Our family had an old, gentle, smoky grey Maltese cat named “George”, whom I was quite fond of. As I was the “kinder and gentler” of the two siblings, George seemed to prefer my company, and I absolutely adored him for the unconditional love and attention that he gave me.
My bedroom door, being old and warped, would never shut completely. I always kept the door pushed as closed as it would go, but George learned to put his head against the door and push with all his geriatric kitty might to get inside. He would then reach up with paws extended on my bedside, whereupon I would lift his old self onto the bed to snuggle with me while I read, drew, did homework, or slept. We were great friends.
George died of old age in our yard when I was fifteen years old. We buried him in the woods across our house. Two days after his death, and just having pulled up the covers in my darkened bedroom, I heard the familiar bump on the door. I lifted my head in numb disbelief, for into my room came George, sauntering as only a cat can do. This time, however, instead of putting his paws on the bed to be lifted up, he jumped up with the agility of a young cat and settled onto the foot of my bed in his usual position, with his head upon my feet.
My heart was pounding. Yet this was George, my beloved friend. So I reached down and felt of his body and scratched his head. His small paws kneaded the bedclothes in contentment, and I heard his purr as clearly as ever. Somehow, in a moment that should have terrified me, I was instead excited in a calm way, knowing that I was experiencing George’s farewell to me, his best human friend.
A few minutes passed. George suddenly stood up and looked at me. Slowly, the vision of him became blur then slowly lifted and dissolved into thin air. I sat up in bed for the longest time, marvelling in how very little we understand the nature of life and death. Funny, I never told my family about it, certainly they would think I was imagining or dreaming. It was simply a truth that I found it unnecessary to convince anyone of. One last moment with George which I will treasure forever.