Grace was six weeks old when we fostered her; eight weeks when she died. A fluffy tortoiseshell kitten found wandering downtown, she came to us from the Humane Society to be nursed until she was strong enough for adoption
She was thin and hungry and cried a lot. Her bones felt like a bird’s in my hands. We took her back to the Humane Society for assessment: “Dehydrated, with an infection. We’ll keep her till the vet can see her.”
As I left her, her paws reached out through the bars of her cage and she cried to me. Three days later, she came home, with syringes of medication and instructions for nursing. That night she ate little and lay on our knees, purring, content, too weak to move.
I took her up to bed with me. She lay, wrapped in a towel, on my chest. For a long time we lay there together. I stroked and she purred and her eyes never left mine. Her lids flickered and the purring slowed, but still she gazed at me, intent. Just the moment existed, Grace and me – love given, love taken. A final moment of grace.
Grace only lived 8 weeks. I only knew her for two. Her life was hard and painful, she was lost, lonely and afraid, but she knew one thing – she recognized love. Grace gave me an incredible gift. She showed me that even when too ill to move, when her body systems were failing her, she was still happy and still knew love. Grace taught me how to die.