I remember the first time I saw you. You were just a baby, maybe a week old, hiding behind a sofa in your attempt to get away from two terrorist children. I scooped you up, took a split second look at you and knew. “I want him.”
Then we got in my truck and made our way home. I didn’t have a carrier for you then, or even a name… I just set you down gently in the the passenger seat and started the car. And there, in the middle of the drive home, you crawled over the center console and curled your tiny body into my lap and slept the whole way. And my heart was lost forever.
I named you Luke. I have no idea why. it wasn’t after Perry or Skywalker or any other lesser Luke. It just came to me that first day as I was waiting for Jon to come home and meet you… and I’m so glad I never thought twice.
I came home to you day after day for several lucky years. I’d call out your name and you always, always, replied. I loved your meows. I heard them often enough, buddy. Gosh, you talked a lot. Sometimes sitting in the center of the room, you’d randomly meow as if to make sure we hadn’t forgotten your were there.
We never forgot, buddy. If we even thought about forgetting- MEOW.
You were the lappiest of all lap cats, jumping up to our laps as soon as you realized one was available. I loved having you in mine. You were so sweet, so trusting. You’d stretch out and get comfortable. You kept me warm. And, if I let you, you’d stay there for hours.
I wish I had you in my lap right now.
You were a lover of treats, a taker of naps, an incessant digger of cat litter and a friend to all… even if they didn’t exactly feel the same. Like your adopted sister who would sometimes swat at you in good ole sibling irritation. You’d just sit there and take it, unaware that anything had happened until she was already in another room.
She loved you. For the first week Mercedes was with us, just a couple short weeks after we brought you home, she hid under the dining room table. Then, finally, she came out and, although she was just a year older than you, she took you under her wing and watched over you from the beginning. You two were inseparable after that.
Cat treats. Holy excitement, Batman! You loved your treats. Man, as soon as I entered the kitchen you’d start talkin’ as if your life depended on it. As soon as I had that bag in my hand you’d stand up on your hind legs and beg. Sometimes, just to tease you, I’d hold the bag down to your height and laugh as you buried your head in it, trying your damnedest to get to those treats. As soon as they were on the floor, you’d hoover. And if she wasn’t quick enough, you’d go after your sisters, too.
No wonder you got so chubby.
You were the most beautiful, loving, friendly cat I’ve ever known. Everyone who met you loved you. And they weren’t just saying that. You had the best personality of any cat ever. End of story.
Luke… you were awesome. Jon and I believed you’d be around when we had kids. We never expected any different. You were supposed to be around for a good, long, treat-filled life.
Buddy, you were taken from us way too soon. And, God, its not fair. I wasn’t ready. I was mad at Jon and focused on me, myself, and I. I hadn’t seen you for two weeks when Jon sent me the message. “Luke is sick. I’m at work. Can you take him to the vet?”
I went right over. I lay there on the living room carpet next to you, smoothing my hand over your fur, bringing out the treats to try and coax a response from you. You were so lethargic. So different from the way you usually are. So quiet and obviously uncomfortable.
I called the vet. I gave them your symptoms. They said it could wait 24 hours if we wanted to see how you progressed. Nothing had changed the next morning. (God, was it really just yesterday?) So, we scooped you up to take you to the doctor. They drew blood, took X-rays, and found… nothing.
Finally, they referred us to the animal hospital. They said you’d need 24 hour monitoring and an ultrasound right away. So we gathered you up, knocked out on pain meds, and made the drive.
It was a possible tumor, possible abdominal infection, possible possible possible. They were running tests. We waited. They ran more tests. We waited longer. Then they gave us opinions, more possibilities, and zero guarantees.
And we had to make a decision. An impossible decision. But I couldn’t let you live in pain for one more second. They told me I made the right choice. But as I held you in my arms, bundled in a blanket, and watched them put you to sleep forever, I wondered. I’ll wonder for the rest of my life.
I love you. I love you so much more than words can say. You were my best friend, my favorite friend, my buddy. My Luke. I will love you and miss you forever. I will be forever grateful to have had you apart of my life for as long as I did.
I hope, wherever you are, the streets are treat-lined. I hope you have a lap to climb into, one that’ll never have to move or adjust or get up. You can shed all over it, buddy, for as long as you want.
Be happy, my friend. Know that there are people here who will remember and love you forever.
You will be incredibly, horribly, missed. And, I can’t help it, many tears will be shed over you.
I love you. So, so much.
And I’m sorry. More than I can say.
Love you forever, Luke.
Forever and ever,
2003 – 2010