Ten years ago, at this exact moment, I lost my best friend.
His name was Howard, and he was a beautiful, big, loving American Long Hair black-and-white cat. I'd put up a photo but I don't have any digitized. He was beautiful, though, with a huge purr.
Originally named Chaser, my sister asked me to catsit one winter break and I fell in love. When she needed to find him a home, I took him in and over the next ten years we spent more happy hours together than I can count. Howard's favorite position was to lie with his head on my shoulder, his arms around mine. When things got bad, he was there - as long as we were together, we could survive anything.
Vets didn't like treating him - my sweet baby became a raging tiger in the exam room. Unfortunately, he wasn't the healthiest of cats: asthma, epilepsy, FUS (which required a P-U, which cured the epilepsy), and finally idiopathic hepatic lipidosis. For the final two months of his life, I would take baby food, put it in a syringe, and shoot it down his throat. And he let me. He'd purr as I was feeding him, knowing that his Mommy was fighting hard to keep him alive.
At 7:29pm on 31 October 1998 he had a stroke. He was lying in my arms, wrapped in a blanket (he was so very, very cold) and he had a stroke. He was eleven years old, far too young for all the health problems he'd had.
I miss him daily. I miss sharing my cantaloupe and apples with him. I miss his stealing my broccoli. I miss him lying over my toes as we slept. I miss reading with him in my arms. I miss him coming to kiss me when I walked in the door. I miss knowing he's there, waiting for me to come home.
And today's when I miss him most of all.