Paw Prints On Our Hearts

This is a post that I never thought I would have to write or ever even think of. It’s something that not a lot of people tend to fully understand unless they’ve actually had one or experienced it firsthand; and that is witnessing and/or experiencing the death of a pet.

On Friday, November 3rd, at about 1 o’clock in the afternoon, I lost my absolute best friend in the entire world. If you knew me, you knew him, there was no way you didn’t. And even if you didn’t know me and you had me on social media, you still knew him somehow because I would always post about him; pictures, videos, etc.

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I’ve never known a loss like that before, and me just being the way that I am, have thought about it numerous amounts of times before; what it would probably end up being like, how I would probably feel, how my family would feel, and what we would even do after it happened. But believe me when I say that it was nowhere near the sadness and pain that I actually felt when I found out Spencer was gone.

I suppose when I really think about it though, my dad has it the worse than all of us in my family because he was alone in the house with him and the one who found him. He said it happened right after he sat down from making his lunch on Friday, he was about to take the first bite of his sandwich when all of a sudden he heard a fairly loud “hmmm,” it was like a huge sigh coming from Spencer. That was when he realized Spencer was behind him, so he turned around and was like “hey Spence, you okay? What’s goin on fats?” (because that’s what he would call him). And typically  when he would call him like that, Spencer would jump up and run to wherever my dad was, and this time he didn’t. My dad saw that he was sleeping, or so he thought, so he looked at him closer and realized he wasn’t seeing his stomach move up and down like it typically did when he was sleeping. He got nervous, and his initial reaction was “oh no, god no…,” so he got up, went closer to him to get a better look, and that’s when he realized that Spencer was gone….

It was basically like he heard Spencer take his last breath.

My dad hadn’t told anyone because my mom, brother and I were all at work and he didn’t want us to freak out halfway through the day and rush home. It wasn’t until about 3-4 pm that he finally got a hold of my brother, broke the news to him about what happened, and asked his advice on how to tell my mom and I. My brother agreed that he shouldn’t tell us until we got home where we could grieve in the comforts of our own home for as long as we needed.

It just so happened, however, that my mom was working this weekend and wouldn’t be home until the next day, Saturday afternoon,  so he felt he should wait until than to tell her. I on the other hand, happened to have to work late that day, so by the time I finally got home it was about 7 o’clock; we had dinner, spoke like normal about how our days went, and that was that. I don’t remember if it was when I first got home, or after we finished having dinner and we were cleaning up that I had asked him where Spencer was and he never gave me an answer about it. Actually, he kind of just ignored it altogether and started speaking about something else.

I found it weird because my dad is a neat freak, so he’s that type when we finish eating, he rushes us to finish up so we could move out of his way so that he can just clean everything up. But this was different, this time I was washing my hands from having finished eating and I don’t know if I was actually “taking long”, or if he was just really anxious to finally tell me what he had been bottling up all day, but he came out of nowhere and was like “hurry up! Aren’t you done yet????” And I just looked at him like …..okay…..? Are you really getting mad at me for this right now? I was just really confused. And then he came out with it. “I have something to tell you,” he said. “What?,” I said. And if you know me, you know that I automatically get really nervous when something like that is said to me (thanks a lot anxiety). “I don’t like this,” I said to him. And all he said was “Spencer….,” and I just backed away and knew. “No…..no no no no no!!” And that’s when I just dropped to the floor and broke.

I’m pretty sure I scared the fuck out of him because of the way that I broke down. I have never broken down like that before; I was screaming, crying, and hyperventilating. I literally felt like I couldn’t breathe, as if someone, an actual person that I knew and loved had died. I scared everyone that I had spoken to that night, my dad, brother and boyfriend. No one ever seen or heard me break down like that, I was inconsolable, and all because I knew that I had lost Spencer forever.

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People would tell me all the time whenever I told them how much I loved Spencer, like “Oh really?…but he’s just a cat?” But he wasn’t “just a cat”, he was so much more than that. I can’t even fully put into words how much more than “just a cat” he was. It was like he was part human, part horse, part dog, and then cat. If you heard the way he slept, he snored like a grown man. When he was slightly skinnier, younger and able to run around, you would hear him running around the house, galloping like a little horse. We had taught him the tricks of fetch, and how to roll over like a dog. He was the most chill, loving, funny little fat cat you would ever meet. Even people that had a strong disliking for cats, lost that entire feeling they had about them when they met Spencer. It was almost like how could you NOT love him after meeting him.

