And so I sit here in an empty house picking up the pieces. Picking up our memories and remembering them for what they were; unforgettable and ours. Bailey picked me as much as I picked her and she loved life. She would purr and wiggle in urging you to pet her, give her attention, until her belly was raw from all of the stroking. If you tried to sleep on the couch you knew she would be right there, cuddled up by your ear, not willing to move even when you had to get up. Naps simply were another excuse for her to be close to us because that is where she felt she belonged. And I agreed. For many years she would sleep right on my head and all night I would battle with her over the pillow. I would listen to her snore and wheeze due to the chronic respiratory infection she had gotten from her mother. And yet having her right there, sometimes right on my head, meant a certain comfort, of being home and being with someone, even if Brandon was out of town and the house was too quiet.
I found Bailey 6 months into me moving from Denmark to America. Practically alone, unless you count the one boyfriend I had, until I found her. She was 9 months old when I stumbled upon her, already having been rejected by one family as being too mean and too sick. For me it just felt right. Her and I could do anything together. Through breaks ups, lonely night and finally finding my soulmate she was there, always ready to cuddle, always ready to be together, running to the door whenever I came home. When I moved she came with me every time, always finding peace as long as I was there. Her illness would go through cycles and we thought we would lose her more than once. But she always pulled through. The joke in my family was that she would outlive us all. When she was 7 she was viciously attacked by a stray dog and we thought at first that this was it. She proved us all wrong. And when the doctor said that her back leg would have to get amputated, she proved us wrong again, regaining the use of it within a couple of months. Through all the years of trying to have a child, she was there when I needed her. With every failed atte,pt and all of those tears, she sat patently on my lap reminding me that she was there and she understood that it was sad but that life would move on as it always did. When we found out Thea was coming and my belly grew, Bailey would climb on top of it, having found a new place to snuggle up to – even if it kicked her at times. She just knew when I needed her to just curl and be.
So I write this post as a tribute. Some may think I am a crazy cat lady and that is alright. For this crazy cat, I am. In an hour I present at the Reform Symposium, and Matt, my co-presenter, always the gentleman, graciously told me that he could handle it all. I declined, I will be there because that is what we do as teachers. We pull through and we get the job done. No matter what is happening in our personal life our jobs move us on and the demands continue. We know that what we are committed to is important and we don’t back away from that commitment.
I am not sure why I write this post but I had to. I had to say thank you to the tiniest little cat who always just was. We found each other when we both wanted so desperately to be loved. Thank you for loving me so unconditionally and teaching me that quiet time can be the best time of the day. Thank you for just being there. For putting your faith in us to treat you right, for naps, and car rides, and all those moments where you jumped up on my lap reminding me that life is about love and showing those that love you that they mean the world to you. The house is too quiet without you.