“Grief is the price we pay for love” is a quote from Queen Elizabeth II.
The phrase feels poignant given the death of Britain's longest-reigning monarch, but also for me as I lost my cat Amy, who was 7, last week, too.
Originally rescued from the streets of Abu Dhabi, she had been with me for five years before she got sick.
I’ll admit during those years there was always some uncertainty about whether I’d stay in the UAE or go elsewhere. And even though I wasn’t sure where the next place would be, I never once imagined going anywhere without her.
When she first came to me, she was malnourished after being dumped on the streets. Her ribs and spine were visible because of how underweight she was. It was a heartbreaking sight to see but I could tell she was a fighter. Over time, she flourished into this beautiful, fluffy cat, all because of some love and care.
When she got ill this time around, she completely stopped eating and started to lose weight quickly. The vet suspected cancer but it was irreversible kidney failure that was causing her health to decline so rapidly.
As a pet parent, I always tried to prepare myself mentally for such a loss because I knew this day would eventually come. Even so, it still hurt — a lot.
Holding her in my arms, I could feel how frail her body had become as she dropped to just 2.9 kilograms from the 4.5kg she once was. Her eyes were sunken, but, looking into them, I could still see the sweet little girl that I’ve loved since the moment she entered my life.
I went for a second opinion, in case there was even a chance to save her. Unfortunately, the second vet came to a similar conclusion. While at the clinic, there were so many tears, but also hugs and kisses and gratitude to her for bringing so much joy into my life.
After the difficult decision was made, it somehow felt like she knew her pain would be ending soon — even though it meant that mine would begin. And I was OK with that, because she deserved the same comfort she had given me for so long in our time together.
In just a few seconds, she was gone. My partner and I stayed in the room as our tears flowed again. We gave her our final kisses and stroked her one last time. I will forever be grateful I had time to say a proper goodbye — something that isn’t always the case.
We went home with an empty cat carrier, a sorrowful reminder of our loss. Sometimes I wonder if Amy knew how deeply I loved her and how much she meant to me.
The pain is still fresh, less than a week on. I look to the chair she used to sleep on or places she would hide around the house. I know that she’s no longer going to come into a room and sit down next to me, but I still look up, just in case.
She taught me so much about life, love and loss and how it's OK to say goodbye when the time is right. While Great Britain mourns their queen, I mourn mine.
Goodbye my sweet Amy, and thank you for everything.