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We had Spencer for 13, almost 14 years. I still remember the day that we got him. It was nearly mid-October, and my parents didn’t say a word to us other than that they had a surprise for us. I remember being in the car with my parents and brother, and there being a towel, a little bottle, and a few other baby-related things, almost giving us (or mainly me) the impression that we were going to have a baby. They had taken us out to breakfast at this diner, then afterwards I remember being in the car, driving past all these houses until we stopped at one in particular. A friend of my mom’s, her name was Susan Downes. My mom introduced us to her, and we didn’t end up going inside the house, but I remember being in front of it, and if you stuck your head out towards the right a little, you saw these little things running to the opposite side towards the house next to theirs (which at the time I obviously didn’t know what any of them were). But I came to find that those little bunny type things that kept running back and forth were actually kittens. We kept watching them run from side to side as if they were playing tag with each other. It was the cutest thing! Then I remember seeing her husband coming towards us and having one of them in his hands, and then it all clicked….we were getting a kitten! It was the most exciting thing ever. It just so happened that that first one her husband brought to us was black, and my dad didn’t think that was “the one,” and it wasn’t until he went back to the backyard that my dad saw this little gray and white one run across by himself, that he knew, THAT was the one that had to be ours. So Susan’s husband grabbed that one, and that had officially become our new little baby. Picking his name was pretty easy because we had just so happened to be on Spencer St., and we ended up really liking the name and felt it suited him really well. And from than on, he had officially become the newest addition to our little family.

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Nearly 14 years later, and here we are. Who knew such a chubby little animal would come to mean so much to my family and I. This little four-legged animal that probably didn’t know or understand half the stuff he’d encountered throughout his little life, managed to touch all of our lives so deeply with just his presence alone.

Spencer, I love you so much, WE love you so much. You have no idea how unbelievably loved you were and how devastated we are now with your absence. You were anything but JUST a cat; I don’t even know what to consider you, like a little brother? A son? A friend? My best friend…you were always there. In the mornings when I would come out of the bathroom from brushing up, sitting right outside the door. When I was getting ready to leave for work, sitting by the door watching me as I got my stuff ready. When I came home late at night from work and the gym, sitting next to me while I had my dinner. When I wanted a little snack at night, following me to the kitchen so that you could get a piece of whatever it is I had, especially if it were chocolate. When dad was vacuuming the house, if I was downstairs you come and sit next to or under me because you felt safer that way, or you would run upstairs and find where I was to stay with me until he finished. If I was sad, upset or even if I was just plain relaxing in my room, you would come and just lay down and fall asleep right next to me and my bed and stay with me there for the entire night.

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I think that’s what I’ll miss most, your presence next to me. Just having you next to me, even if you were just sleeping, something so simple and innocent, me looking at you would make me smile. And now that’s gone, and I really don’t know how things are going to get better from this if I’m being completely honest.

I don’t know how people do this…I love animals, always have and always will; and if you really know me you know that if I could, I would have a ton of cats and dogs live with me in my house, but after this? I don’t know how I’ll ever be able to do it again. Life and death is inevitable, and I know that, but the amount of pain I felt and the memory in general that followed from this is something I’ll end up carrying with me for the rest of my life.

You are so loved and will never be forgotten or replaced little one.

“Sometimes, the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.”

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I love you Spencer, and I’m going to miss you so much.

9/11

Hi guys,

This is pretty much just an impromptu post that I felt like I should write about because it’s weighing heavy on my mind this morning, actually when I really stop to think about it, it weighs hard on my mind every year on this very day.

As I sit here in my desk at work writing this post, I can’t help but get teary-eyed recalling the events of that day.

I was about 6, in the first grade, and my brother was 10 in the 5th grade. I remember that day being extremely gloomy. It was cloudy out, almost as if Mother Nature knew and was trying to give us some sort of sign about what was going to happen that day. My mom was off from work, and took my brother and I to school like normal, at around 7:15-7:30. Within the hour, I think everyone (students-wise) started to realize something was going on and very wrong, because parents started coming to pick up their kids every few minutes. I remember at about 9 a.m., my parents came. I still didn’t know what was going on, but hey my parents were picking me up super early from school, so what did I care? “No classes or homework for me today!,” I thought.

I remember coming out of the school and I saw my dad standing a few feet away at the corner looking at something in the distance. I ran to him to say hi, he hugged me and I looked where he was looking at. He showed me in the distance what he was looking at, but to me all I saw was a bunch of really dark smoke in the air. He didn’t say much to me about it, I guess because 1. He didn’t want to scare me, and 2. He probably thought I was too young to understand what was going on anyway.

