I admit. I don’t handle loss very well.

For the longest time, it was any kind of loss. As a kid, losing a favorite toy at the grocery store is still a memory that’s burned into my brain [in fact, I am picturing the exact spot at the Lucky supermarket in 1971, where I last saw my little red truck that I was playing with – odd, huh?]. For years, losing various physical items would reduce me to a fit of obsession, looking for said lost item. Fortunately, I’ve been able to better manage how I deal with losing an inanimate object. For example, in August of 2000, I left my Toshiba Libretto on the UTA Trax train when I worked downtown. While I miss the non-replaceable photos and other data, I dealt with the physical loss very well, moving on quickly.

When it comes to humans and pets, I don’t deal well at all. I learn to adjust, but it takes more time to fully realize someone or some creature is gone. I’ve been reassured this is a good thing, because it means I care. But the pain of losing a loved one is never easy.

As those of you that follow me on Twitter and Facebook know, my wife and I had to put our oldest cat down yesterday. Tigress would have been 20 years old on Memorial Day.

Tigress – Queen of the Bed and Blanket

Not even two weeks previous, we had to put down our 17-year-old cat, Princess Maggie.

Princess Maggie
Maggie – Parked in the driveway

Losing two feline companions in less than two weeks is hard. Both were somewhat unexpected, as both age and physical problems caused their health to decline quickly.

Going from 4 to 1

Up until last July, we had four cats. Our first to pass away was Mamma Kitty, who was 20 years old.

Mama kitty
Mamma says, “My chair”

Losing three cats in eight months has taken a toll on me. While I’ve not known them their entire lives, I’ve spent almost eight years with them and getting very attached. I’ve always been a cat person and when my wife and I first met, that was one of her criterias for a partner.

An Entire Lifetime

But knowing someone your entire life and losing them is hard, as my wife has experienced with the cats and as I did when my mom passed away in April 2006, losing her battle with melanoma cancer at the age of 83.

Mom at Newport Beach - August, 2002
Both my mom and I loved the beach – her at Newport Beach, CA in 2002

This past Monday was three years since she died and while time has helped to ease the pain of not having her around, I still have vivid memories of her and still get emotional when presented with thoughts and wishing I could call her again to share what’s going on in my life.

And for me, there lies one of the main reasons I don’t deal with loss. I miss being with those I care for and love. I miss snuggling with the cats or driving to California and hearing my mom tell her experiences. Call it selfish, but once those people and animals are gone, those times are gone, too.

I’ll get past this dark period of loss, and once I do, I know at least I’ll have the memories of pets I’ve grown close to. I leave you one final photo of our remaining cat: Rocko. May he live for a good while longer. This fragile and caring heart can’t take another loss anytime soon.

Rocko – King of the Deck