Love Lives Beyond Death

Love lives beyond death
forever on sweet memories
of your heart melting
slowly into mine.
Watching over you each day
was my greatest joy.

Our 5 years and 6 months together
were so wonderful.
I thought my time with you
would go on  forever……
But I was wrong.
Suddenly, without warning
a horrible thing called—
“hypertrophic cardiomyopathy”
came and took your breath away.
If it were possible,
I would have given my life
to save yours,
but there was no way
to ease your suffering.
On the day that you died,
my heart broke in two.
I felt as if somehow
I had failed to protect you.
Once you were gone,
I was alone for the first time.
I was not prepared
to lose my best friend.

Somehow, I walked through sorrow
and found the will to go on.
Now, I’ve grown since you’ve been gone.
You would be proud to see
that I’m handsome and strong.Balinese-cat
But there still remains
a sadness in my blue eyes,
dreaming of what once was mine.
I want you to know
even as the years go by
I will always remember you!      ~ms
Our cat Anika died suddenly in the summer of 2011, of a heart condition called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.  The blood clots, thrown from her heart to her legs, struck suddenly and without warning. She was only 5 years and 6 months old. Watching our male cat, Keona, trying to understand what was happening—broke my heart. He loved her more than anything in this world.

She was in so much pain, we had to take her into the vet to put her out of her misery. Even the vet was crying, it was so hard to watch the intensity of her pain. When we came back home without her, Keona just looked at us. He didn’t make a sound. He just went and laid down on the couch. I could see the hurt in his eyes. He knew. There was nothing any of us could do to bring her back.

On a positive note, because I had entered them in an online cat contest in 2006, I have a lot of great photos of the two of them together when they were young.  I am glad that I did not wait, thinking that there was always tomorrow.  Now those photos are priceless memories.

About Mary Strong-Spaid

You can find me any time wandering around in my own mind gathering thoughts.
This entry was posted in cats, Pets, Photo Essay, photography, Poetry and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

109 Responses to Love Lives Beyond Death

  1. Elephant says:

    In tears! So sorry for your and Keona’s loss.

    • Remembering… was rather difficult writing…
      Last year, we adopted a one year old Bluepoint Siamese cat (female) from the Siamese Rescue center—hoping that it would make Keona feel better.
      He looked so sad and lonely all of the time.
      To his dismay, the new little cat was so frightened that she spent the first 5 weeks hissing at him.
      He had never been hissed at before.
      I don’t think he understood why she was hissing at him in HIS house, but he did not retaliate. Not once.
      Amazingly enough, he never gave up trying to find a gentle way to get near to her. What a great guy!
      Finally, one day, she came and sat down quietly right next to him.
      Now they are very good friends.
      But I don’t think any cat will ever be as close to his heart—as his Anika was.

      • Elephant says:

        Oh you! I am going to cry again! Thanks for the happy ending. They have such unique personalities. Very sad when they lose the comfort of a sibling! Hope everyone remains friendly and healthy at your house!

  2. kiwiskan says:

    This made me cry. We had to have our male Stafford put down, and the little female Staffy looked for him everywhere. Somehow it adds to the pain… There is no way to explain to an animal

    • Oh Kiwiskan, I totally agree!
      It would have been better if he would have howled at us or something, when we came back home without her. But he just looked us …and he knew. He went to the couch and laid down without a sound. He wasn’t interested in doing anything for a long time.

  3. Beautiful post. Thank you for sharing.

  4. Rasma R says:

    Sad but delightful. What a love to remember. Amazingly lovely cats. Glad to hear that Keona has a new friend. We have an adopted long-hair named Sid. He was abused the first three years of his life and finally settled down with us. Perhaps it is this abuse that makes him a bit different. He now pours all of his love on us his human mama and papa. However he is also very independent and will request love only when he wants it. Doesn’t seem to be lonely for other cat company at all.

    • Many cats would prefer being alone.
      But, because Keona always had Anika by his side (since he was 2 weeks old), the loss was great. If there had never been another cat in the house and he wasn’t used to cat company, I don’t think he would have wanted us to bring a new cat home.

  5. What a beautiful tribute Mary. Having lost a few pets myself I can feel your sorrow. They are absolutely gorgeous animals.

