How would we get through life without our friends—or the fur friends we love so much? This has been a sad and silent week in our home. We had to say goodbye to our sweet cat, Molly, last week. I never realized how much her meows—with different intonations for each communication—had become such a part of the soundtrack of our lives for the past 16 years until they were gone. The silence is deafening.
Her physical absence is agonizing, too. She’s not by the door asking to go out on the deck. She’s not getting me up to feed her, or sitting on my lap early in the morning as I have my quiet time. (I’ve actually had to set an alarm this week.) She’s not sidling up to my husband Jim for some extra pats in front of the fire, or jumping from his lap to mine and back again as the three of us settle in to watch TV in the evening. She’s simply not here. And we miss our fur friend.
This is when the human friendships we have mean more than ever, however! Those friends with pets, or who have been loved by pets in the past, truly know the pain of losing a fur friend who was part of the rhythm of daily life. The first day Molly was gone a neighbor stopped by with a card, a bottle of wine, and the time to just sit and talk about Molly for a bit. A true friend.
Messages from friends on Facebook were so kind: “My heart breaks for you.” “She was such a sweet kitty.” “I’m so very sorry for your loss.” Please know that I know losing a pet doesn’t compare to losing a sibling, a parent, or a spouse. But it is a loss nonetheless, and it’s so sweet when friends come alongside to acknowledge it. A friend from afar texted, “Many, many of my best friends have had fur, and many of my best memories are of them. I’m sorry you have lost your friend. You’ll have your memories forever.” So true.
The long phone calls that included laughter, the notes and cards that came in the mail, the friend who invited me over for some sympathy licks from her dog, all of it helped this week. And all of it underscored the fact that we need one another.
It didn’t surprise me to read that a new book by science journalist Lydia Denworth, Friendship: The Evolution, Biology, and Extraordinary Power of Life’s Fundamental Bond, includes research proving that friendship is not only good for our emotional health but for our physical health as well. Bottom line: People with at least one good friend tend to live longer, happier lives. No surprise, but good to have the scientific confirmation.
So cherish your human friends and your fur friends—nurture your friendships and your “furships.” Give of yourself generously, and you will be so very blessed in return.