If you’ve ever lived with a pet, or loved a pet, you already know that each one is a unique character, much like humans.
And if you have been owned by a cat, or been a servant/companion to one, you have a bag of stories to share.
Pets usually become beloved family members. You may recall meeting some of ours here.
Our daughter Nikisha and son-in-law Tim have lived with two cats for nearly 18 years. Jerome, aka Jerry, and Simon.
Jerome and Simon have been a beloved part of all our lives — though in recent years, mainly through pictures and phone calls with us, since they now live in the US.
We still have a recorded phone message of Jerome meowing a strong “hello”.
Jerome was, as Tim says, “a big orange cat with a sunny disposition” who met the neighbours and made friends before they did. “He had a knack for knowing when Nikisha and I were feeling down, and would comfort us.”
“When I broke my leg, he would come and sit with me, sometimes on the broken leg, and purr away.”
Jerome was adventurous, outgoing and loved long walks. Days after Tim and Nikisha moved house, he disappeared for several days. We all launched a search, some of us doing so online. My mother-in-law even put Jerome’s name on a prayer list.
It turned out that Jerry was trying to find his way home — to their former place. He was found and returned to the new home, tired and hungry.
Nikisha describes him this way: “An enthusiastic yet curmudgeonly host, he was always in the thick of every social event, though refused to give up his chair to guests as a matter of principle.”
So you can understand that we have all watched with sadness as the cats have aged, and Jerome struck with diabetes and other ailments.
We mourned along with Tim and Nikisha when Jerome died last week. Simon, his brother for almost all his life, was upstairs at the time, and began wailing at that moment.
Nikisha says “It’s amazing how he knew almost immediately that Jerry was gone.”
If you’ve loved a pet, I know you’ll understand. If you haven’t, you may be surprised to learn how profound the loss is. After all, it’s saying goodbye to a beloved member of the family.
Rest peacefully, dear Jerry. Thanks for being in our lives.