  6. Jackie says:

    Beautiful remembrance. >^..^<

  7. Lynda says:

    I see we are all in tears here this morning. Thank you for sharing your poignant story with us, Mary. I hope you don’t mind if I share here, but we are facing a critical time with our little dog Tucker at the moment. His kidneys are failing.

  8. Clowie says:

    You brought a tear to my eye. They look so happy together in those photos.

  9. Beautiful Post – your captures certainly show the love between these two – thanks so much for sharing:) Have a Great Week!

  10. fransiweinstein says:

    I’ve been through it myself, as have my cats. It is very difficult.

  11. We lost our kitty Shimmer with no notice of sickness never did find out what he died of. It was heart breaking to come home and find him still warm and dead laying at the foot of my bed.

    • We would not have known what caused the sudden death either, if it had not been for the Vet. She was concerned that Keona might be at risk also. She asked to do an autopsy. So, we found out…several days after Anika’s death…that she had hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (a “silent killer” that often goes undiagnosed). This heart problem is more common in some breeds than in others.

  12. Anonymous says:

    We just lost one of our puppy dogs (I had two sisters from 8 weeks old on), her sister and my husband and I are still not the same without her. With some of us, pets are not just pets, they are a part of us. I am so sorry for your loss! She was so beautiful too

  13. barb says:

    Beautiful and heart warming, Tyson missed Chester the first couple of days,that Chester was gone. Charlot moped around for a couple of days too when Tyson passed suddenly. They know, when Tyson got sick Charlot was gentle with him think she was worried.

  14. dorannrule says:

    Oh, this is so sad and your poetry is heart wrenching and could be applied to anyone suffering a lost love.
    “Somehow, I walked through sorrow
    and found the will to go on.” Beautiful!

    • I just read your post about Rozie.
      What a kind and gentle face!
      I see in her eyes that she holds the same love for you.
      How wonderful.
      When it comes to life, love, and loss—in 1850, Alfred Lord Tennyson wrote a poem (Lost Love: Memoriam:27) that explains it best.
      Last verse is–
      “….I hold it true, whate’er befall;
      I feel it, when I sorrow most;
      ‘Tis better to have loved and lost
      Than never to have loved at all…..”

  15. wodezitie says:

    Thank you for your beautiful post… Funny how animals dig so deep into our hearts. May Keona and your other cat live long, healthy, happy lives! They are lucky to have you and each other’s company.

  16. John M says:

    How sad, and thanks for sharing. It’s good to hear you adopted another last year. She’ll never replace Keona’s littermate, but I’m sure they’re happy together.

    • He was just lying around on the couch, day after day.
      True, she will never replace his littermate…but he is definitely not as lonely now that he has someone to run with and chase around the house again.

  17. Cam says:

    So sad but beautifully poignant. These sweet fuzzy creatures really become an integral part of our lives, don’t they? My sister says that we have to unabashedly enjoy the time we have with them cuz they’re only on loan to us. My pooch is only 5 but I get sad whenever I think of him aging and having to be without him. Thanks for sharing.

    • Your sister is absolutely right. I was surprised to hear that the life expectancy of some of the larger dogs is only about 7 to 10 years. Truth is, for all of us, life is not that long.
      Yet we often live our short lives as if we are going to be here forever, wasting our time chasing after things that we can’t keep. Losing someone reminds us…..everything is only on “loan.”

  18. CooperDaKat says:

    What a beautiful tribute to a beautiful cat. Thank you for sharing this. It’s so sad when our furry ones have to leave us.

  19. That is a beautiful tribute to a very loving mate. I can honestly say that I have not seen a more compatible couple, even in humans. This is a wonderful way to remember her Mary. Thank you for sharing such a special moment of your life.

  20. cherylmoore says:

    This is such a moving poem Mary, I’m sorry for your loss. Best wishes, Cheryl

  21. veraersilia says:

    It is hard to read this without crying. You write so well and anybody who knows and understands cats will respond with sorrow. Cats are such sentient beings. I am happy that the new girl finally lost her fear and will learn to love him too. He is a magnificent animal! Vera

    • Thank you. I think, at first, his size frightened her. But the fact that he never hissed back and waited so patiently for her to come around……she eventually let down her guard. It didn’t take her that long to realize that all he desperately wanted was a friend. Someone to lean over from time to time, and lick the fur on the top of his head. 🙂 Without the use of spoken words, somehow she has figured it all out.

