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There will always come a time when you are missing someone special during the holiday. This was our first year without our beloved cat.
It was a difficult time when he died suddenly six months ago. Our three young boys still talk about him daily and express how much he is missed in our house. The sadness over his loss intensified as Christmas drew closer.
It is a great family tradition for us to trim our Christmas tree. On the day that we trim the tree, Christmas carols blast out from the speakers, we sip hot cocoa from blue snowman mugs, and we carefully unwrap the special ornaments that we have accumulated throughout the years.
But there was one thing missing this year. We were missing a furry, gray family member that loved to climb into the tree before we could wrap it with colored lights or decorate it with ornaments.
This year was especially sad as I gently unwrapped the cat ornaments, one for every year that he spent Christmas with us. There were eleven total. Each ornament was a bit different, some had pictures, some were wooden, and one even had a tiny bell.
As I held it up in front of my face, I remembered how he used to bat it off the tree with his soft gray paw. Every ornament was personalized with his name and the year. My boys and I carefully laid each ornament out on the carpet to look at them together.
We laughed at how he would climb up the tree, lay on the branches and eventually snuggle up on the red and green velvet tree skirt, warm and happy sleeping under the tree in the glow of the colored lights. I choked back my own tears as my three-year-old repeatedly announced that “our cat was in heaven but we still love him.”
Our boys found the perfect spot and delicately placed all the special cat ornaments together before filling the tree with all the others. Finally, the only detail left was the tree skirt. I ran to get it from where I had stored it from the year before.
As I carried it downstairs, I immediately realized my mistake. It wasn’t until that moment that I remembered that last year, I had been too lazy to vacuum to prior to putting it away. I intended on doing it later and forgot.