BlackJack: Our Memory Now

Hi all. Planned on posting something writing-related this week but that wasn’t to be. Last Saturday, my favorite cat got sick. Tuesday he died. Vet has no idea why.   After a very rough day and a pretty sleepless night, I found the letter below on the counter, written by my 12-year-old, who initially noticed BlackJack was looking less well than he had the previous day.

He expired a few minutes later. Earlier that morning, he’d thrown up the second antibiotic the vet gave in as many days, less than 30 minutes after I’d administered it. I knew where we were headed. I just didn’t realize how soon. Thankfully, we didn’t have to ask the vet to put him down.

                    

When it comes to loss of a pet, not everyone understands. I’m so grateful for those who do. This big black boy was  nearly a yard long; in April, he topped the scales at nearly seventeen pounds. (My antennae had gone up at the vet’s when he weighed in at a little over fourteen pounds with no apparent reason for the weight loss.) Sweet and anxious and probably not the brightest bulb in the cat box, he had the best disposition. He came to us at about four months, after my friend’s neighbor trapped him and his sibling. Took him six months to stop hiding and make himself part of the family, but he so made up for lost time. During winter nights, I’d tuck my feet under him. Countless mornings, my husband and I woke up with him stretched full-length between us, a paw on one of my shoulders. Or, he’d wrap both paws around my arm or hubby’s while purring loud enough to replace any clock-radio.  Not one morning could I go into the bathroom w/o him following me in, lol. He looked like royalty and he was my baby.

Just thought I’d share my son’s letter:

Dear Blackie,

We will miss you and never forget you. You were the greatest cat ever. You’re in our memories, and also in heaven. In heaven you won’t have to suffer and be sick. You’ll be happy and healthy. You are a great boy. God is with you now. I’ll miss you and so will everyone else. You were the best cat ever. We love you, Blackie, 2004-2011.  😦

Your family and cat buddies (Screwball and Mauer McNabb)

Until next time,

Joanna

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26 thoughts on “BlackJack: Our Memory Now

  1. Hi Joanna. So very sorry to hear about his passing. It must have been a shock to you. Your son’s letter is very touching. How much our pets become part of our families. Once again, I’m sorry for your loss. ~ Mickey

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    1. Thanks so much, Mickey. That’s what makes this so hard. He was a little over seven and came to us after I put down my Rowsy, who lived to 22+ years. Among the reasons I was so attached to him: my BlackJack reminded me of my first black cat, Coalie, an equally sweet and less anxious male who died even more unexpectedly at about three years of age. Both probably ingested something they shouldn’t have.

      I greatly appreciate your kind words. Thanks again and have a wonderful day.

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  2. Dear Joanna, I’m so sorry that BlackJack has moved on. Our furry friends own a part of our hearts and souls and it hurts so much when they leave us behind. I once read a poem that I thought summed it up quite well. I can’t recall it word for word but it was something to the effect that we’re all put here on earth to learn the art of unconditional love. The reason that humans outlive animals by so many years is because it takes us so much longer to grasp the concept of loving without getting anything in return. Animals develop this art much quicker than we do. That’s why they’re allowed to move on to the higher place much sooner than we are. I know your family’s hearts are sad right now but I’m certain BlackJack’s spirit is still watching over you all. My thoughts are with you, my friend.

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    1. Thank you so much, Maeve. I love what you wrote here. I can feel my boy’s spirit and speak to him constantly but I miss terribly reaching out to his beautiful, physical self. Think it will be a very long time before I don’t expect him to be in his usual spots at home.

      Again I thank you for your very kind words. Enjoy your day.

