Inside the mind of a writer www.scskillman.co.uk

This is Hattie, born 1996, who died on 21 September 2013, at home, in her basket, peacefully, in a deep sleep.

Happy memories of Hattie, beloved family pet 1996-2013 (photo credits: Abigail Robinson)

Happy memories of Hattie, beloved family pet 1996-2013 (photo credits: Abigail Robinson)

When a much-loved family pet dies we need to decide what to do next.

But we kept Hattie lying in her basket for a day and a night, nestled in her blanket, where she died.

And it was not macabre, but beautiful, and consoling.

There is something sacred about being in the presence of a peaceful death, after a life well-lived.

Lying there in the stillness and quietness of letting go, her fur still felt soft and her body pliable, and I imagined several times that she was still breathing.

She has filled 17 years of our lives with fun, laughter and affection. She has beguiled us, outwitted us, annoyed us, delighted us and demonstrated something powerful: absolute persistence wins.

I blogged about Hattie a while ago. There, I wrote about the perpetual fascination of cats.

And now Hattie has again demonstrated something powerful about this life.

The gracefulness and the quietness and the beauty of letting go.

Then, all that’s left is love.

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Comments on: "In Memory of Hattie, a Beloved Pet Cat – and the Gracefulness of Letting Go" (11)

  1. […] In Memory of Hattie, a Beloved Pet Cat – and the Gracefulness of Letting Go (scskillman.com) […]

  2. My condolences Sheila, and your post brought a tear to my eye. The simple words held so much meaning and sentiment, and I am glad you all had such a happy life together. You have those beautiful photos of Hattie to cherish, along with your memories, and as you so rightly said, in the end all that is left is love.

  3. Julia Gardner Brisbane said:

    Its always so sad when your family ‘fur child’ pases away, it really leaves such a void.
    They all have their individual personalities which leave an indelible paw print on your life.
    It was so lovely and moving to read about Hattie’s last few days and her passing.

    • Thank you, Julia. I think I was able to write this because we were with Hattie when she diedand because we spent so much time with her afterwards; I wouldn’t if she had been taken away by the vet to be put to sleep. I wish now I had had the courage to be with Smokey when the vet put her to sleep, but at that time I chose not to. Now I understand that it is wrong to avoid being close to death and to these times of parting – they are very important for us, and through them we understand life more deeply.

  4. Jane WIgman said:

    Beautiful and moving. Having lost our Dilly this year, I know how much you will miss Hattie but memories of her life shared with yours will always be there. A great comfort.

  5. very moving Sheila. What a lovely way to let her go, and to honour her life as a much loved member of your family.

  6. All my thoughts are with you on your loss very moving writing and like my dog Jack had a long happy life and gave so much to us.

    • Thank you. Our pet animals mean so much to us, and when we lose them through illness, even though it’s kind to let them go, we cannot but grieve as much as we would for a human friend.

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