On losing a friend

Chuck was a kitten that I had brought home to foster while working at a local humane society. He was a small, wobbling grey and white cotton ball with legs. His clumsiness was as endearing as his giant blue eyes, and I fell instantly in love. Chuck was estimated to be about 7 weeks old, but was considerably delayed in his development and was still relying solely on bottle feedings when I started caring for him. Despite his obvious setbacks, I was determined to help Chuck gain the strength that he would need to grow and thrive.

On Mother’s Day, May 11th, 2014, I went downstairs to feed Chuck at around 3am and found him unresponsive. The little kitten that I had fallen so in love with had died. I felt overwhelmed with grief, and at the same time embarrassed that I felt such a loss for a creature that I had just met a week before. I felt guilty that I had not gone downstairs an hour earlier, and replayed the previous days in my head and wondered what I could have done differently.

It’s been a yeChucks gardenar since Chuck died, and I think of him every day. We find that people all grieve differently, and it can be helpful to memorialize a lost pet in the way that makes the most sense for you. This can be pictures, mementos, or a ceremony for your lost pet. The best way for me to remember and honor Chuck’s short life was to build a small garden for him in my yard. “Chuck’s Garden” is a place for me to reflect, to visit, and to remember. I chose a beautiful hydrangea bush to plant over Chuck’s grave, and it’s by far the brightest bloom in the garden.

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