Thursday, March 31, 2011

RIP Cole 4.3.95 - 3.29.11

Cole’s birthday is Sunday, April 3rd. He would have been 16 years old.

Cole, my beloved pet, companion…my baby, passed away on March 29th, 2011. He died on the same day my stepfather passed 7 years ago – the day before my eldest nephew was born. Now I have another angel up in heaven.

I’ve had pets my whole life it seems. I’ve owned five cats prior to Cole, each of them special in their own way. And they’ve all passed on, so this isn’t the first time I’ve experienced a pet’s death. But for some reason, this feels very different.

I adopted Cole when he was just a month old, right after I graduated from college. My first thought wasn’t to unpack, or to look for a job. It was to get a cat. I had gone 4 years without a pet while in college, and my heart was longing for one. I went to a pet store in the mall and decided to pick out a kitten. There were two in a cage - one white, one black. I thought they were cute, but nothing was pulling me toward either one. Then I saw something. Two eyes were glowing in the dark from the back of a little cave within the cage. I asked the attendant to see what was back there and she said, “Oh, I forgot about him.” She reached in and pulled out a beautiful charcoal grey kitten with blue, green eyes that sparkled. That was Cole. I carried him out of the store around my neck so he wouldn’t be afraid. He slept around my neck for the next two years, close and safe. I’ve loved him from the moment I saw him.

I wondered if I should write a post about losing Cole. Unless you’re a pet owner or an animal lover, it’s hard to understand the grief someone feels after losing a pet. I didn’t think anyone would really sympathize, because the assumption is that the loss is minimized by the fact it’s an animal and not a person.

But to my surprise, I’ve gotten nothing but an outpouring of love from my family and friends who know exactly what I feel and what I’m going through. The cherished relationship that most people have with pets is a loving, mutually affirming one. I’ve always felt that having a pet had physical as well as emotional benefits, and they love you in a way that speaks of acceptance. Pets love you despite your imperfections. They love you in a way that humans can’t. For some, a pet is a sole companion. For me, Cole was a member of my family and like a child to me. He was my baby.

When pets die, human hearts break. My fragile heart is now broken, and I’m praying for it to be put back together again. The past couple of days have been emotionally and physically exhausting. I didn’t realize how much of my identity was captured in the relationship I had with Cole. Anyone who knows me well knows that he was as much a part of me as the clothes I wear, the music I listen to and the stories I tell. Ours was a special relationship that I will always treasure.

I’m at the beginning of my grieving process, and I can’t stop thinking of how much I miss Cole already. Selfishly, I just want him here with me, even though I know now that he’s no longer in any pain, isn’t suffering, and is resting peacefully. I know that eventually, rather than wishing he were still with me, I will choose to cherish and remember. I’ll recall great memories, laugh at the silly things he did that brought a smile to my face, frame pictures of him and write this post in his memory to commemorate the bound we shared. Part of my healing process will not be about letting go, but in holding him close and dear in my mind, and keeping his spirit close to my heart.

I thank God for bringing Cole into my life – for most pets invite us to grow, love and expand in some special way – so the loss hurts a little more because now I have to re-connect to a self that has been permanently changed by his death.

I feel blessed to have shared time and space with the best cat in the world for the past 16 years, and I’m thankful that he held on for me, comforted me and loved me. I’m thankful that God called him home after I was able to spend quality time with him in his last days and in the comfort of my sister’s home where he was surrounded by family. And I’m especially thankful that Cole let out his last breath in my arms before his spirit soared to the heavens. I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect transition for him, and I pray that now he is resting peacefully.

Cole, I love and miss you always.

-b

25 comments:

BatMan said...

FIRST BITCH!!

BatMan said...

Hating this weather!!!!

Stef said...

Brooke, I'm sorry to hear about Cole. I'm so sorry for your loss. Hang in there sweetie, we love you!

Jay said...

Oh Brooke, I'm so sorry. I know nothing can be said to take the hurt away, but take comfort in knowing he's not suffering, and he's at peace. I know how much it hurts, I've been there. You were very blessed to have had him and he was lucky to have you love him. Feel better.

The Fury said...

My sincere condolences on the loss of Cole. I know how he was your little man of the house. BIG HUGS, sweetie!

Boogiebabi said...

OH NO!!! I am sorry that Cole has moved on Brooke. I understand your longing. Just know that he is in a better place and probably begging for popcorn that he isn't going to eat. ;)

jakynd said...