  22. kenneturner says:

    We had a siamese and himalayan mix cat for 17 years (Kiko) — Kiko in 1992


    We now have a mixed-siamese and her name is Kika.

    Thanks for sharing your story.

    • Oh my! I went and looked at your links. Your photos of Kiko look so much like Keona.
      Mine is a Sealpoint Siamese/Balinese ( Actually, people say that a Balinese is just a long- haired Siamese). What a striking resemblance between Kiko and Keona, right down to the big blue eyes. Must have been extremely difficult when he passed away. Have you posted photos of Kika?

  23. debcorreia says:

    Oh my gosh! This was touchingly beautiful and heartbreakingly sad. I have never read a blog that actually made me cry…..thank you for sharing.

    • Your welcome, Deb.
      Writing this made me cry too.
      Looking at the photos, once again I could see how much he loved her and how great his loss.

      • debcorreia says:

        Poor lil one. I do believe that animals are capable of the same emotions as we are. We see it over and over in a variety of species. Thank you again for sharing that portion of the journey. Do you think he would benefit from having a little kitten around that he can potentially bond with?

        • After about 6 months, seeing how sad he still was, we did adopt a little female blue point Siamese cat (Siri) from the Siamese Rescue Center—hoping he would start running and playing again. As soon as we brought her in the house, he wanted to make friends with her, but she was frightened (he’s a big cat). She hissed at him so many times, I lost count. He had never been hissed at before. He never hissed back, not once. It took a month or so for her to realize that he was a sweetheart. They are best of friends now, but I don’t think any one will ever be as close to his heart—as Anika was.
          Siri is the little cat standing next to him in my post called “low-tech computer screen blockers”….and she is also the cat who is sleeping in the sink.

  24. slurryart says:

    They become in short time more than just pets and losing one can easily seem nothing less than the end of the world. They love so unconditionally. I have quite the soft spot for cats and dogs especially. What a heartfelt story and the photos speak loudly. I’m thankful for the time you had. I’m glad we can find some comfort and joy in remembering. A happy May Day to you ~Scott

    • Thank you, Scott.
      I agree. The photos do speak loudly. He totally and completely loved her.
      We are all thankful for the time we had.
      yes. May is here. Thank goodness. Now maybe it will stay warm and I can put my sweaters away for good.

  25. earthstills says:

    Beautiful photos, and lovely writing…. I cried for your loss, and again for all my animals I have loved and outlived. This is the joy and sadness of our small friends with large spirits. Thank you for sharing even when it hurts.

  26. Val says:

    Oh, this is just so sad. But your photos and sentiment are so beautiful. Thank you.

  27. Losing a pet is the worst. my sympathies

  28. Sara says:

    That is so sad. I nearly teared up while reading it. How heart breaking.

    • Yes. It was hard to see her go in this way, at such a young age.
      And then to see him without her for the first time, knowing she was never coming back home. The deep sadness in his eyes…..that was the hardest part of all.

  29. Herman says:

    I read this post a few days ago but I couldn’t react. I was so moved. This is a real beautiful post and tribute. Losing a pet is so painful. Thanks for sharing.

  30. 1WriteWay says:

    What a beautiful, moving tribute! We’ve never had quite that experience since all of our cats were strays and came to us separately. Our current three just barely tolerate each other. But we have had to make the difficult, never easy decision to put a cat to sleep (4 so far). I am so sorry for your and Keona’s loss.

    • She was suffering so much, there was only one compassionate option.
      But taking her in to the Vet, watching her lying there struggling to breathe, and softly telling her that everything was going to be OK soon…..yes….that was incredibly difficult.

  31. Reblogged this on By the Mighty Mumford and commented:

  32. Ooh no you made me cry x but what a beautiful life your beloved friends have had with you x bless you

  33. therapink says:

    My deepest condolences for your loss!! Your beloved will be waiting for you at the Rainbow bridge. I hope that your memories will comfort you. You gave your baby a wonderful life! I know it hurts, but you will always carry that love in your heart. We lost our precious Mackenzie in 2008 and it’s still hard. Soft purrs and hugs…

  34. So sorry for your loss.

  35. Mary, this was such a beautiful tribute! I pulled at my heart strings…We often forget how much animals suffer and feel sadness and heartache as much as humans to. The pictures are gorgeous!

