WTF, dude...get me out of this retarded hat
My heart was already in my throat as I picked up the phone. My father goes to bed every night at 8:30. Seeing his number on the screen at 10:05 could only mean something was drastically wrong. I was relieved to hear that nothing had happened to my mom (last phone call like this she'd had a heart attack), but a wave of melancholy came over me as my dad explained to me that he was at the animal hospital with our 14 year-old family cat Willie.
I noticed a huge change in her when I was at their house for Christmas and had a feeling that this holiday would be her last. Her typical demeanor, at least when I came around, ranged from indifference to mild hostility but this time she made the effort to brush against my leg or sit on my lap and allow me to scratch behind her ears. She knew she wasn't long for this earth and took her opportunity to say goodbye then and there.
The vets told my parents that Willie was suffering from advanced lung cancer and rather than put her through the pain of chemotherapy that might not even help her, they decided it was best that we put her down. Mandy and I rushed over to the westside from our respective apartments in order to see her one last time. She took her last breaths in Mandy's arms as my mom stroked her head. We caravanned home and Mandy and I helped my father bury her in our backyard by flashlight. Willie had a proper Catholic funeral, my mom sprinkling holy water on the tiny cardboard casket as Mandy flashed me a look that said "they have holy water in the house?" A small statue of St. Francis of Assisi watches over her grave.
Willie had a long, full, even luxurious life clawing my mother's furniture, stalking critters in our backyard, and relaxing in the Southern California sun, squinting her green eyes at anyone who dared disrupt her reverie. I'm so thankful for the years we had with her and for the happiness she brought all of us, especially my parents. She's free of her pain now, and chasing birds with the angels.
Rest in peace, sweet girl. We miss you already.
Willie stalks her prey, spring 2008