an end at a beginning January 2, 2010

I was about 15 years old when my dad walked into the restaurant my parents owned at the time and placed this cat carrier on the bar. My dad was never the decision maker in our house – all major decisions were deferred to my mom. So, for him to have randomly decided to go to the humane society and look at cats all on his own was quite a weird occurrence. The little box opened and out wandered what was – and still is – one of the most handsome, adorable cats the world has ever seen – Charlie. His unusual markings and super soft fur made everyone just swoon that day…and on every other day someone new met him. 

Charlie went down the same long, winding road as I did. He enjoyed the prosperous years my folks were in the food and beverage business. He was there when my mom was there one day and then, suddenly, didn't come back. He laid on the back of the sofa every day with my dad as he went through the ordeal of lung cancer and all that goes with it. Charlie surely noticed when Dad didn't come home, either. He was so resilient and strong through a move and coming into a new home that, ironically, ended up being my new home, too. We went through it all together. He was my constant companion and a wonderful sous chef. 

We lost Charlie this past Wednesday – a growth in his tummy took control of his otherwise buoyant personality. We couldn't bear to see him suffer anymore so the decision was made to let him go. He was ready – he looked at me and I could tell – and he had a remarkable run. It's been a heart-wrenching time for me – I've lost the last member of the family I had…and it's tough. So please excuse the silence here as we move into this new year. I'm cooking, crying a bit and healing my wounds – all while trying to do it with the grace and pawsitude that Charlie had. 


Ben Frank from I Ate That! Jan 2, 2010 10:01 am

i am so sorry for you guys’ loss. i know that sounds cheesy and cliché and forced, but know that this it typed with tears in my eyes and pain in my heart for you.

TNLocavore Jan 2, 2010 10:01 am

I’m so sorry Tami. You were lucky to have Charlie as long as you did and he was lucky to have you but I wish your time together could have been even longer. This past May, I lost a furbaby that we handraised from day one with his sister. He was my baby. Every time we lose one we ask ourselves why we put ourselves through this pain but they bring so much joy and laughter to our lives that I can’t imagine our house without them.

Alison Law Jan 2, 2010 11:01 am

So sorry for your loss. He was beautiful and well loved.

Alison Jan 2, 2010 11:01 am

T, my deepest condolences. You will cherish the warm memories of Charlie forever. Sending a big hug your way.

Jennifer Hess Jan 2, 2010 11:01 am

I am so, so sorry for your loss. I hope you’ll find some comfort in the happy memories of your time with beautiful Charlie.

Ciaochowlinda Jan 2, 2010 12:01 pm

What a sad thing and I am so sorry that you lost Charlie. I have a 17 year old cat who is ailing and I know the inevitable is ahead of me too. I hope your happy memories of that beautiful cat will soften the blow.

Allison Jan 2, 2010 01:01 pm

I lost a furry bestie just before the new year and it is one of the hardest things I’ve had to deal with, like losing a family member. After reading this little blog post I had tears in my eyes- your story is so similar to mine. Even though losing a friend is hard we will always have the memories and the truth that we gave them the greatest gift we could have given, and likewise them for us. Sorry for your loss.

Karen Chatters Jan 2, 2010 01:01 pm

I’m so sorry to hear about Charlie. It’s so painful when our little pets grow old and some day leave us. I’m sure he lived a happy and full life and was very lucky to have you.

melissa Jan 2, 2010 01:01 pm

I never cry when I hear about random people I don’t know dying. I do, however, shed tears each time I read about someone losing a beloved kitty.
I know he had a wonderful life with you and my heart goes out to you. /hugs

Lynn Jan 2, 2010 02:01 pm

You lost a beloved member of your family. I understand your grief. {{HUG}}}

Diane ( Crafty Passions) Jan 2, 2010 02:01 pm

I am so sorry my sincere sympathy ,I have lost a dear furry child once she was so sweet I still mourn for her.
I know how you feel and I am so sorry for your loss.

