Today I buried our cat, Mario.  I dug a deep hole under a maple tree beside some cyclamen in a pretty corner of our yard, working my way around roots, rocks and clay to make a final resting place for my buddy.  It was hard, and heartbreaking and strangely wonderful to be able to use my own arms and legs and back to dig that hole.  It was a final act of love for a cat who has been my shadow for 16 years.

I’m quite astonished by how hard I’m taking this.  I think that when our other cat, Mimic, died, I was comforted to still have Mario around so it wasn’t as devastating.  Don’t get me wrong, I grieved for Mimic too.  But he died while we were away on vacation, and my wonderful parents took care of all the details, so it was kind of surreal.  This feels very real and final.  I was with Mario when they put him to sleep, and I stroked his head and gazed into his eyes as he breathed his last breath.  It was my decision to release him from the pain of illness and injury, and while I know it was absolutely the right decision, it hurts.

For the sake of my own comfort, I choose to believe that pet heaven exists and Mario and Mimic are frolicking together chasing dragonflies.

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If I was sitting or lying down anywhere, Mario could usually be found on my lap. He also loved to sleep curled around my head on my pillow, or laying across my belly at night.

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One day, Mario decided to play with Jenna’s cabbage patch kid. He undressed her completely and then just hung out beside her. I think it was the soft sweater she was wearing.

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Jenna loved to hug and pet Mario, and he was very gentle and patient with her.

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