Last month we said goodbye to our cat, Europa. It was a hard time for us, but it was especially hard for his companion, Ganymede. They did everything together. From the time they were kittens, they were bonded by an enduring love. They were a pair. And pretty much you would never say one cat’s name without including the other.
As Europa became ill, they spent a little less time with each other. Gany grew more reclusive, and Europa just wanted to be closer to people. He would even put up with being around the dogs, just to be included more with us
Gany, on the other hand, became a loner. She was never fond of the dogs, so she would stay in Greg’s office (or her “room” as we called it). She would wait patiently for Europa to come back to her and then cuddle and sleep with him. She would only occasionally leave the room to explore the kitchen when the dogs were off for a walk, then creep back to her room when they came home.
When it was evident that Europa’s time was short, we grew worried about Gany. He was her whole life and we were concerned she would just give up.
Unfortunately, we were right. We lost Ganymede this past week.
We tried everything: special food, extra attention, more special food, and cuddles from our other cat, Misty. We hugged her, petted her, and groomed her. She wanted none of it, especially the food and water. She spent the last month, sleeping and just staring blankly at us. She was a cat without hope and she wasted away despite being surrounded by love and attention.
Sorry, I know this sad and not very joyful. But what breaks my heart the most is that it didn’t have to be that way. In Ganymede’s eyes, the world revolved around just one being in her life: Europa. She shut herself off from any one else. While she loved Greg (and me, sometimes), he paled in comparison to Europa. She would cuddle and want to be petted and played with, but she would easily ignore all of that to be with Europa (or nap). I know this happens with people, as well. We’ve all heard about those married couples who have been each other’s soul mate, living in each others pockets and when one dies, the other quickly follows. It’s so difficult to watch and know that there really wasn’t much you can do.
I think it’s all about hope.
I think that hope is one of the most powerful and intangible things in our universe. Hope keeps us going, looking for better things in our lives. Hope is like a single candle flickering in the darkness, a warmth to walk towards. Hope reminds us that we are not alone and that there are always possibilities. When you lose that hope, you can’t find your way and you stop caring if you do.
Sometimes hope is just a neighbor offering you a lift home. Sometimes hope is just the dawn of a new day after surviving the darkness. Sometimes hope is seeing a mother duck with her ducklings going on their first swim.
Hope is knowing that even if your life does a complete 180, things will get better. Life will be different and may not unfold in a way that you expect, but the possibilities are still endless for joy. Hope give us that little bit of extra strength we need to face the next corner.
Change is hard and losing a companion is excruciating, but doesn’t have to be the end. Even though Gany lost her hope, our love for her goes on in memories. Hope and love lives in the eyes of those around us. It continues to teach us and impact our lives long after our loved one has gone.
No matter how hard things can get, unlike Gany, I hope you never give up. I hope you know that you are cared about. I hope you know that although things inevitably change, it’s worth it to stick around and check out the possibilities. New experiences won’t erase that special someone, but they can enrich our lives and teach us how to share that love that meant so much to us.
The love endures.