Jen Yu Jan 2, 2010 02:01 pm

Oh, my dear sweet Tami. I am so very sorry. You are right, who couldn’t fall in love with that adorable face? We are very lucky to have been touched by special relationships and I know letting go of Charlie must have broken your heart as it did mine to just read about it. They never truly leave us though. That kind of companion stays with you in your heart. I’m sending hugs and love and a few tears. Peace and love, my friend. xoxo

Anne Jan 2, 2010 02:01 pm

What a beautiful boy! I hope you soon get past the pain and into the happy memories.

hopeless foodie Jan 2, 2010 04:01 pm

Oh Tami…I was so sad to see this news earlier today in one of your tweets. I only “know” Charlie through the pics of him that you’ve posted: such a sweet face and one of the most handsome cats I’ve seen. I’m so sorry for your loss. I’ve lost a few feline loved ones over the years so I certainly feel for what you’re going through. My own pretty girl is getting up their in years, so I know I’ll probably be facing what you’re dealing with in the not too distant future.
I like what Jen said above: “They never truly leave us though. That kind of companion stays with you in your heart.” So true. Hugs, Tina

Dani H Jan 2, 2010 05:01 pm

So, so sorry for your loss! You proved your love for Charlie by not making him suffer because you weren’t ready to have him go. I lost my Jazz to cancer just over three years ago, and I still miss his companionship. Treat yourself gently and allow yourself to grieve in whatever way and for however long that you need to. Know that there are lots of us wishing you healing.

yourstrulydear Jan 2, 2010 05:01 pm

i am so sorry. he is beautiful. we just had to put down my husband’s dog (Hunter) a couple weeks ago, which was really tough. such a special bond can be made with pets, and i understand your pain.

The Broke Socialite Jan 2, 2010 05:01 pm

Hugs, my dear friend. I love this picture of him. You know why.

Sean Jan 2, 2010 06:01 pm

This was such a moving/heartwarming post Tami, thank you for sharing it with us. Charlie was blessed to have such a caring friend like yourself.
God bless.

Marlene Lockett Jan 3, 2010 11:01 am

So sorry for your loss, Tammy. I, too, have a kitty, Mr. Peterson, who has been through good times and bad with me for the past 8 years. It has to be hard to lose your angel. Will be thinking of you.

Christy Jan 3, 2010 01:01 pm

I’ve followed your blog for a little while now but don’t think I have ever left a comment. I do so today with a heavy heart. I feel for you and will be thinking of you often.

doodles Jan 3, 2010 04:01 pm

I am so sorry for your loss and know from where I speak as we lost our dear Buddy-Cat three weeks ago, 15 years old and a brief illness. When I think of our Buddy I will also think of your handsome Charlie.

Monster Librarian Jan 3, 2010 05:01 pm

I am so sorry to hear about your cat. Your blog was so personal; a tribute to your cat; You made me cry. I am thinking of you as you begin this new year.

nicole Jan 3, 2010 06:01 pm

I am sorry to hear about your loss of your cat. It brought back memories of myself lossing my baby golden maggie I lost last year before thanksgiving. the one by my side through the years. the one that went through the ups and downs of my life. Always there with a big slober of a kiss. Again i am sorry for your loss. It is never easy letting go and you will never forget that day. But i can promise you this is will get easier as days go by.

Meghan@traveleatlove Jan 3, 2010 06:01 pm

I am so sorry, losing a loved pet is incredibly difficult. :(

Barbara Harris Jan 3, 2010 08:01 pm

I’m so sorry for your loss Tami. Sending you hugs at this sad time.

Charm Home Jan 4, 2010 01:01 pm

I’m so sorry to about your loss of Charlie. It’s amazing how animals can mean so much to us. They become such a huge part of our lives and it’s just like loosing a family member when they pass on. I’m sure Charlie is chasing lots of mice wherever he is. :o) I know you’re hurting now but time heals all wounds and you’ll always have the memory of Charlie in your heart. I’ll be thinking about you.

Dee Jan 4, 2010 02:01 pm

I’m so sorry…

Maigh Jan 4, 2010 02:01 pm

Once again, I’m so sorry for your loss. I have a feeling that Charlie knew it was OK to leave you now, because you’re in good hands and he didn’t have to worry about you/look after you anymore. He loved you all those years an loves you still.

jenny Jan 4, 2010 05:01 pm

What a beautiful cat, I’m so sorry.

