That word pretty much sums up how I am feeling right now.
I found my cat, Samantha, dead this morning. I have had this cat for going on 14 years. I am pretty devastated by this loss right now. She was a VERY important part of my life for a long time.
This is not the first pet I have lost - it is, however, the first pet I have found dead myself.
She was my rock. When my boyfriend in college was sent overseas with the military, she would cuddle up next to me at night as I cried myself to sleep missing him. When I made my various moves for college, and eventually work, she always came with me. She was my constant. She always, always knew when I was sad or down, and would simply come curl up beside me and just be there to comfort me. When my kids came along, she was wonderful with them, even though she had never in her eight years of life been around children before. She was patient, and tolerant to them. When they reached her breaking point, she did not hiss, or scratch, or bite. She simply left the room and went somewhere they could not reach her. She slept in bed with me every night before I got married, and continued to sleep in our bed once it became "our" bed. She developed a close attachment to my husband - essentially becoming HIS cat, even though she had been mine for nine years before he came along. If he and I cuddled together at night, she would worm her way in between us. She was always there - always wanting to be the center of attention.
And now she is gone. And my heart is aching. It sounds so silly, to be so upset over an animal, but I am. We knew she was not well - she had been losing weight drastically in the last couple of months, was spending more time sleeping and less time being Samantha. She had begun to lose her fur in spots, and started developing bad sores from scratching - which we had attributed to the fleas our dog had graciously brought in and that no amount of washing the poor cat seemed to rid her of. Now, I am left to wonder if perhaps it wasn't something else. We had discussed having her put down - I had reached a level of peace with that decision, my husband had not. He wanted to try a few more things before we went that route. Apparently, Samantha made the decision for both of us. And sometime between Friday, when we last remember seeing her alive, and this morning when I found her while starting laundry, she crawled into our open dryer and took her final nap.
Rest in Peace, Samantha. We will miss you terribly, but we know you are in a much better place now.