Goodbye Bella.

This morning I was given the ashes of my cat, Bella. Bella was my friend and companion for almost 16 years. One week ago today, on January 4th 2009, Bella’s life slipped out of his small body as I held him in my arms.

I was twenty-four when Bella, a six week-old kitten, came into my life. Since then, Bella had been by my side. He was the one constant I could always count on. Now, I am forced to learn to get used to him not being around. I’ve been struggling to talk about this and the loss I feel for the last week. All I can say at this moment is that I feel the wind has been taken out of my sails.

When someone loses a human friend, family member or other loved one, society tends to accept all the ceremony and funeral ritual around remembering the person that died and the grieving that accompanies that loss.  Although the pain and grief can be just as difficult, when losing an animal companion, there isn’t a socially acceptable way to express that grief.

As someone who has recently lost one of the best friends he’s ever had, I find myself trying to navigate through those very waters now. Bella’s death was quick and unexpected. Through the years and until he died, Bella’s personality, caring and unconditional love made my life better. In those last moments, as he struggled to breathe, I looked into his eyes and thanked him for all he brought to my life.

I’m thankful in the end that Bella wasn’t alone and his suffering was brief. Now, with a small container of ashes nearby, I am really missing him.

Bella, this one is for you…

“Why Should I Cry For You” – Sting

[audio:http://galindo.me/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/whyshouldicryforyou.mp3|titles=Why Should I Cry For You]

0 comments

  1. Molly says:

    David, it’s been awhile since I’ve checked your blog, and I had no idea that Bella died. I am so sad to hear that you lost what I would consider to be a close family member. I dread the day that I have to go through the same thing with mine. The Meestor (my male 18 pounder) and I have been together for 9 years and I’ve had him since he was a baby. There is nothing like the loyalty and companionship of a loving pet. I’m hoping Garla is doing ok too.

    • David says:

      Molly – Even though I knew the day would come sometime, it was unexpected and I wasn’t prepared for it. Garla, my younger cat (she’s 5 years old) has made adjusting a lot easier though.
      Garla has gone through her own period of mourning too. I got her as a kitten and she’s the first cat Bella ever got along with. He seemed to adopt her as his own. Up until the day before he died, he would clean the fur on her head while she snuggled up against him. For the last 2 weeks, Garla has stayed really close to my side but she’s doing better and helping me through it all. Thanks again for thinking of us.
      By the way, I love what you call your cat – The Meestor – that is great!

  2. Molly says:

    This post was so touching, David. It’s obvious Bella will always hold a special place in your heart. Personally, I think sometimes pets can be closer to us than friends… friends are humans with flaws, and can hurt us or turn their backs on us. Pets love is unconditional, and they are always there for you and always happy to see you. It’s a shame more people don’t understand that during times like these 🙁

    You and Bella are in my thoughts! Keep your chin up <3

    • David says:

      Thanks for the thoughts Molly. What you said about pets and their unconditional love is exactly right. Having someone understand has made this time easier for me.

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