Tuesday, May 9, 2023

Bentwood's Last Days

 Exactly one month ago today, on April 9th, our sweet cat Bentwood passed away. It happened on Easter Sunday, a significant and comforting day for life and death and the ultimate victory of life over death. 

In addition to it happening on Easter, another tender mercy was that Bentwood's passing happened in the way that I prayed for it to happen--peacefully and naturally at home. He went on his own and I didn't have to make the hard choice of putting him down (I've still never had to do that with any of my pets). And although he must have felt uncomfortable, he didn't seem to be in much pain, either. 

I found out a month earlier that he had lymphoma, and the vet thought he only had a few weeks to maybe a few months to live, so I knew it was coming. I'm so thankful that I knew in advance so that I could spend extra time with him and be extra gentle and loving and attentive. Bentwood deserved all of the best. He was in our family for 18 years and has always been the sweetest cat. We got him when John was only a year old and when we still had my dog from high school. He's been with us for all of our pets: Christy, Brody, Yogi, Boo Boo, and Violet. His loss has made our home feel different, a little emptier and quieter, like something is missing (because it is).  

I miss his meow and his easygoing, affectionate personality and his limping walk and his soft silky fur and the sound of his "paw steps" walking across the floor. I miss our weekly brushing session and I miss startling him awake (because I'm a tease like that) and I miss picking him up and holding him and cuddling with him. I'll miss him until I see him again, and I fully believe that I will see him again and that we'll be together forever. He's in a good place with all of the above-mentioned pets (except for Violet of course since she's still earthbound). I like to imagine him running around outside in perpetually perfect weather, playing with his friends and eating and sleeping to his heart's content. I know that I'll be with him again someday.

This was a few days before he died. He had gotten very thin and frail.

I took these following pictures the day before he passed away, when he was laying around resting a lot. His body was slowly shutting down. He stopped eating a couple of days before he went. I held him and carried him outside and sat with him and cried and nuzzled his soft head and told him how much I loved him and how wonderful he was. I hope he went on to the next phase of existence knowing how loved he was by his family here on Earth.

I miss his unique, "bent" paws (hence the name the shelter he came from gave him).

I miss his beautiful silky-soft white and gray fur. I miss the feel of it under my fingers and palms.

Bentwood passed away in the afternoon when there was family at the house for Easter. I wish I'd been holding him when it happened, but I was upstairs busy with them. I found him shortly after he crossed over, stretched out on his favorite blanket. His body was still warm. My mom and Jennifer were there and they were so good about helping me with his burial. We wrapped his body up in his favorite blanket (with his head uncovered but nestled on the blanket because the claustrophobe in me couldn't let his head be covered up) and I had a perfectly sized storage container for his coffin. The boys had helped dig his grave earlier that afternoon when we knew his time was close. They got to say goodbye before they went to their dad's. 

We buried him in a peaceful, pretty spot in the side yard, near where he liked to explore when we'd take him outside on supervised visits.

I marked his grave with one of the big geode rocks that Sam wasn't keeping. (You can't really see it here.)

Someday, on the morning of the first Resurrection, this will be the case for all of those who have passed away, including (I believe) animals. Because of Jesus Christ, every tomb is temporary.

I'm so thankful for the special place Bentwood had in my life and in the lives of my children, who grew up with him from the time they were babies. He lived a good 19-20 years before it was his time to go. He was such a wonderful, steadfast companion to us, and I eagerly look forward to our reunion one day. 🐈🐾🤍