First, I want to thank the many people and cats who offerred words of comfort to us about Skeeter. Thank you all. You kind words and thoughts helped me through this difficult day I had been seeing coming for a couple of months, and dreading.
I know so many of us have lost "once in a lifetime" cats and feel the same pain and loss. I know I am not unique in that way. But Skeeter was MY "once in a lifetime cat", and I am sufferring his loss all over again right now.
I'll be honest. Most days I am happy to live alone with my several cats. LC, Ayla, and Iza are wonderful in their own ways and I am grateful for their company. But for the past year, hardly a day goes by when I don't think of Skeeter and cry for his absence. I never thought that a cat could leave such a hole in my heart. His absence is, if I may quote Mecutio "' not so deep as a well, nor so wide as a church-door, but tis enough, 'twill serve;". I am every day reminded of his absence. I was not so before.
There were some questions about Skeeter (some in blog comments and some in emails)...
Skeeter lived to 16.5 years. He was not 5 when he died. But he is 5 over the Bridge. That was his own choice of a perfect age to be forever. LC says she wants to be 2 years. Ayla and Iza do not have to think about that yet.
Skeeter got his name because, after he got over his fear of me his first days, he wouldn't stay away from me. He stayed around me like a mosquito and we called mosquitos "skeeters" when I was young.
When I brought Skeeter's body back from the vet, it took 15 minutes to drive the 2 miles. I had to pull over several times to wipe the tears from my eyes. I cry easily when emotionally upset and I am not ashamed about it. You can't drive safely while crying. It was a difficult drive home.
I set Skeeter's body on the floor so that LC and Ayla could sniff him carefully to understand that he was dead. I didn't want them to think that he had wandered off and gotten lost. Or been given away. I think they understood. LC did wander around a few days calling out. But not 2 weeks like when Tinkerbelle simply disappeared 10 years ago. Ayla seemed to simply accept he was dead. So, yes, I think that helped them. Iza arrived after Skeeter was gone.
He is buried in the last place he spent outside. He never had any special place in the yard, but he did spend his day outside near the small pond. I dug a hole about 3 feet deep when I hit rocks I couldn't remove. I put some soft soil back in and set him down on it. Backfilling the hole was the hardest thing I have ever done.
About once a month, I simply stand in front of the little memorial I made for him and remember him. I recall how he would just pass out while being scritched on my lap. And how he always smelled like talcum powder. And how he would purr forever when being stroked.
I will miss him all the rest of my days...