Alexandra Greenspan

Dolly and Shimmer

On this day last year, my kitten Dolly passed away. She had a seizure right in front of me and I was powerless to help. The little creature had less than a year in this world, and much of it was spent hiding under couches, only slowly becoming comfortable with being part of a family.

One of my best moments with Dolly was when I spent one night after work relaxing on the couch, listening to an audio book through my phone speakers. Dolly waddled up, finding her courage, and squished herself into the spot right by my shoulder, her warm belly stretched out over my heart. Her purr was as loud as a lawnmower.

I write this now with a new cat on my lap, one who licks my nose when I look down at her, one who isn’t afraid to get in my way in order to get her daily dose of cuddles. I adopted Shimmer in September of last year, even though I worried about the concept of “too soon”. Shimmer and Dolly could not be more different: Shimmer loves people and craves to be part of the action. Dolly’s first weekend home, she crouched behind the dish drying rack on the kitchen counter, her first of many hiding spots.

However, they did have one thing in common. They both needed a home. There’s a cheesy quote that starts, “People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime.” I realize now that when I adopted Dolly, she needed me. I hope I gave her the best couple months of her life to show her she could be loved, even for her short season on Earth.

When I adopted Shimmer, I needed her. I still do. That’s why she’s curled up on me as I write this, and that’s why she purred for me when I first met her at the shelter, tears in my eyes as the losses in my life welled up and spilled over.

It’s hard to write about the things that hurt us, but it’s even more important to take the effort to honor their memory. I miss you, Dolly. But I’m also happy I allowed myself to find Shimmer.