Garfield the Cat.

I will refrain from sharing the feelings I am having for the person who drove their minivan up our street in a reckless manner tonight.

I will also admit to the difficulty I am having with refraining from acting out the disgust and RAGE I feel towards that person for also hitting, and killing Garfield our family cat tonight. The part that puts me over the edge is that it was done while #4 of 5 (our eight year old daughter - the cat lover) was watching out the window.

Garfield1aI will say prayers of thanks to God tonight, that this person also did not have the manners, etiquette, or good taste to even stop. Things would not have gone well for them tonight, and as a result, would not have gone well for me.

I will also admit the heartbreak I am feeling right now for the kids. Like I said, #4 of 5 actually saw the accident. We were all sitting in the living room, but she saw it through the window. I was "lucky" enough to get to see the raw reaction on her face.

As I turned to see what she was looking at, I saw Garfield struggling to make his way up into our yard. Like the true #$%^ that I can be at times, got upset because of the inevitable vet bill, and vocalized it as I raced my way out the door.

Garfield was still struggling when I reached him. Not really for long though... One breath, maybe two. #2 of 5 was right behind me. Being in uncharted waters, I told him he should probably go back inside (so as not to witness the cat struggling for his last breaths). In hindsight, I was thinking that maybe it would not have been a bad idea to have let him stay, and be with his cat as it died.

Moments after Garfield breathed his last, I turned around and #2 of 5 was standing 10 yards behind me... Asking if Garfield was ok. I told him that Garfield had died, and invited him to sit with me.

Garfield was "technically" #2 of 5's cat, but we never really kept track of "who's cat is who's". Garfield was our family cat, and was loved by our family, our next door neighbor's family, and the family across the street - who's house he was running from when he was hit. But at the end of the day, #2 of 5 had a very special relationship with Garfield, and was very in-tune with him.

Garfield1#2 of 5 sat next to me on the front lawn. I held him in my arms. I held him tight as he broke down and wept. He asked if he could pet Garfield. I told him of course he could, and that Garfield would like that very much. It had only been seconds (maybe twenty) since Garfield had passed away.

#2 of 5 is 14 years old now. Mom was still in the house with the other children, and for a few minutes it was just him and I outside with Garfield. He was holding me tight, weeping.

Thinking about this now (about an hour later), I am thankful for those few minutes before everyone else came out of the house.

In all reality, this will likely be one of the last times this will happen. He is growing up so fast, and to have him need me, one more time, to help through this was something I think I needed as much as he did (for different reasons).

I removed his collar and name tag, hading them to #2 of 5. I told him that these were his to have, and that Garfield would want him to take care of them.

After a few minutes of holding my boy in my arms, as he pet the cat he loved so very much, the rest of the family came out. Next to break down was #4 of 5 (8 years old). She too is VERY attached to the cats, and as the one who witnessed the accident, was noticeably upset. She curled up in her mother's arms and wept.

We sat together as a family, on the front lawn, surrounding Garfield. It was a very emotional time.

As it started getting dark, I left to get a box to put Garfield in for the night. One by one, everyone left to help, except #2 of 5. He stayed with his cat.

Watching him sit there in the middle of the yard, alone, crying, and petting his cat was a painful thing to see, and will be with me for a LONG time to come.

After finding a box, and a little blanket to wrap him in, we all went back to #2 of 5 and his cat. I had him help me place Garfield gently in the box, and I sent the kids inside.

It was past the kids bed time, and they were all in various states of emotional turmoil. There was a lot of crying, and sadness in our house tonight.

We reminded the kids that if Garfield could talk to us right now, he would not want us to be sad. He would want us to think happy thoughts of him, remembering all the funny things he did, and would want us all to say a special prayer for him.

#4 of 5 mentioned (before going to bed) that "at least Mimi (Garfield's litter-mate and our other cat) can at least eat now. (Garfield was an eating machine...). At least that put a little bit of a smile on her face before bed.

As I sat with #2 of 5 in his room before bed, he said that this was the WORST day of his life. He has strep throat, missed school (and will have a ton of homework tomorrow) and now it was the day his cat died. What can you say?

