Ten years ago today, I brought home the sweetest little grey bundle of purr, direct from the RSPCA. Eight weeks old and the smallest little runt in the cage of kittens – I knew the moment my eyes landed on her that she was mine, and I quickly became hers on the way home in the car, as she curled up in my elbow and snuffled and snoozed.
Shalimar was a gift from a special lady – her own daughter, a friend of mine, had died from Anorexia after a lifelong battle. This lady had financed a clinic in Brisbane and insisted that I go to it, and I did for eighteen months. I didn’t get better from going there, but I stayed out of hospital for a whole eighteen months which in itself was a miracle at that time – some things work for some, not for others.
She truly has kept me alive. She’s loved me unconditionally, she’s given me a reason to hang on when otherwise I might have just let go. Prevented me from slipping into a mini-coma like I did a few times before adopting her – times when I would take a nap, usually in the afternoon, and not wake up until several days later – completely unaware that it had been any longer than the passing of a few hours. A huge shock when I realised how much time I had lost.
Now, ten years later, I am being flooded with so many emotions… Where did the time go? Can she really be so old? If I didn’t have her, would I even still be alive? Most probably not.
And what will I do, when I no longer have her? I can’t bear to think of that today, on this special day. But I’ve been worrying about this a lot lately. Ten years old is not ‘too’ old for a cat – people have told me they have cats aged 15, 19 years old. But I’m aware of how short life is. And I am terrified of life without her. At the moment, there is no possibility of life without Shalimar – when she dies, my life is over.
I know many people will find that trite and trivial – it’s not, to me. She has been my everything for her whole life. I have never been as close to any living creature, human or otherwise, as I am to her.
I know that’s life. Loved ones are born, loved ones leave, loved ones die… and it hurts every single one of us so much. I need to toughen up and accept that, I know I do. And I guess I’m working on that. Because I have a feeling I’m meant to be here a lot longer than another 5-10 years .