February 20, 2013

One Year Later: Without Nick

Yesterday I mentioned my gentle giant, Nicholas, to someone...a memory I had of him, something funny he had done to a-mewse me. As I spoke about him, it occurred to me that he had passed away in February 2012. I checked the date on his urn, and saw it was today, February 20th. I couldn't believe it has been one full year since Nick passed away from a mold-related respiratory infection.

I still can't believe he's gone. I tried not to think about him too much during those first awful weeks. His bed lay untouched where he last slept in it. The other cats didn't dare nap in it--it belonged to their missing leader. His dinner bowl, a wobbly, pottery mishap with an apple painted on the bottom and a chip on its rim went unused. His black cloth collar with magical decorations and a giant red heart name tag dangled from my bedside lamp. For months.

I still have not inserted his photo onto his urn. I have a photo of him propped against it, but its not the right photo. The one that I will forever associate with my sweet Nicky is this one, and I have yet to have it printed from my computer.
I realize now that I have to print it. I have to cherish his memory without tears. It's just that it really hurt to lose him. In the beginning, Nick wasn't an easy cat to love, but love him I did--for reasons I didn't understand at the time, but now I do.

Sometimes someone -- be they human or animal -- comes into your life for a reason, to teach you something, to give you something you didn't know you needed until they gave it to you. That's what Nick did for me. He arrived on the heels of the death of Genny, an angel who touched my soul, who Ray and I mourn still, fourteen years later. He filled the need to be needed in me. He had spirit, and intelligence. He had a silly personality, yet clearly his heart had been wounded from neglect. So I guess you could say I filled that need in him.

From December 1999 to February 2012 Nick and I were best friends. I love my other cats, but Nick and I had a deep bond that lingers still.

In January a stray cat family arrived in my yard, hungry and desperate for help. Mom cat had four kittens with her. The daddy cat...looks like Nick, sounds like Nick...and has that silly, goofball personality like Nick.
He's not Nick, of course...but that Nikolas arrived in my life almost a year to the day I lost Nicholas makes me wonder if perhaps he was sent to fill my arms, and let me hug on a gentle giant of a cat, one last time.
Nicholas Ridiculous!

Nikolas Ridikolas!


 Please click for links to the stories: Celebrating Nick, Black Mold, and Mold Symptoms.


  1. this was exquisitely written and I so understand your pain. I lost my Bobo in 2007 after being "soulmates" for 18 years. I also have an urn with his photo on it.
    I think it was no coincidence that a 'LOOK-ALIKE" cat turned up a year to the day later.

  2. That was so heartbreaking! I know how long it takes to mourn the loss of a beloved pet. BlackBaby has been gone since 2001 and I still mourn him. Perhaps the new Nick was sent to comfort you. Hugs

  3. I am in tears. Those of us who have fur children know this grief and while it eases in intensity, it is still there. We love them after all. My Lady Bianca has been gone a year last December.

    I love knowing that an entire fur family came to you.