The Morning After — Helios Remembered

She was 22, beautiful, and had already felt more of life’s hard knocks than she deserved.

He was two weeks old, and not exactly beautiful.  But she thought so.

Everyone told her it was no use, that he was too young, but she fed him with an eye-dropper every few hours for weeks.  She took a chance, and gave him a chance — and her love.  And he gave her his.

They both made it.

He was called Helios.  As a young adult he injured his front leg.  From then on, he used it as you would a crutch.  He didn’t seem to know he was crippled, or to care.  If anything, it gave him attitude.  He was a tough little cat.

Other relationships ran their course, but not that one.  Life left some bruises, as it always does, but maturity softened them both — all but the love, which remained as fierce as ever.

Fifteen years.

Then he got sick.  Didn’t improve.  Dehydration.  Renal failure.  Prognosis poor.  Suffering.  Evening call. Vet’s office.  Parents.  First-born.  Grandkitty.

We sat with them for (hours?  days?  months?) while she struggled with the decision that only she, who loved him most, could make.  Had to make, for him.  Then we went inside.

I pray to all the gods in whom I do not believe that I will never hear a sound like that from one of my children again.

Some people say that it’s foolish to love an “animal” that much.

I pity them.


One thought on “The Morning After — Helios Remembered

  1. In the last 15 years I have had to make that decision 5 times and each time a part of me leaves with them. I cannot conceive of a heaven…no matter what your beliefs…without those who have given us so much unconditional love. All were 13-17 years old. I cannot help but believe we are kinder to these creatures than we are to ourselves when we recognize their suffering. May they meet again.

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