he knew very well he was the light of your life. Letting him ride on your shoulders, he traveled from room to room in style, high above his human counterparts. For fifteen wonderful years he had you wrapped around his paws and loved every minute of it.
Every pet lover wishes there were an easier or quicker way to get over such a loss, but I don’t have an answer to that. I will, however, offer this …..
Lyra was a special part of your family who will always have a special place in your hearts.
He is gone from your sight but never your memory, gone from your hearing but never your heart.
Gone from your touch but his memory is felt and the love that he gave you will never depart.
When you get around to making your fairy garden, put something there in memory of Lyra. He’d probably like to watch the butterflies’ graceful flight among the flowers.
Tavette – S. Fla.
Oh my gosh Tavette, this is gorgeous! You’re amazing, thank you!! And absolutely to the airy garden. You’re so right.
Beth Murray says
So sorry Meaghan, we are thinking of you!
Sandy T says
Oh, I’m so sorry for your loss. Pets hold a special place in pet lovers’ hearts. It’s such a difficult time after we lose them. Thinking of you and sending you happy purrs.
I am sorry that you lost your lovely cat. Words for that loss are hard, losing your pet/family member is only understood by others who have lost same. I still miss my dog Blossom, since 1971 been looking for her. She kept the best secrets. May you remember those kitty purrs, loving moments and all the mischief. <3
Thank you Shelly! These special loves just last forever, like Blossom. And “mischief” is exactly the right word for Lyra :).
Karen @ Sugartown Sweets says
I’m so sorry Meaghan to hear of your sweet lyra’s passing. I am so not that cat and dog loving person that my kiddos are. So..when hubby announced he was getting us a dog from the pound (many moons ago), I was at least happy for my kids.
Of course I fell in love with that dog (Smokie), and the next (Bandit). When Smokie got sick and passed many years later, I was right there with her and it nearly killed me. Even just writing about and remembering her now saddens me. They really do become part of our families.
Prayers for you..
They get right inside there, don’t they Karen? Without even trying! And thank you!
Eileen McAlister says
So sorry to hear of your loss. It’s never easy. Hugs to you and the kiddos, too.
Thank you so much Eileen!!