In Loving Memory of My FurBaby Boy, George
I said goodbye to George, my fur baby boy of nine years this past Monday morning, after complications related to a dental cleaning procedure he had last Thursday. I could get into all the medical mumbo jumbo, but I’d rather not. A definitive cause for my baby’s death will remain a mystery and speculation won’t bring him back. It was a tragic accident and suffice it to say, my baby was the one in a million statistic that no mother ever wants their baby to be.
I’m no stranger to grief. My mother often reiterated that it’s the price of love. If how hard one loves is any indication of how hard one grieves, then it’s safe to say my grief is at maximum capacity right now.
George was a half Siamese domestic short hair black cat I found on Craiglist in the winter of 2008. As soon as I saw this teeny ball of fur jog across the backyard of a stranger’s house, I knew he was the addition to my furmily that Bambino, my other fur baby, and I were in need of.
George’s Furever Home and Furmily
He was weeks old when I brought him to his forever home. Bambino took watch over him all night, skittishly coming in and out of the bedroom where I kept George in a shoebox. Yes, he was that tiny – fit in the palm of my hand tiny. Bambino hissed a few times, but there was a protective quality in his mannerisms with his new baby brother. That protective big brother developed into one of the most beautiful relationships I’ve ever witnessed between two animals not blood related.
Over the next nine years, I watched my oldest, more aggressive son exhibit his softer side. I watched him play alpha male and I watched George copy everything his big brother would do. Copycat or monkey see, monkey do, if you will. Monkey quickly became my Georgie’s nickname among so many others but he was as curious as they come with a hook on the end of his tail resembling that of a monkey! My mother pointed this out to me on a visit to Los Angeles one summer. She and George hit it off immediately, cuddling up for a nap on the couch one afternoon. George was my sweet, friendly cuddle bug.
My Pride and Joy, My Yin and Yang
He had a few health issues over the years, including extreme anxiety that would cause him to over groom himself and become overweight. Under the care of his primary veterinarian and my wishes to holistically heal him, I began with Feliway diffusers and drops of Rescue Remedy in his rationed food. What helped him the most, however, were two things so simple and pleasuring for both of us – a good, old-fashioned comb and a firm hug. He dropped the weight and his belly fur grew back.
George was the yin to Bambino’s yang. He was the joy and light-hearted soul bringing beautiful balance to this home. Watching Bambino walk around this house, searching for his baby brother for the past forty-eight hours has been heart-wrenching. I’m trying to remain strong for both of us. I’m trying to reassure my big boy and myself, for that matter, that George and all of the gifts he gave us are still in our hearts. That will never be lost.
I called Bambino “Georgie” tonight. That’s not unusual. I would often call George “Bam” and vice versa, but tonight, it stung. And it stung hard. When I sat down at my desk at work, I turned on the small, decorative lamp I have with George and Bambino’s picture underneath it. Three minutes later, that light burnt out. That’s what it feels like in my world and what it will most likely feel like for a long while. A light went out at approximately 1 a.m. Monday morning.
Grief and Animals in the Afterlife
I like to think he’s in some after life snuggling my mother again. It’s a nice thought, but I can’t deny the anger and the pain that detests any thoughts of spirituality right now. I can’t deny the unjustness of my baby’s untimely absence. Maybe I didn’t birth a human baby boy, but I was George’s mother and I lost a son today and Bambino lost his brother.
I believe grief has a way of showing you how much and how hard you love. It’s going to take a long while for me not to take some of the blame. Everyone tells me I was only being a good mother by getting his teeth cleaned and that is the truth. I was trying to make sure he wouldn’t have to go through what my other baby went through. Bambino had an abscess tooth and had to have it surgically removed a couple of years ago by a specialist. I was trying to avoid that situation, but in doing so, my baby died. There is nothing that anyone can say or do right now to ease some of that guilt and pain. I have to work that out on my own.
A Million Beautiful Memories
George was my hugger. When I’d pick him up, he’d often wrap his little arms around my neck, burying his face in my hair. He couldn’t get close enough to you, harmlessly clawing at my shoulders as he tried. He had no regards for space, walking all over me in the middle of the night looking for the sweet spot to curl up and fall asleep. That sweet spot was often in between my legs at the folds of my knees so that he was surrounded by my body warmth. He was there the night before I rushed him to the emergency room.
I have a million beautiful memories with my little guy. I even heard his “meow” the morning of his death, as if he were just in the other room whining because he wanted attention. He had this annoying way of going to the litter box but accidentally hanging his butt out of the box when he pooped. I’d clean up his poop off the floor right outside the litter box every single day if it meant I could have my baby back. He would often spend so much time kneading my hair he’d drool in it and knot it up real good. I’d brush the tangles out of my hair every single day if it meant I could have my baby back.
George Completed Us
George loved bags, boxes, and baskets. He’d often squeeze his way into much smaller spaces even if he clearly didn’t fit. He loved crawling underneath the covers and falling asleep on my lap. He enjoyed being cleaned and cuddled by his big brother, often nuzzling his way into Bambino’s personal space. Bambino was consistently and graciously patient with him. My heart would burst every time I came home and they were snuggled up in the chair or on the pillow together. This was my little family that I would do anything to protect, that I would spoil with cans of tuna and catnip.
On Saturday mornings, I’d often wake with both of them curled up around me. I would lie there thinking how perfect this was, how happy this simple act made me. Now it’s Bambino and I again, which is how it was for two and a half years. This is how it shall remain because nothing could ever replace our Georgie.