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Saying goodbye

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One of the things that any immigrant or global citizen experiences is missing being ‘there’ for all life events that happen with family and friends. And even if still living in one’s country of birth, the reality today is that many families are scattered around a country too. So being able to say ‘goodbye’ to a loved one in person before they pass on is not always possible. I missed the funerals of both grandmothers – very different yet equally remarkable women.

One also learns to let go of things… after all how much can one really cart around the world? The alternative is to litter storage boxes in various locations and, as the years pass, the likelihood of retrieving them grows less and less. I’ve managed to restrict myself to storage at primarily two locations – my parents and sister’s homes. I harbour a dream to own a house large enough to have a library and ship all my books to where ever that ‘dream home’ will be!

And pets? Yes some can make the transition and move with you. Whereas sometimes it just doesn’t make sense. Either the new place is filled with too many uncertainties or pets are attached to a place and its people – take away the people and at least the place remains to welcome new people.

That was the choice made with two beloved felines back in 2003… the guy who wanted to take over the house was happy to take it with our cats who had only ever known that home. The little guy (Shiku) passed on a few years ago and the gal (Mishka) this weekend.

The last few years Mishka has lived with my sister, her partner, kids and their other menagerie of pets. She had a good 16+ years, and with my sister a very loving home with the best of care. I knew when I spent time with her this summer, it would be the last.  She was still as affectionate as ever however age had caught up and her time was coming soon.

So today when the news came, it was no surprise. I remember my Mishka, know she had a good life and I was fortunate enough to have that chance to say ‘goodbye’.

Mishka (1997-2013)

Mishka (1997-2013)

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  1. Aw, what a pretty tabby… I sure missed my cats like crazy when I had to re-home them well over a decade ago after a major change of life direction. I’ve not had a pet since, because I can’t offer the required stability. I move, and I travel, and who’d take care of them in the meantime? Maybe one day I’ll be a cat lady again 😉

    • Yeah she was lovely.

      And like you, when left Canada a decade ago, knew my lifestyle was not appropriate to take on new pet ownership. My partner and I have discussed it a few times and know that even though we would love to have a dog or cat or both, it just wouldn’t be fair.

      However I still think one of these years will be a crazy cat lady again… in the meantime, have made friends with the cats in the village outside our doorstep. 🙂

  2. sarahinguangzhou says:

    I’m always amazed at the number of people who take on a pet and then seemingly abandon it a few months later when they decide to move on again. When I lived in Spain there was a whole part of the estate that was a no-go area because of feral cats who had been thrown out when their owner decided to move. Mostly this had to be said the culprits were North Europeans who decided to go back to their home country and didn’t know what to do with their pets, so they just abandoned them. .
    I don’t have an animal for the same reason; I don’t want to spend the next 16 years tied to one place.

  3. pollyheath says:

    So sorry to hear about that. It is hard to leave behind animals which is why I haven’t gotten a cat since I’ve been here. I don’t like the idea of bringing in an animal to an unstable life.

    I’ve got a cat back home whose only about 12 but lives life on the edge… Each time I visit home I’m always surprised he’s still alive and kicking!

    • Gee… I wonder where your cat got its ‘life on the edge’ adventurous spirit from, hmmm???

      But yeah, knowing the commitment that comes with ‘pethood’ have avoided it since moving to India.

      I have played benevolent aunty to some pets who have stayed with me while their owners are traveling for a bit. Two of them – Freya & Kafka – I get to visit now when in Jakarta as they moved with their ‘mom’ from Mumbai to Singapore to Jakarta. 🙂

  4. I’m very sorry to hear about your cats. It can be hard to lose a pet.

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