It seems that November is time for me to lose my dearest.
After crashing my car, that, after all, is quite a little trouble, today I had to face a more important, more painful and more definitive loss.
I used to have four cats.
The first one - named Sheila years ago, now known by everyone as "The Nasty Old One" - is an old, fat, mischievous, slightly paranoic Siamese.
An extremely sweet (and adorably goofy) white-and-grey boy with a pink nose, named Toby, is the loveliest cat you can imagine.
His brother Tigre (the obvious Italian for "Tiger"), a pearl grey tabby cat, is the funniest, fattest and cutest little sluggard in the world.
The last one, Mimi (nickname for Mississippi) was our lap cat.
She was five years old: completely black, with round golden eyes, a funny plump face; and she was as sweet as you can imagine a cat to be.
She spent her life purring on our knees when we were sitting; and, everytime we went to sleep, she jumped on my bed, or my brothers'.
When nobody was sitting or laying on a bed, or doing anything that allowed her to be held in our arms, she used to rub against our legs or to jovially chat with us, bottom-up, with her husky, low, funny "Barry White" voice.
She was not a clever cat, as the Siamese one is - or nearly as elegant as the Old One; nor funny as Tigre, our little clown.
She had never been as good as Toby in catching mice or lizards.
But she was the one always purring on your knees when you were studying; the black shadow following you everywhere in the house; the pair of round, golden eyes that blinked to you under the table, the head pressed against our hand to say she wanted to be cuddled. The furry black ball always glad to be petted (actually, I think no cat have been cuddled as much as Mimi had been. Even my father, who's not fond of cats at all, liked her - our little, dumpy, awkward, super sweet black cat).
She was the little girl who was afraid of the vacuum cleaner; the one who hid under your bed in the night and, when you were comfortably wrapped into your sheets and nearly falling asleep, jumped so silently and softly on your bed, that you lacked the courage to chase her away.
Mimi died today, in my arms.
A few days ago she began to rapidly - and painlessly - lose weigh; on Monday we learned she suffered from FeLV (Feline Leukaemia Virus). The vet told us she was going to leave us in a month - at best.
This evening, just three days later - three days! -, when I got home from work, Mimi looked, for the first time, sick; she looked at me with watery, suffering eyes, and began to cry out of fear.
I understood that the veterinary had been optimist.
I wrapped Mimi into an old sweatshirt, held her and tried to comfort her, for over two hours; she was barely able to move, breathed with great difficulty and was clearly scared, but as long as I was by her side, she was quite calm, and didn't whine at all; at some point she closed her eyes and even managed to purr - just to reassure me, I believe... because I can't think about any other reason why the poor thing should have purred in such a painful situation.
My little, brave cat.
At some point, I - stupidly, stupidly - tried to sedate her, to spare her more pain: but to my dismay that made her feel even worse; and I think I'll never forgive myself for doing it - for causing her further pain, when I could have just let her in peace.
In a couple of hours, anyway, she slipped in a sort of haze, and I think she didn't understand what happened next. At least, I wish so. She died after a brief, unconscious struggle.
I spent the next two hours crying like a baby.
I hope to God Toby, Tigre and The Old One had not contracted FeLV, too: I really couldn't stand another day like this. I never thought I could ever be that fond of an animal, and suffer as much as I do because of it.
* * *
EDIT [November 26]: We buried Mimi this morning - a windy, cold, clear morning - in the backyard, and planted colorful tulips on her pit. They should flower in the early spring.
Tigre, as curious as only a cat can be, came to see what we were doing; but soon, amused by the leaf fall caused by the windy weather, he began to run up and down the garden, jumping into the leaf piles like a kid, to make leaves fly.
That made us all chuckle.
I don't have many photos of her.
Those are the only ones in which she looked pretty good.
1. A six-months-old Mimi, half-sleeping into my mum's Chanel purse - classy cat!
2. Little Mimi exploring the house
3. Mimi looking down her chair - what did you see, kitty?
4. Mimi sleeping on my bed.
"Sometimes I wish that I could freeze the picture
and save it from the funny tricks of timeSlipping through my fingers
Slipping through my fingers all the time"