I had to put down my cat this week. Blitzen has been a part of my life since the 6th grade and he has seen every iteration of me from puberty to adulthood. He was there when I was being bullied to the point of near-death in middle school and high school. He saw me struggle with my mental health in 2012 and 2013. He was there when I came out in 2016, and he had been there during my crisis of faith these last four years. All the while, with the most loving gaze that saw right through my soul.

I’m devastated by his loss. Some days, I stuck around this earth just because of him. He made my life better and richer, and he made me a better person. There were days when he let me cry into his fur for hours. He was my anchor while I navigated some incredibly turbulent waters, many times, on my own. I wouldn’t be who I am without him.

I believe, on rare occasions, two souls cross each other’s paths and they both see each other. They both know they were made the same. That’s the way I feel about him. I said earlier that he saw through my soul, but I also saw through his. That’s rare. It’s special, and I don’t know what I’m going to do without him.

A coworker told me when I mentioned to her that I was going to have to put my cat down, “you’ll just get a new cat.” But for me, it’s not like that. I can’t just get a new cat. Blitzen was not an iPhone where I can just run out to Best Buy and replace him. He was a part of me, he was a kindred spirit. He was family. 

You don’t replace family. You can’t replace family.

I don’t know how I’m going to go on without him, all I know is that I will. I’m strong, but this one hurts. A lot. Not much of anything or anyone has been in my life for as long as Blitzen has. I haven’t loved almost anyone or anything for as long or as much as I loved that truly special and unique cat.

The night we put him down, after everyone went to bed, I cried. I ugly cried. I ugly cried in a way I haven’t in over 10 years. But it’s not a bad thing. I’m giving myself permission to feel it all or to not feel anything, to be sad, to be happy, and not to judge any of it. That’s the example Blitzen set for me when he would cuddle up next to me when I was sad or angry. And that’s what I’m going to do for myself, now. The next few weeks and months aren’t going to be easy. There is no but to that statement. They will just suck. It’s okay not to be okay though, and right now, I am not okay. In time, I will be, but not now.

Pets are guaranteed heartbreakers, but I wouldn’t trade my time with Blitzen for anything. He cannot be replaced nor should he be.

The night before he died, I pointed to my rainbow shirt and told him I’d meet him on the purple part of the rainbow bridge some day, but I still have a mission to complete earthside. Blitzen has completed his mission, but here I remain, with a hole in my heart. That hole will become a scar eventually, not fully healed but able to go on best it can. I can’t say now when that will happen, but I know it will. There will be a day when Blitzen’s memory brings a smile to my face before it brings a tear to my eye. That day will be beautiful, indeed. 

He was loved. He loved me.

May his memory forever be a blessing.

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