I debated putting this in the Off Topic forum, but as I thot about it, seems it belongs here. I lost my longest lived cat, Ricky, last week. And he saved my life.

When I've been at my worst, overwhelmed and, yes, suicidal (especially a couple times the past few of years...I'm NOT there now), this little guy was sometimes the only reason I decided to stick around. I knew he was getting older, so I made a promise to him (and to myself), I would be with him until the end...which came Wednesday the 14th, just five days ago, at 16 years old.

So many details to fill in, but I'll try to keep it brief. I've had nine cats over 26 years, two distinct "families". His "family" overlapped with the last survivor of the first family, Adam (on the right, pic below with Ricky). So, he was the last connection I felt I had to any of them. When Ricky lost the last of his family seven years ago, I knew he wouldn't tolerate a new kitty and I made sure I respected that. He flew solo with me. So that loss is particularly rough. And it's the first time in 26 years I haven't had a feline friend under my roof. As I told another member, the silence is deafening.

After I got sick in '01 and lost everything the following year, Adam and the second group were the only reason I didn't off myself. I could not imagine abandoning them like that, all the confusion and fear it would cause them, etc. Oh, they'd survive like I did. But not well.

In short, these guys literally saved my life. In return, I made sure I was the best cat daddy I could be. And it helped that I work out of my home, so it wasn't like I'd disappear for hours almost every day. They knew I'd be here.

Right now I feel like a ship without an anchor. The sobbing jags come and go. Had a large shoot last week, so I had to keep it together to get the job done. Just as well I was distracted. And, looking at the pictures of these guys over the years, despite the sobbing it brings on, I'm particularly grateful for my craft.

But it's been an awful and awfully quiet weekend. Much of it has been decided which reminders are okay to have out and which need to be put away for now. And I'll likely tackle his cremation tomorrow if I'm up to it.

I'll fill in more as I'm able, but had to post to get it off my chest.