It’s been four and a half months since you’ve been gone. It doesn’t seem like it’s been that long. If I left it in, the pain and anger and heartache are still so fresh and devastating. At the same time though, it seems like it’s been forever since I got to rub your head, hear your roar, look into those beautiful, wild eyes of yours.
Sometimes I just say your name out loud to myself. Caster. Mudgey. Little Mudge. Mudge Man. It seems silly I guess, but I really miss saying your name. That’s one thing on a list of many that I miss. The comfort of feeling you curled up between my knees when I wake up in the middle of the night. Your presence on the bathroom counter when I get ready in the morning. The sound of you sliding down the door frames…
Speaking of door frames, I did some touching up of the walls, door frames, and base boards over the Christmas break. I never really realized how big of a mark you left on this house, quite literally. Every door frame bears scratch marks from where you climbed up them and slid down. You also left a stain on the wall corner in the kitchen from when you would rub against it every day at meal times. I couldn’t bring myself to paint over any of those places. Our door frames may be scratched up, but I don’t care. They will always remind me of you.
That’s a catch-22 though. Memories. I don’t want to think back on all the memories because it hurts too bad. Yet that’s all that’s left. That’s all I have. Trying not to think about you while also trying to hold onto all the memories is a hard line to walk.
I came across this poem online the other day, and it really resonated with how I feel.
“I Only Wanted You”
They say memories are golden
well maybe that is true.
I never wanted memories,
I only wanted you.
A million times I needed you,
a million times I cried.
If love alone could have saved you
you never would have died.
In life I loved you dearly,
In death I love you still.
In my heart you hold a place
no one could ever fill.
If tears could build a stairway
and heartache make a lane,
I’d walk the path to heaven
and bring you back again.
Our family chain is broken,
and nothing seems the same.
But as we are called one by one,
the chain will link again,
“I only wanted you.” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought that and said it in the last few months. “I just want Caster.” It makes me feel so bratty and childish every time I say it. But it’s the truth.
Christmas was hard this year. It’s usually my favorite time of year. It seemed like a cruel joke this year though. Last Christmas we were celebrating your seemingly miraculous recovery from your mystery illness. It was a Christmas miracle! But this year I was having to hang your stocking and put your paw print ornament on the tree, knowing they were just going to be constant reminders of your absence. I couldn’t bring myself to leave your stocking off the mantle though.
Today is the 6th anniversary of the day I found you in woods behind our old apartment building – your “birthday.” That is probably one of the most vivid memories I have. It’s such a great one. I know I will carry it with me forever. Just as I’ll carry you with me forever.
What I would give to live that moment again… To see you one more time…
Happy Birthday, Caster. I miss you. I love you.