One door closes …
As the grey door shut, a tear slowly streamed down my cheek.
Jake was with the veterinarian now, about to lay down for the final time in a life where lying horizontal was the norm.
More tears flowed as I walked away.
I never expected to be this upset, which was completely foolish and unrealistic of me.
Jake came into our family 18 years ago.
She was born in a barn, and given to the friend of a friend after the farmer noticed how much she like people.
The cat came our way after one of her owners discovered an allergy.
At the time, I was living with my sister in an old house that was a magnet for mice.
People suggested we get a cat and we took Jake in with open arms. She was our mouser.
The previous owners called her “Flops” because she had an ear that flopped over — something noted by everyone who saw her.
We renamed her Jake for reasons I can’t remember.
I never had a cat, and at first, I had little time for this one.
But no matter how much I pushed her away or resisted, she kept trying to sit on my lap or lie on my chest.
I soon became unexpectedly attached to Jake, and her never relenting, always forgiving companionship.
I also loved that she could actually do tricks, well, one trick.
There was this Bert stuffy — as in Ernie and Bert — that Jake would fetch like a dog. No matter where you threw it, she’d go get it and bring it back.
When my future wife came into the picture, she and Jake became fast friends and were almost inseparable.
So, when my sister moved, and I settled into my own house, she gave us Jake.
The cat has been part of our family ever since. It has spent the past 10 years either snuggling with my wife or kids, or lying in the sun whenever it shined through the windows.
As the person who fed Jake and cleaned the litter box, I’ve certainly had my frustrations with her.
For the past while, I could not move until she had food. She’d meow loudly and endlessly and park under my feet until I filled her bowl. And the last going off, she didn’t use the litter box as much, which meant I spent a lot more time cleaning than wanted.
That was getting a bit much and I was getting fed up with it.
That’s why I never expected to be so upset when it was her time.
But I guess as in any relationship, you don’t always realize how much you care until the person or animal is gone.
I miss Jake. It’s a big change not having her around.
••• Speaking of changes, my column is soon taking a different direction.
Instead of sharing these personal experiences, I’m going to focus on the powerful stories and storytellers I have the privilege of working with every day.
The goal is to give readers some insight into our important work and the people behind it.
Look for my picture accompanying a column with a different name in the days to come.
A sincere thanks to my Deep End readers for spending a few minutes with me each week.