Nonetheless, I was ready to go home and for some reason we were still waiting in front of the school for something, so I asked him “where did mom go?”, “She went to get Lynae and Justin,” he said. Now I KNEW something was off because they never picked up other peoples’ kids, but we were all friends, so hey cool, no school and we were having friends over!!

The rest of the day was kind of a blur, I just remember us going back to my house afterwards, and watching the news of everything that was going on in Manhattan.

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With every year that goes by, I think about it more and more and begin to think/realize how lucky and grateful I am that my mom wasn’t working that day. I don’t even remember why she had off or taken off that day, on a Tuesday of all days, but if she didn’t, lord knows what could’ve happened….

As grateful as I am of that, I can’t help but also feel an immense amount of sadness, because many people were not as lucky as I was. So many people, kids, babies, etc., lost mothers, fathers, uncles, aunts, and/or all of the above, it’s insane and heartbreaking to think about.

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How can people just wake up one morning and decide they’re going to terrorize an entire city, kill thousands upon thousands of innocent people in the process and not think twice about it?

It’s been 16 years since this happened, and it still feels like just yesterday to most people, including myself. I think the older I get now, the more intense it is to think about and the deeper the sadness is to feel, because you understand everything about it so much more. And the memories of it all becomes much more vivid. I find this day seems to affect me more with each year that passes, which I guess is odd since it didn’t actually directly hurt me or my family in any way, but I guess just thinking about how horrific that day was for all of New York, and how much it still affects people to this very day is what gets me.

I also think it puts everything else into perspective for people, including myself again; to not only think about all of the innocent lives lost through this tragedy, but those people who SACRIFICED their lives to attempt to help this dire situation in any possible way they could; the firemen, policemen, EMTs, etc., the list could truly go on and on. As cliche as it may be/sound, we need to learn to be grateful for every single person in our lives because you really don’t know when it’ll be the last time you’ll see them; there’s no….I don’t want to say better, because what happened is in no way, shape, or form good, but for lack of a better word, I’ll say greater….there is no greater example of that then what happened on September 11, 2001. These poor people were just going about their everyday lives and routines, going to work, etc., and this happened, ignorant, selfish people took it upon themselves to take their beautiful lives away over spite for something these people had absolutely no control over.

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It almost feels wrong and selfish to attempt to go through this day and be happy, while so many people around the world are still suffering from this day, and I think that’s why I always feel down about it. It’s almost as if I have no right to be so happy and cheerful, and that’s why my depression gets the best of me on this particular day. I never want or care for going out, going to work, school, etc., doing anything in general really that could make me happy whenever this day comes, because it doesn’t do anything to help what happened.

People say we have to keep fighting everyday to show the rest of the world that that one tragedy did not get the best of us, that in fact it actually brought us closer together and made us stronger; it’s a nice thought, but I just wish I could be doing more to help with it all and make a more positive impact.

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I really had to take a breather from writing this post, because all this morning I was writing, and a lot of my sadness started turning into anger. I really started letting it affect me, in a way that I should not have. It wasn’t until I left for my break, and took a walk for that hour that I realized, not only do I have to appreciate all of the people in my life right now, but I also have to be appreciative of my life, and how beautiful life in general can really be. It’s a beautiful day outside, the sun came up again, I’m living to see another day, I have a home to go to at the end of the day, I have an amazing job, amazing family, amazing boyfriend, and an amazing life (in spite of how I may feel about it sometimes). Many people in the world today are nowhere near as lucky as I am, and I don’t in any way mean that in a conceited way, but it’s just the fact of the matter, a lot of people aren’t as fortunate, unfortunately. So as horrible, as this day may be or feel because of something that happened so long ago, we have to somehow look at the positives in our life today, and really push through one way or another, especially since it would probably be what everyone who lost their lives that day would want from their families and friends.

To all the men and women that sacrificed their lives on this day, 16 years ago, thank you so much. No amount of gratitude I think will ever be enough to be able to compensate for all of your lives that were lost on that day, but at least somehow knowing that each and every one of you were/are appreciated I hope will somehow be a start. And to all the people that so sadly lost their lives to such evil people, I’m so sorry, not one of you deserved that. But I hope and pray that each and every one of your families are somehow managing to do well, and push through with you in their minds with each day that passes.

Gone but NEVER forgotten ❤ 

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-Xoxo Leo Girl