On a cold winter's day in 2003, I looked down at the adorable face of the new kitten my best friend had bought me as a birthday present. "I just feel like his name is Xander", I said, not quite knowing where that name had come from. "Wow, I'll have him till I'm nearly forty!", although surely I would never get that old.
We both exceeded expectations.
Today, Xander died at home, cradled in my arms. Together right until the very end, as I'd always promised.
I couldn't have imagined, in 2003, the journey we'd go on together. We moved from Newcastle to Sydney to Newcastle to Sydney to the Central Coast and back to Sydney (don't ask). Xander got a Dad, then became a big brother.
|"So...we're really keeping this thing, then?"
And then, when things didn't work out, it was just the two of us, again. I would clutch him to my chest and say "at least I've still got you" as he wiggled free.
|I'd forgotten what an absolute unit he was.
For almost 18 years, he was by my side. He was my companion, my shadow. I knew just how lucky I was to have him for so long, and for the past 14 months working from home, we were able to have that much more time together.
|Obviously, this is a very old photo.
He saved my life.
And so, when I realised his life was getting hard for him, I knew I had to let him go.
I'll never again see his sweet face greeting me when I walk in the door, feel him snuggle next to me on the sofa or have him steal half my dinner right off of the plate. My heart is broken, but pain is the price we pay for love. I would do it all again.
The mice in Valhalla quake in fear at the approach of this mighty hunter.
Tonight, Xander dines with the heroes.
Give your pets a hug for me.