Letters from Me, Day 26: Allspice Clark, Philadelphia, PA

This letter is a little different. I sat down to write a letter to another friend, but didn't have it in me. So I just wrote what I was feeling. And as it went from journal entry, to memoir to letter, I realized I had so much to say to my orange guy. Here goes.

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Monty died on this day six years ago. April 26, 2009. And now, we're visiting you, Allspice, in the ICU, while you're in critical care, hoping for the best, but fearing the worst.

I don't have any kind of appetite today, and we've come home for an hour and a half to decompress and get a bite. My bite is just a cup of coffee or two, as I haven't been able to think about food since yesterday. My eyelids are swollen from crying so much. No amount of cold water or eye treatment has been able to help.

Our hearts are so heavy and we keep sifting through the photos of you on our phones, and swapping memories from the past four years - and even back when you were a kitten and I picked you up from Jess' cousin in the King of Prussia Mall parking lot, and you crawled all over me with your tiny claws, trying to see out the windows. You were the king of the car. And then, two years ago, when the fire alarm went off in our building and Dylan had to save you and Neville by evacuating you and Neville went running, but you went right to the car and were again, king of the car.

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You didn't go outside much in your years, the best you did was run down the stairs and out my door at my house in Ardmore, down to the laundry landing and down another flight to the front door. But that's as far as you ever got. You seemed restless at times, wanting to get to the birds or squirrels that were just beyond your reach, perched on the fire escape outside the window. The best was when you would climb the window screen with all four paws, claws out, scaling it to get a better look at whatever creature was disturbing our quiet Sunday morning.

You were always looking out for us, be it from birds, squirrels or bugs around the house. Together with Neville, you had laser vision, and swift paws to knock a fly from the air...which Neville would promptly gobble.

You guys made a good team from the start, even if you was a little wary of Neville when we first got him. You were used to being the rambunctious one, the one who tore around the house, playing tug of war with Duke the dog, or running circles around Fruit and Nyx, Jess' older cats. When Neville arrived, he was the playful one, but you had the patience to teach him the ropes.

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You two became inseparable, and over the course of almost four years, spent your days napping together, grooming each other, playing and fighting like brothers together, chasing toys, cuddling and snuggling up to mom and dad at the end of a long day.

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For the past four years, and especially in the last two in one house, we've been a family. We took care of you guys with food, water, pets and care. You two took care of us, nuzzling us when we were sad or licking our faces when we snoozed our alarm too many times. You, especially, were great at letting me know "IT'S TIME TO GET UP!"

You were constantly a part of the action, when we had guests over, you were first in line to greet them and made them feel at home, for whomever was newest was your favorite. You wanted to be where we were - and if that wasn't good enough - be on us, laying on our chests while in bed or the couch, snuggling as close as you could get.

Though I'm sure you knew we love you, you gave us every opportunity to prove it to you as many times as we could.

We are so lucky to have had such a loving and special animal in our lives. You and Neville made us more than just a couple living together. You guys made us a family, and we made a home with with you.

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You are a fighter, and today, we are hoping you can keep fighting to make a full recovery and come back to us. But we saw in your eyes that you are tired, you are sick, you are not yourself. So if this is your time to go, we will let you set sail on the next of your 9 lives, hoping you can find all of our cat-loving late relatives up in heaven - Uncle Ed, Aunt Ceil, Grandma Betty, Poppy Renzulli, Carl, Monty, and all the other cats and dogs we've loved.

We hope you have felt loved all of your days, and that you never had to go long without the comfort and care you so deserved. You will always be in our hearts, and you're the reason we'll never leave a glass of water on the table. You will be snuggling between us on Sunday mornings, and waiting by the window when our car pulls up after a trip. You'll be watching over us when we have a baby, as we know you would have been that baby's biggest fan, protector and warming blanket. You'll be there when we're old and grey, sitting on the arm of the chair to warm us when it's cold. And you'll greet us someday in heaven, with kisses on our noses.

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We love you always, Allspice. Take good care, my boy.