Garfield2 Just before going to bed #2 of 5 said that at least he does not have to have a 5:30 am alarm clock anymore (Garfield would jump on our beds until he got one of us up. This almost always happened around 5:30 am). This statement put a little smile on his face, and so I told him the story of what his sister said about Mimi being able to eat. That also put a smile on his face.

I asked him to (over the next few days) write down several thoughts and memories he has of Garfield. Things he does not want to forget. I reminded him that our memories of those that have passed are what allow them to live on.

#2 of 5 had a hard time getting to sleep tonight. He could not sleep, and came out to sit with us for a while. He is just now heading off to bed (10:40 pm).

For those of you that have been around here long enough... you may remember a post titled "The Third Option". This post was also about Garfield.

The photos that make up this post are of one of the first photos we have of Garfield (when he came home for the first time) with #2 of 5, and one of the last photos I took of Garfield.

I am also going to update this post (or create another) with a photo #2 of 5 took of Garfield on my wife's cellular phone. (I still have to figure out a way to get it off the phone.)

While crying himself to sleep tonight, #2 of 5 told his mom that it was "odd". When we asked him what was "odd" - he said that for some reason - this afternoon - he changed the screen saver on her cellular phone to a photo he took of Garfield earlier this year. Between his tears, he asked if she would leave it as the screen saver for a while.

My wife was crying when she told me this story.

Garfield, you will be missed. Your two years with us went WAY to fast. You were by far, the most entertaining cat I have ever had the pleasure to know. Thank you for all the fun times, and the laughs you provided our family over the past couple of years.

You go with all the love of your human family.

Now that the kids are asleep, and my wife is too, it is my turn to go cry myself to sleep...

11 comments:

  1. I'm very sorry to hear this. I have a daughter (7) who is so completely attached to her cats that it scares me sometimes. I can't imagine how she might feel to see one of her cats hit by a car. Well, actually I can, because it's happened to me twice in my life.

    Our thoughts with you and your family!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm so sorry that happened to Garfield and for the pain it has caused your family.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Dude.

    I am so sorry that you guys have to go through this. Big hugs all around.

    ReplyDelete
  4. We are so sorry. What a trooper your son was to sit with Garfield. Prayers to you and your family.

    Dad Stuff & Family

    ReplyDelete
  5. Sorry for your loss, FOF.

    Even though this is a painful experience, the way you are handling it is teaching your sons how to be good husbands and fathers - And your daughters what to look for in their future husbands.

    You're a good family leader.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I grieve with you and your family. I am glad that you are able to share your love and grief with each other. I think you are handling a difficult time very well. I believe that life continues after "death." I do not believe heaven would be heaven without our animal friends. Many people I know would decline the invitation to enter if their animal friends were banned. Also, I try to use the grief I feel at the loss of a friend to remind myself how precious life and relationships are. We do not know the future. We must live to minimize our regrets.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Oh that SUCKS to put it bluntly!

    Believe it or not, my brother saw someone hit is St. Bernard . . . and the guy NEVER stopped. It's like hitting a small horse.

    People can be so cruel and insensitive.

    So so sorry or your fam, and especially #2 of 5 :-(

    ReplyDelete
  8. Sorry for your loss buddy! Give my best to your family.

    Bill

    ReplyDelete
  9. Garfield,

    We will always remember you and how fast you could chase the little red light and how high up the wall you could jumb trying to catch it. You made Jonathan and your family very happy. They were all so excited when you and Mimi came to live with them.

    You were so nice to Sadie when she came to stay with you. Your sister Mimi was not so nice.

    We will miss you especially when we are at your house. You were a fun little buddy for all of us. Jonathan will miss you so much. Thanks for being his best friend and loving him like he loved you.

    Love from the grandparents in Prior Lake

    ReplyDelete
  10. FOF, I'm so sorry. You did a wonderful job with that situation and truly helped ease your children's pain. To have beloved pet die of old age is one thing; to have them die violently (while a child is watching!) is another. My condolences to your wife and kids as well.

    ReplyDelete

Did you reach the Bottom of this blog?

If you have read down to here and are interested in reading more, be sure to click here, click on the "Older Posts" link to your right, or use the "Archive" tool on the right sidebar. Thanks for visiting!