April is always a hard month for me. And this one is perhaps the hardest one ever. My dear cat, Byron, passed over Wednesday. He was just about 18 and we had him for 17 1/2 years.

Of all of our kids, he’s the one that I’ve always been closest to. And, of the two humans, I’m the one he was closest to.

The passing itself went as well as could be expected. He was diagnosed a month ago with an aggressive form of stomach cancer. And, aside from a build up of fluids that needed to be drained, he was pretty much his usual, imperious self, all the way up until Tuesday morning, when it became clear to me that he was saying he was ready. We made arrangements that night so that our vet would come out Wednesday early afternoon and help him over.

He went quietly, sitting on my lap, like he always did. I like to think it was his favorite place in the world.

I am grateful for the smooth passing, but I’m very, very sad at the loss. It feels to me like it’s going to take a while for me to heal. And, like with my mother’s passing, I think there’s a degree to which healing means adapting to the loss rather than recovering from it.

In our last month together, in his way, he taught me a lot about life and death. And I think it’s also going to take some time for me to process those lessons and figure out what it is I’m going to do with them. Certainly, one thing I can say is that after he left on Wednesday, I went out and bought two books on career changes. I feel ever less willing to sit and settle and waste my time at something I don’t care about.