  36. jeanryan1 says:

    Wonderful. Thank you for this.

  37. Just read your heartbreaking post – I am so sorry for your loss! It’s true, that whether we lose human or animal companions, our love never dies. I lost my mother last year, and although the grieving has been very difficult, I now feel that she’s all around me, and always with me – as I hope you feel with your beloved kitty.

  38. meade101 says:

    Touching and beautiful, and the pictures are delightful.

  39. soonie2 says:

    Oh Mary, I’m balling my eyes out here! So beautifully written and those images…

    • Yes. He loved her so much.
      To see such a true and genuine love, and then to see her pulled away from him with no warning. The look in his eyes was beyond sadness. It breaks my heart too…..

  40. parth893 says:

    Its Sad Lovely pictures , they’r so cute & charming .

  41. domtakis says:

    I was really touched by this beautiful post

  42. They are our best friends because they give us love – unconditional. and we love them for it. The love between your two cats was special to them both. And you tell us in a sensitive and beautiful way about it – in your photos as well as in your words. Thank you for sharing!

    I know that animals know. I’ve had dogs and cats too, all my life. i will go on having them as best friends…even if I know I will lose them one day. But, who knows, I might change, just like my father did.

    My dad always had dogs, but these last ten years he has resisted the urge…He was a hunter for many years, but stopped hunting in his sixties as he couldn’t bear killing anymore. And now, no more dogs either – he cannot bear losing them.

    I must tell you I didn’t understand why your posts didn’t show up in my reader. My last months in school were hectic and stressful, so now, when I’m a bit more relaxed, I know why. I didn’t press the button. I thought I had…but now I have. I’m looking forward to all your coming posts.

    • Now it seems that I am the one who is having “hectic and stressful” days……somehow falling behind in everything!
      I agree that it is sad to lose love, but it would be even sadder to never know love at all.
      I do understand the way your father is feeling. In his lifetime, he has probably seen many a love come and go. Over time, it does wear on the soul.

  43. Majka says:

    wonderful story Mary, thank you for sharing… it made me cry but I don´t mind… as my friend says: “this is the circle of the life”.

  44. djmrakiey says:

    Bittersweet memories … lovely photos … yes they are priceless ☮

  45. cathylass says:

    I am so sorry for your loss…. it truly is so heartbreaking. And it must have been so hard for her brother to, the two of them clearly loved eachother so much.

    Sweet dreams, beautiful Anika!

    • Very true. Her brother was completely heartbroken (which was so painful to see).
      She is gone but most certainly not forgotten.
      I wish we could all come in to the world at the same time….and then leave together!

  46. Gator Woman says:

    I, we, know only too well your deep sorrow and pain.
    Our beautiful Airedale Sabrina was taken by T-Cell Lymphoma at 6.
    Young, strong, healthy and then gone.
    We all suffered more than words could ever speak of.
    We drove to Oklahoma to bring home Breanna, who now heals our wounds and dries our tears.
    Sabrina is watching over her and us knowing that we have somehow survived.
    Thank you for sharing her story, we wish your hearts to be healed soon.

    • Anika’s brother Keona was so sad and lonely after she died, we adopted a female Bluepoint Siamese from the Siamese Rescue Center–hoping that would help him. Her “foster kitty mom” brought her up from North Carolina to Virginia, and the new little girl (Siri) has been a good friend for him. She helped ease the pain and heal the wounds. Like you with Breanna, we still feel that Anika is here watching over us….with extra attention always given to her brother Keona. 🙂

  47. loisajay says:

    My cat, Teemu, has this condition, Mary. I won’t tell you how much money we spent on him to find this out, but he is my sweetheart and I just love him. He has a heart murmur and has seizures from time to time. It is heartbreaking, but I love how we love your animals. I hope Keona and the new little one are getting along. This was a beautifully moving post that hit so very close to home for me. Take care.

  48. SwittersB says:

    Simply tears….sigh

  49. Beautifully written. I understand the heartbreak. 💔

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