Kath Jan 4, 2010 10:01 pm

Charlie wasn’t “just a pet” was he? No…I can see that he was much more than that. Much, much more. He looks like he was someone very wise who happened to live in an obviously stylish “cat-suit”. What an incredible privilege to have had him as part of your family….and for him to have someone like you to love him all these years. I too have walked this walk over the years of having to say goodbye to my very dear faithful friends. My heart embraces you through it.

Helen Jan 4, 2010 11:01 pm

There are many times I wish we were living closer to each other and that day we let Charlie go was definitely one of them. I did that for our old lab but as Jen says, their memories never goes away and there are many good times to be remembered with Charlie. I know he knew how much he was loved.

Jenn Jan 6, 2010 07:01 pm

What a difficult time it’s been… you handle it all with such grace and strength, it’s been an absolute pleasure reading your blog over the past couple of years. I wish you the best.

Dani Jan 6, 2010 09:01 pm

So hard :( My heart goes out to you.

stacey Jan 8, 2010 01:01 pm

Those little critters steal our hearts and make them bigger too. If you have a chance, read Cat Heaven. I know it’s a child’s book but it is so beautiful….We lost our 17 year old in the late fall….she grew up with my kids and became my grand daughter’s favorite…it’s hard to go through.

Kevin Jan 12, 2010 06:01 am

You’re in my thoughts – sorry for your loss….

Marian (Sweetopia) Jan 19, 2010 04:01 am

I’m so sorry for your loss and wish you peace in this time of grief!

LMcBurney Jan 19, 2010 08:01 am

I too am sorry for the loss of your cat.

Erica Jan 19, 2010 10:01 am

I just found your blog and you’ve brought tears to my eyes. I’m sorry for your loss.

April B. Jan 20, 2010 07:01 am

I stumbled across this from Bakerella. Your wonderful picture caught my eye and the story is a great tidbit into the wonderful memories I am sure you shared with Charlie.
I am a Manager of a Humane Society and see the opposite side of this every day, people who do not feel this way about pets. Hearing your great fondness and devotion to a beloved family member cements why I continue my job, to meet people like you!
Thank You for your wonderful tribute!

Peppermint Jan 20, 2010 08:01 am

we lost Zonie, our cat we had for 20 years, at the end of September. i truly empathize with you and the feeling of loss.

MHW Jan 20, 2010 02:01 pm

I’m so very sorry to hear of the loss of your loyal little one. I’m truly saddened by this event and I feel moved to donate to an animal charity in Charlie’s memory. Hopefully, each little bit of help will go toward helping another animal find true love & appreciation with a family like yours. M-

Dyanna Jan 20, 2010 04:01 pm

I’m not entirely sure how I ended up at your blog but I’m glad I did. My husband and I had to have our cat, Ally, put down the week prior to Christmas. She was severely diabetic which was a result of being overweight and was in kidney failure. It was the most devastating thing we have ever had to do. I couldn’t handle the actual procedure so my husband did it and he said that somehow he believes she was telling him it was ok. She was always afraid of vets or leaving the house and he said she just lied there and looked like she was ready to let go. Somehow that gives me a slice of peace. We made the decision to have her cremated as we live in an apartment and she sits in an urn on the top of our entertainment center. I think of her every day and miss her like something else. I still talk to her as if she were her. I’m sure some people think that is weird but it’s how I’m coping.
Someday I’m sure we’ll get another cat but right now I’m happy with my memories.

I don’t know you, but I can empathize with your sense of loss. Our pets become a part of us and that is a very painful part to lose.

nicki Jan 26, 2010 03:01 am

I am a stranger writing from berlin germany-
I am so very sorry to hear about your loss.—your parents and then Charlie–
I have 2 cats “will and grace” (named after the tv show)–the two are now 2 years old-grace has already survived a broken leg and collapsed lung. I love these two as much as I love my own son and can not imagine the two of them not being with me anymore.
Keep cooking-it comforts the soul

Rose Jan 28, 2010 02:01 pm

Oh geez. I’m so sorry to read this. Losing a kitty is so hard. My first cat was with me for 18 years and it took almost 5 years for me to consider getting another one. Now we have 3 rescues that fill our hearts, our kitchen and our lives.
I hope you find the time that passes healing and if/when you decide to add to your family that you consider adoption.