When I guy I was dating told me about a litter of kittens, I jumped at the chance to get a "roommate".
I named her "Neko" which is the Japanese word for cat.
Neko was my very first cat that was all mine.
We bonded quickly and she eased by feelings of loneliness.
I would no longer dread coming home from work to no one.
I had someone there who was happy to see me.
I loved her so much and took my motherhood role to heart.
When I went home to my parent's house, she came along too,
even though my family cat wasn't very pleased.
When I got married and went away on my honeymoon,
my parents took Neko home to Vermont to babysit while I was gone.
Upon our return, I was told that she had gotten run over by a car
and she was gone.
I had never lost a pet before.
The grief I felt was overwhelming.
I remember going back to our apartment and crying the entire night.
Vance stayed up with me and helped me through it.
Neko was only two years old - way too young to die.
She was supposed to be with me for so many more years!
It was so unfair.
Two days ago, my daughter Annie lost her cat, Jerome.
After adopting Jerome in May, she discovered he had
a very bad case of ringworm. She had been bathing and medicating him for the past month, attempting to rid him of it.
But Jerome had other serious health problems that she was unaware of.
She had to say good-bye to this adorable, loving friend 2 days ago.
Jerome, like Neko, eased the homesickness Annie felt
and gave her a buddy to come home to. From the moment she stepped into the cat room at the humane society, he stuck to her like glue.
He chose her.
And the feeling was so very mutual.
It's wonderful how our hearts can love so quickly and completely.
But it's so painful when our time together is cut short.
I just got back from visiting Annie in Rochester.
I had to make sure she's ok because
I really do know
how she's feeling.
I've lost many other pets since that day back in 1984,
but the first was the hardest.
Every one of them has left me with so many happy memories
and every one of them has made my life richer.