\tIt is almost 1 month ago today that you left me. I have been slowly putting my life together since that day, learning to live in this world that so suddenly seemed to be so lonely, so empty. I am again finding reasons to smile, to laugh, and most days now I make it through without the tears that first poured every time I thought of you.
\tOn Monday it will be our 1 month anniversary apart. And as I sat a moment ago, contemplating how momentous that seemed to be to me, I felt suddenly this desire to make a tribute to you; something to celebrate the life you lived, the love you granted me. I wanted something to help me remember you with smiles, and not with tears. I donâ€™t know if I am up to that task, but I want to try.
\tToby, you donâ€™t live in my house anymore, but you still reside in my heart. I gained much from our 7 years together. I want to put that down, so I donâ€™t ever forget. So, here we go. This is a list of some of the things you taught me:
1.\tThere is always time to tell someone you love them
Toby, you had many talents. But the one I was most amazed by was your ability to predict just when I was getting ready to get up. Usually at the precise moment I was thinking I had better get moving, you would jump up onto me, purring, and settle down for a snooze or a snuggle. Of course, I would have to pet you then, if only for a few minutes. But even if it made me late for something else, spending that little time with you made the rest of the day easier to handle.
2.\tThe best things in life truly are free
A chin scratch, a belly rub. A warm lap to curl up in or a milk ring to play with. These are the things you enjoyed. Time spent with those who loved you, and the games you could make up on your own. I never saw you happier than at these times.
3.\tBe willing to try something new. You never know what it might gain you
From the time he was born, you wanted nothing to do with my nephew Mason. You wanted nothing to do with that gurgling, noisy, smelly baby human thing. When he started to crawl, you started to hide. And yet, one day just shortly after he started walking, you came out, rolled onto your back, and let him pat your belly. So, while I sat nearby, ready to grab him away if he got to rough, you started purring, and meowing like you two were the best of friends. Mason was enchanted, and he started asking for you first thing on each of his visits. (He now thinks all cats are called Toby, and heâ€™s taught his little brother this too!) You made a new, devoted friend, who loves you to this day.
4.\tGood friendships will last, no matter what you throw at them
The first time you had to stay at the vets was rough. I knew it would be, because you hate strangers, and you hate strange places. But you were sick, and you needed to stay, so I left you there. Weâ€™ve been through scary times for you before, and I know from experience when you are upset, you strike out, even at me. So when the vet called me to come and get you, and told me you were going crazy, I wasnâ€™t expecting anything good. But the moment I put my hand by you, the moment you smelled me, and recognized me, you changed. You gave one meow, one relieved meow, and then let me pick you up, and you cuddled in my arms. I could have cried in that moment, because I knew then that you hadnâ€™t forgotten me, and that you loved me. We were friends, no matter what.
5.\tLife goes on
Some people have told me I am crazy, but if love can survive death, then I believe that this truly was from you. I wanted to die after you were gone, Baby Boy. I just wanted to curl up and stop living. But at church a few weeks back, in the midst of this depression and pain, I had a vision, a dream, I guess. I saw me, holding you. Then you jumped off my lap, and turned to meow at me, before turning to walk away. That was it. Simple, quick. But as those images faded, three thoughts came to me. One was that you loved me. The second was that you had to leave me. And the third was that you wanted me to move on, and live. And that is what I am now trying to do. Maybe I am crazy for thinking you sent me a message, but without it, I donâ€™t know what I would have done. It calmed my heart, and gave me enough peace to make it through that day. My life will go on, even though I have to live without you.
Baby Boy, my sweet Angel, I love you. I love you. Forever. God granted me a gift the day he placed you in my life. I wouldnâ€™t trade a minute of that time away; it was more precious to me than anything. I still cry for you, Sweetheart. But you will live in my heart forever, and I know, I know I will see you again.
Loving you still,