I keep reminding myself how - exactly one year ago - I wrote about the loss of my sister's dog, Spiky, and how - months later - I ended up becoming an owner of two cats, Oreo and Squeak, and how I was adapting to being a 'cat owner'.
I'll get to those two by the end of this post.
2023 will be remembered - once again - for some goodbyes I had to make. However, there was a 'Hello' when I became a great uncle for the first time.
I lost my aunt from Ireland over the summer.
I think I can be fair by stating she was the aunt I was the closest to from my mother's side of the family. After all - she played double duty as my godmother.
One of the things I was glad about - if you can use that phrase in this situation - is, after my parents spoke with her from her hospital bed in the evening, I suggested they call her again the following morning rather than wait twenty-four hours. Well, they did that and got to kind of speak with my aunt for a final time. By the time they rang later that day, Nancy was no longer able to communicate and passed away hours afterwards.
My intuition can only go so far, though.
It has been exactly three weeks since Squeak left us and I have been playing his final days through my mind.
I am going to live with the fact that I didn't act sooner to help him for the rest of my life.
The biggest problem with what happened to Squeak is that he had a constipation issue a month or so before his final few days. I lulled myself into thinking he would get through it just like he had done previously. I kept holding on thinking his stomach would eventually settle. It didn't.
Squeak very well could still be here today if I hadn't experienced him pull through that little battle he had weeks earlier.
I learned a hard lesson when Squeak died.
But, in his life, I did realise something. And it does include Oreo.
I have gone through life thinking all cats are the same. Granted, I didn't OWN any, but I have been around relatives', neighbours' and friends' animals and I never once stopped to consider each one had their own characteristics and quirks.
Sometime over the summer, I wrote in my journal about how lucky I was to have two contrasting personalities in Oreo and Squeak.
Oreo is the one who gets himself into the most trouble by jumping all over the place, making the most noise while Squeak was the laid back one.
When Squeak left us, I concluded I am never going to find a cat who could roll on his back when I ask 'do you want your belly rubbed?', look like a vampire with protruding fangs whenever he felt like it, follow me around the room before lights out just so he could hug me when the room's main lights went out or jump me in the mornings for another hug before the day started, swipe at my fingers when he thought it was his turn to have one of he and Oreo's Dreamies at treat time, find room in a crisp box and make himself look like the coolest cat on Channel 5 and more.
Sure, there's bound to be a cat with one, two or three of that kind of character. But there will never one which has ALL of those characteristics which made up Squeak.
Just like there's one Oreo with all his quirks.
Not all cats are the same. I know that now. And I learned that late in life thanks to those two. And I shall continue to learn new things with Oreo as we head onto 2024 with our memories of Squeaky.
I wrote about Ireland and characters today. There's only one fitting way to roll out of here.
Be yourself, everyone else is taken
- Oscar Wilde