Sunday, April 26, 2015

Zeroichi's Spirit - An Epilogue

First of all, I want to thank all of you who read my blog post, and left me kind and encouraging messages. The heartwarming support I received from my friends and family, and most surprisingly the online community has greatly helped me deal with this painful loss. Thank you.

It's been exactly two weeks since Zeroichi died. Any mention of his name, a kitty sighting, even finding his fur sticking to my clothes still makes me break into tears. I miss him. But these bouts of tears are now shorter and spread further apart. For that I have a lot to be thankful for. 

Zeroichi's Spirit

Zeroichi was the sweetest and most considerate kitty my boyfriend and I have ever known. Now that I've had more time to think about his death, I feel that even in death he set it up so that I wouldn't suffer too long. He fell ill while i was at home, and so I was able to stay by his side. If he had gotten sick and suffered for hours while we were at work I never would have been able to forgive myself. Financially I was expecting to spend thousands of dollars, but because of the rare and rapid decline of his health, his emergency care cost less than a thousand (not including the mortuary services) so i got a refund for the deposit.  When the choice for euthanasia was made, I didn't really have a choice since there was no chance of survival at that point so the guilt of putting him to sleep will not be shadowing over me. Even on his deathbed he was the most considerate kitty in the world. 

I am not religious, but I do believe in spirits. Every year my friends and I like to go on a ghost hunt and stay at locations (in)famous for their hauntings. So silly as it may be, I think he stuck around for at least a week to make sure I was going to be okay. You might think I'm a little crazy, but I think he played a part in a couple of kitty related miracles that recently happened. 

In my last post, i mentioned my god-kitty Onigiri. I think Zeroichi helped facilitate that adoption. After 6 hours of hopping around a bunch of different shelters throughout the bay area, one of my best friends and her friend (I will call her A) ended up at a shelter close to home. When they first met Onigiri they didn't like her. She was peeking out of a kitty house glaring at them and hissing while they played with a younger, super friendly and playful cat she shared the space with. Onigiri was not friendly at all. After playing with the younger cat, they went on to visit other cats in different rooms. In the end they decided to go back to the room that Onigiri was in to find out more about the younger cat. At that point Onigiri's personality had taken a 180 and she had suddenly become extremely friendly! She even jumped onto their laps for pets. This was all happening one city over when I returned to the hospital to check in on Zeroichi. As the lethal dose of anesthesia was being injected, Onigiri's adoption papers were being completed.  "A" told me how shocked she was when she came out of the adoption office excited about taking Onigiri home, and found my friend crying in the lobby. She had never seen her cry before. That first Friday, Onigiri came to visit... which was a wonderful distraction and it felt like Zeroichi was coming home. They had the same eyes! 

Onigiri means rice ball in Japanese.
Zero's eyes and nose. 

Last Sunday, exactly a week after Zeroichi's death, my friend's sister's boyfriend found kittens in the trash. We don't know if the kittens were placed there by humans or by their mom. But they were about 4 weeks old and obviously adorable. My friend took care of them this past week, and took them to their new home today. She's heartbroken but since she already has 5 cats, it did not make sense for her to keep them forever. I even got to babysit them a couple nights ago for a few hours. So cute! 

Cappy, Freckles & Sushi
Zero's paw beans!
Raiden and the kittens.

Other things I'm thankful for:

Adobe Animal Hospital
They were absolutely amazing throughout the process. A few days after his death I received a lovely handwritten sympathy card from Dr. Boltz who took care of Zeroichi during the last 8 hours of his life. I picked up his ashes yesterday expecting it to come in a plastic bag, but instead picked up a beautiful personalized wooden box. They also made a heart with his name on it for me. The receptionist cried with me when she handed me his ashes. This isn't his regular vet clinic and so I was surprised and incredibly touched that they took such good care of me. 

Zero's shrine. 
Heart from Adobe Animal Hospital. 

My boyfriend and my dog Raiden:
We liked to joke that Zeroichi was my BF's stepson. They loved each other but it was nowhere near the bond Zero and I shared. As part of the grieving process, I did get angry with him and accused him that a part of him was probably happy Zero was gone. Which was unfair of me, since he has been nothing but supportive the last couple of weeks. He hasn't cried since that awful day at the hospital but that didn't mean he wasn't sad.

The BF is a very light sleeper and didn't like Zero on the bed while we slept. Note we don't have a door to the bedroom. So Zero learned to stay in the living room until he heard our alarm go off. Then he'll happily run over to chime in. When we adopted Raiden, they both stayed in the living room while we slept since Raiden was crated at night. They kept each other company. After Zero died, the BF knew I needed Raiden close to me so he started sleeping in the bed with us. But that didn't work out so well.  I would end up on his side tossing and turning to avoid squishing the dog. After a few days he was getting cranky, so I was able to train Raiden to sleep in our headboard in just one night! Such a smart little boy. :)

Raiden's new bed. 

Thank you everyone...
I was lucky to have Zeroichi in my life, and his passing has made me see how lucky I am to have such wonderful people in my life. His death has brought tears not only my eyes but to at least a dozen others close to me. The love and support that I have received from friends, family and co-workers have kept me going. My colleagues gave me a beautiful frame with his photos that I have used to create a small shrine for Zero. A friend made a small glass jar for me to collect his whiskers and claws that I may come across which i think would be perfect to store the marble I will be making with some of his ashes. 

I still remember the first time i laughed after Zero's death. I work at a university, and one of my fellows (i will call her S) brought me a cookie and told me how sorry she was about my loss. The next day another fellow brought me flowers and a sympathy card and said that she heard about my dad's death from S who she shares an office with. It's dark... but I couldn't stop laughing. S stopped by the following day to apologize for mishearing what had happened. But I needed the laugh.... it reminded me of playing grapevine as a kid. 

And finally, I'm thankful for this blog. Although there was a three year hiatus, I'm glad it exists. This is where Zeroichi and our memories together will live on. Your kind words were the neosporin to the painful gash in my heart Zeroichi's death left behind... and for that thank you. 


  1. what a wonderful tribute to a wonderful life...and amazing to see what was going on around you to reaffirm that

  2. Our beloved cats live on forever in our hearts. Your tributes to Zeroichi have been absolutely beautiful.

  3. Many purrs for continued healing. Your Zeroichi was very special to your heart and will always be so. (hugs)

  4. Such a beautifully written and heartfelt tribute. Those kitties that have left us live on in our hearts and all around us in so many ways.

  5. What a beautiful tribute to your special boy Zeroichi.