I will mourn the loss of Cole with you Brooke...he was a "Cool Cat"! Remember how he would GO-NUTS for cat-nip?! That was the first time I had ever seen anything like that...sooo funny! Anyway BABYGIRL...you hang in there and I will be checking in on you from time to time. Long live the homeboy "Coley-Cole"!

Powerz said...

You have my condolences for losing Cole, Brooke. I'm not a pet owner so as an outsider looking in, I have known other pet owners that have lost pets and I know its like losing a family member. I wish you the best in your healing process.

Brooke said...

@Nikki,

You're funny :) He sure did love to eat salty stuff...just lick the salt off the popcorn and leave it there. Same with chips :) I needed that, thank you :)

@Fury, yes, he was my lil man :) He was runnin' ish up in there!

@Thomas, we were definitely "chillin with the Coley Cole!" He loved his catnip! LOL!

Thanks Austin...and everyone. It really means alot.

That was my baby :)

Courtney said...

Brooke, my sincere condolences. I've lost a pet before and I know how much it hurts. Stay strong, you'll be okay. It gets better, I promise.

jakynd said...

@ Fury

Maaannnnn, Coley-Cole "Ran The Joint". It was a sight to behold. He was just so cool...all greyed-out wit his slo stroll thru the house. Man!

Annamaria said...

AWWWW man.... Brooke my condolences on Cole. I know that was your baby....

Hatin this weather too!!!!

Anonymous said...

Dearest Cole,

You were so loved and you gave love back with every graceful meow. You were one of the very few cats that I got down with, even thou you once bit me on my foot. I didn't mind.. You did it lightly and I know I was sitting in your space and that was probably your way of saying "Excuse me, move, you're blocking my path to my Brooke!"

I will miss the way you pawed at my legs in that stretching sort of way that to me was a sign of affection. I will miss how you used to walk across my lap in your regal way. I will miss seeing you sprawled out on you moms open laptop and being greeted by you when you were in the mood to say what's up to me.

Most of all, I will miss the light and delight you brought to my dear friend Brooke's eyes.

Rest well kitty cat Cole.

Love,
SuSu

Serena W. said...

They say when it rains after death that God is opening up the gates of heaven for your loved one. That's what I'm believing for Cole. God has welcomed him home.

Brooke, I'm so sorry for your loss and I've lost pets and still can't bring myself to owning one again because the loss was so great.

Cole will be your lil guardian angel, I'm so glad he wasn't alone and in your arms.

May God Bless you and I'm praying to God to let the healing begin. Wanting them here is a part of that process Brooke(trust me). What you are feeling is natural.

Brooke said...

awww SuSu, that made me cry all over again. I feel like I've been crying for a week now. He really loved you. You were his "human girlfriend." LOL! He always wanted to be around you when you came over. I wish you got a chance to say goodbye to him :(

Serena, I was thinking the same thing about the rain. Hopefully he and James (my stepdad) are all hugged up together in heaven. I'm just glad I got to love him up before he passed :-(

The Cable Guy said...

Brooke,

I'm so sorry for your loss. Having only met Cole a couple of times, I can say he was an extraordinary cat. I'm not a cat person, but Cole was the exception. He was just so cool, laid back and loving, and I could see the special relationship between you two. I can't imagine how you feel because I know he was like a child to you.

Just remember that he's no longer in pain and is resting well now. He'd want you to remember him, love him and be happy. It'll take time, but you'll get to the point where you can still miss him while remembering him fondly with no pain. Hang in there B, it'll be ok.

Serena W. said...

I'm glad you both got your wish as I feel Cole wanted to be near his mommy and you with him when he passed away. You'll always hold that close to you. Let me know if there is anything I can do for you. I wish I were closer :(

Domina*Tricks said...

Brooke, I'm so sorry for your loss. As a pet owner, I can only imagine how you feel. My prayers are with you.

Jaz said...

This post made me cry because I know exactly what it's like to lose a pet. It's so hard for others to understand unless they've had a pet themselves.

It sounds from the blog that some of the commenters knew your cat, so it's great that they can share memories in your time of grief. I hope it helps. It sounds as if he was aa very special cat who was loved dearly - you both were very blessed to have each other.

Geeque said...

My Condolences…

BatMan said...

Sorry to hear that Brooke....

Rameer The ILLAbstract said...

My deepest, sincerest condolences. You both were blessed to have had each other...cherish the good times and memories.

Brooke said...

Thanks everyone.

Butterfly80 said...

Aaaww I love animals... And Im so sorry to hear about Cole. :( He sounded like a wonderful kitty..

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