Life Without Biddy, 7 Weeks Later

September 7, I made the heartbreaking decision to lay Biddy to rest. Biddy was my cat for over 16 years–my first animal companion–and he’s also the first animal companion to whom I’ve had to say goodbye.

It’s been a difficult 7 weeks. Life continues, and of course there are many good moments unrelated to Biddy. But he left behind a big void that I’m processing. I think part of the reason for the void is that I wasn’t just Biddy’s friend and papa–I was his caretaker. He needed insulin twice a day along with wet food. When he got sick, he needed pills. And near the end, all he would eat was broiled fish, so he also needed me to be his chef.

I don’t think it’s that I miss being needed. I’d miss Biddy even if he was perfectly healthy for his entire life. But whenever I reach for the insulin syringe by habit, I’m reminded that Biddy isn’t here anymore.

A few of Biddy’s favorite spots were specific objects (a mat and a little tent). Walter avoids them–he knows they aren’t for him (though I’d be fine with him using them). I haven’t been able to bring myself to tuck away these objects. Perhaps it’s that I like the reminder that a little creature meant so much to me.

Megan cleaned out a tight space under the bed where Biddy used to sleep when he didn’t want Walter to bother him, and the result was a massive ball of hair. I’ve kept it on my desk with Biddy’s pawprint, a photo of him, and a few cards from our games with Biddy illustrations.

I’ve wanted to assemble a bunch of photos and print them in a tangible photo book, but I took SO many photos of Biddy–it’s difficult to go through and choose even just 50 or so. We did, however, create a memorial wall of some photos and art that people sent to me after Biddy’s death. I talk to Walter about Biddy sometimes while looking at this wall. And sometimes I just cry.

Sometimes I just scroll through old photos of Biddy, as I want to remember him not just from his last day or last summer. One thing I wish I had done while Biddy was alive is take more videos. I have so many photos, and they’re great, but there are entire years when I only have a few videos. I’m going to try to take at least 1 per month of Walter.

For anyone else out there who is mourning the loss of a dear pet, I see you. It’s really difficult.

10 thoughts on “Life Without Biddy, 7 Weeks Later”

  1. It’s been five years for me, and I still miss Skittles. She slept at the feet of my human child’s bed, sometimes she would sleep alongside my then pregnant wife’s tummy. She passed before she meet our second human baby.

    But now, instead of remembering the Skittles I saw on that horrid night, I remember the playful goofball. I remember how she cuddled with us. I remember when she nibbled on my mom after she called her a “dumb cat.”

    It gets easier every day that goes by. Don’t dwell on the regrets, but try to focus on the positives. Also know, you are not alone. I speak for all of us when we say that we care about you.

    Reply
    • Thank you for sharing this about Skittles, Christopher. I’ve tried really hard not to focus on Biddy’s end and instead focus on all the fun we had for many years. 🙂

      Reply
  2. I’m sorry.
    It does get easier, eventually, although I’m still quite shocked when Facebook pops up a memory with Ski, my previous cat.
    I don’t know whether it will appeal to you, but I still intend to have some of Ski’s ashes made into a diamond (fur can also be used). My plan is to use the diamond in a pendant or some other jewellery piece that I can wear every day.

    Reply
  3. Feeling you on the videos. ❤️ I wish we had more of our earlier cats, but it was a lot less practical in the past due to lack of large amounts of cloud storage, and deciding to take a video instead of a photo still has friction. Apple released Live Photos 8 years ago, and we’ve used them extensively for cat “photos”. They’ve been very comforting since we lost another cat in the ensuing timepspan. The majority of his photos now come with a little meow or a bit of purring, and a few frames of movement. It’s one of the most thoughtful ideas that’s ever been introduced in software and it’s been a shame to not see them (or Motion Photos, the Android equivalent) be supported across other platforms where image-only formats are shared.

    Reply
    • Absolutely! I didn’t have a fancy phone back in 2007 when I adopted Biddy, but fortunately iCloud still goes back pretty far.

      Reply
  4. I love that memorial wall Jamey. Grief is such a hard thing to deal with and process. I can’t offer much advice as I’m not good at dealing with it when it happens . Losing someone , person or pet is truly heartbreaking but time does allow us to live with it better and condition us to remember the good times 🙂

    Reply
  5. I’ve been thinking all day about what to respond to this post. I don’t have much to add, but I want to let you know that I feel how deep and hard this is affecting you, and that I am thinking of you. Biddy is so omnipresent in Stonemaier Games projects. I hope there will soon come a time when you get a smile on your face when you see Biddy somewhere, instead of feeling the heartache.

    Reply
    • Thank you, Karel–I appreciate that. Megan and I have had some good moments of remembering Biddy with a smile, and I look forward to more to come.

      Reply

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