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  3. I am so sorry for your loss..having lost a few family pets I can feel your pain. They are part of your life and are there everyday for you and they can sometimes fill those empty spaces in your heart you didn’t know you had. Your son’s letter was so heartaching, yet at the same time very profound.
    And he is in a better place. It is much of what I recently told my young nieces and nephews when my mother, their grandmother died in May. That she is out of pain and dancing through heaven with their grandpa…

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    1. Thank you, Kathleen. The hard part is that BIGGER empty space those pets leave behind. Not sure those voids are ever completely filled but remembering brings peace. Praying for your family’s peace in their time of loss, too. Thank you again.

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  4. Joanna, I am truly sorry for your loss. Pets are so special–our little dog Bruce is my constant cheerleader. I pray you will all heal quickly, and find comfort in sharing your Blackjack stories with other pet owners–we understand!

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    1. Thank you, Anna. There is much comfort in sharing the stories. Little by little, I’m sure I will.

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  5. It is hard to lose a pet. I have been there. Your son’s letter was beautiful and said it all. Your cat is up in heaven, playing with all the other animals, probably my dogs. What a beautiful thought! When we go to heaven, we will see our loved ones and our pets.
    Linda Cacaci

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  6. What a lovely tribute your son wrote – and your memorial was lovely too. People who have never known the love of an animal can never understand how much part of the family they are and how it breaks our heart to lose them. Those who have, know.

    I’ve lost three horses, a cat and four dogs and still miss them all, each one was special in their own way and will never be forgotten. The love of a rescued animal repays one ten times over and more for taking them in. Blackjack was beautiful and will live on in your heart until you’re reunited ‘over the Rainbow Bridge.’ I for one can’t believe God would create a Heaven for humans and not allow their animal friends in as well. * Hugs*

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    1. What beautiful sentiments, Lyn. Not sure how you’ve gotten through the passing of all those lovely creatures you mentioned. I look forward to meeting your pets, too, one day. Thanks so much for sharing your comforting thoughts.

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  7. I’m so sorry for your loss. We have a houseful of pets and we love each and every one of them. They all have their personalities and sweet ways they show how much they love us.

    I was tearing up at your son’s letter. I still am. lol

    BlackJack was a lucky cat to have found a family to take care of him. He showed his appreciation with every purr, every touch of his paws and every time he followed you into another room. You may have other pets after him, but no matter what, there will be one place in your heart that belongs to him always.

    Take care.

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    1. True, Karen. No other cat will ever fill the void this one left. I’d always tell him he was the ‘bestest, exceptin’ for my Coalie,’ who left a hole all his own. Thanks so much for stopping by and offering your support. Everyone has been wonderful.

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  8. You and Blackjack were so lucky to have found each other. Even though the end came too soon, you had some beautiful years. What a cool tribute you wrote, and your son’s letter is so heartwarming. Hugs to you and your family.

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  9. Oh Joanna, your blog really made my cry. I know exactly what it’s like to lose a pet. They are like our children. I am so sorry you lost Black Jack. He was a beautiful cat from the picture. Your son’s letter was so sweet. Black Jack was such a lucky boy to have lived with such a loving family like yours.

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    1. So glad you said it, Sarah. That’s exactly how I feel, as if I lost a little one. The blessings definitely went both ways. Funny, the little tortoise shell cat (McNabby) has been hanging a little closer since my sweet black boy left. Thanks so much for your very kind words. I greatly appreciate them.

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  10. I’m so sorry about your cat! I have three myself and have been a cat person for over twenty years. Thanks for sharing his story. He sounds so precious.

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  11. Precious is a wonderful way to describe my boy. He’s gone a week already; doesn’t seem possible. Thanks so much for dropping by. Hope all is well with you.

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  12. I’m so sorry for the loss of your cat. They do hold a piece of our hearts in their paws, don’t they. But what a wonderful son you have! I love the brave way he gave his blessing to the kitty’s trotting off to be with God. Completely selfless. He’s only 12, you say, but he’s already a good man. 🙂

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    1. Love the imagery of this very kind comment, Texanne. Thank you so very much for taking the time to stop by and express your very kind words. They are a balm, especially today, exactly one week after my sweet boy left me.

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