2003 - 2008

I have been so fortunate to have such a friend in my life. She entered my world over 20 years ago, and has been by my side, dedicated and loving, for all that time - over 2/3 of my life. She has been with me through everything. Every joy, every sadness, every coming and every departure, through all my illness and through all of hers as well. She has been there for me at times when I thought no one else was. She has been my stability, my foundation, the one place I could always turn even when I felt I was alone. Without her, there are things I may not have made it through. When I was young, she would wait at my window every day and night for me to come home, watching, anticipating, and running to the door as I entered. She has forgiven every night I spent away, and treasured every moment we spent embracing. Her eyes light up when I walk in a room, and my heart rises every time she comes to be with me. Despite our supposed differences, we share a soul.

She has loved me so much that she has been able to hold on through much pain and sickness, through seizures and arthritis, through renal disease and senility, through loss of eyesight and hearing, through digestive failures and severe infections. Despite all her pain, she has remained, and she has always expressed her love even at her worst times. She has shown flexibility in the most stressful of situations, moving from city to city and even to a whole new country with me. Everything was ok, as long as we were together. She's been smuggled into hotel rooms, traveled for days in a car, tolerated my chaotic schedule, and even made friends with rabbits just to remain by my side.

In September over 20 years ago, she was found at the local pound - the only female out of 15 kittens. I saw her and fell in love. I'd lost another cat tragically to feline leukemia 2 years earlier, and my 10-year-old self was determined that this creature would have the best life I could possibly provide. Sure, there were times when I was young and dumb when my parents had to pick up my slack, but that love was always there. As the years passed, she taught me so much about love and life and just how important any creature is, due to the immense adoration and respect we felt for each other. People may think I'm projecting, but those who know my dear friend - really know her - understand all of this and acknowledge its truth.

There will never be another Samantha. She is a unique being. I would give everything to have her by my side forever, but sometimes we have to love someone enough to know when it's time to let them go. I cannot be selfish and keep her here when she is suffering. I have to let her go with some semblance of dignity, to spare her the pain of inevitable further deterioration. The void she will leave behind will be deep, and I know I will never completely "get over" losing her. In that way, she will be with me forever.