Sunday, August 23, 2020

Remembering Scarlett

Friends, it pains me to end a five-year lapse in posting with this announcement, but I must share with you that the adventures of Scarlett and Melly have come to an end: we said goodbye to my dear sweet Scarlett this afternoon.

As you know, Scarlett had been coping with various age-related chronic ailments for some time, but it became clear over the last month or so that something more serious was wrong. It turned out to be lymphoma, and was already fairly advanced by the time it was diagnosed. Josh and I made the wrenching decision to let Scarlett have one amazing week of adventures, treats, and snuggles, and then to let her go.

It happened that Josh and I had the week off from work, so we spent our days catering to Scarlett's every whim. She got to eat fried chicken, whipped cream, the meat out of our sandwiches, and ice cream. She returned to her outdoor cat roots and spent hours investigating every square inch of the back yard. She got to swat and yell at her nemesis, an orange cat whom she had previously only engaged through the living room window. And we gave her all the cuddles and scritches she could stand.

While I had the distinction of loving Scarlett the longest, I am not sure I can claim to have loved her the most; Josh and Scarlett formed a deep and unshakable bond over the last five years. I would often find her laying next to him with one paw resting possessively on his leg or arm. When Scarlett was having trouble eating over these last few weeks, he patiently fed her little bits of food by hand, or put some on his finger so she could lick it off.

Scarlett used to spend every night sleeping between me and the edge of the bed, but one night a couple of years ago, she burrowed her way in between Josh's pillow and mine, and that was her spot henceforth. Some nights, she'd share my pillow; other nights, she'd share Josh's. Once, Josh and I fell asleep holding hands, and I woke up later to find that Scarlett had peeled one of my fingers away from Josh's hand and was gripping it with her tiny paw. We spent hours last week, the three of us, Scarlett in the middle, trying to soak up the time together.

I have told Scarlett's origin story here before, so you know that she came into my life when I was a teenager. She was with me every step of the way as I figured out how to become a (more or less) functional adult human. Taking care of her helped me learn to take care of myself. I defined myself, in part, as her person. Facing the future without her by my side is an acutely painful prospect.

I know that many of you have lost beloved pets and are familiar with this heartbreak. I started this blog ten years ago just to share photos of Melly's ridiculousness, but ended up finding this wonderful online community (which I extend to those of you on Instagram and Facebook). I am so grateful to all those who have shared their experiences, friendship, and support, especially over this last awful week. Scarlett was lucky to have been loved by this truly stellar group of humans and kitties. I appreciate you all so much.