As the words left her mouth, I knew I should have stopped her. Four little words had the power to rip out my heart, chew it up, and spit it at my feet. This was my big moment of weakness. This was the time I learned of my cat’s last night.
That was a night I would always remember. It was quiet out, no sound was disturbing the night, not even the April winds. Even ‘Nothing was stirring, not even a mouse’ would have been putting it lightly. To most people, it would’ve been a night to get caught up on any school work or projects they might have had. For me, it was nothing of the sort.
We were upstairs, and the only thing that could be heard was the wretched sobbing of four voices. One of these voices was me. I was attempting to ask my mother something, but my voice was trapped by the knot in my throat. I put my fingers up and tried to find where it was so I could push it away. The only thing my fingers found was the skin on my neck, which was slick with fresh tears. I pushed, and pushed, and pushed. The knot stayed there. I got so exasperated a fresh wave of tears burst forth.
Finally, I croaked out, “M-Mom? Will I see Hannah tomorrow morning?” My vision was obscured, so I could barley see the shape I believed to be my mom. When she didn’t say anything my hand slowly reached down and stroked the soft shape that lay next to me. You could feel the sharp bones that laid just beneath her fragile skin. My heart broke even more, because this was a reminder that she wasn’t just dying of old age. She was dying of kidney failure. We had tried our best to get rid of it, but it would just come back.
Then, at last, I heard the thin voice of what use to be my mother, “I don’t think so, Lucy… It’s Hannah’s last night.” Those four little words. It took no less than five seconds for me to comprehend what she said, feel my heart stop, and tears to cascade down my face. Not in droplets, but in rivers and rivers of salty water that filled the cracks of my nose and smothered my taste buds. I knew what the answer was going to be, but I still wasn’t prepared for it.
My hand shifted so that it would caress her cheek. Oh, how she use to love for us to do that. I looked at her frail body… if you had seen it, you wouldn’t have believed that she had once been one of the most agile hunters ever. I licked my lips and a new burst of the salty flavor flooded into me. I replayed those words coming out of my mother’s mouth. Every- and I mean EVERY- single time it felt like a Llama kicking me in the chest.
One hand over my swollen heart, the other every so carefully feeling the smooth fur of a beautiful cat for the last time, my face buried into a pillow, shoulders shaking with silent sobs. That is what I looked like. I felt even worse. I felt weak, that in turn made me feel bad because I believed that I had to be the strong one for Hannah. I tried to smile at her, but it wouldn’t last.
I try to think of Hannah every single 365 days in a year and then maybe some more. Even though it was a time of great sadness, it taught me to be okay with crying. It’s not a display of weakness, it’s a show of love. You only ever cry at things you love, and love is what keeps the world going. That is why the world is full of tears- both joyful and sorrowful. And that is why the tears will never stop flowing.