And just like that, she was gone

Reeling from a week of bad news, Alex Molton is reminded that life is not only short, but can end at any time.

Tabby and white cat looking at the camera


It’s been a hell of a week.


Told last week about a friend’s recent breast cancer diagnosis, I’d been thinking a lot about her, her children and husband and what I (and other friends) could do to help to support her as she undergoes treatment, which began this week. Out of the blue we were then given the horrendous news that a friend’s child has also been diagnosed with cancer and was beginning his treatment on the very same day.

I’ve known people with cancer before so I know in my logical mind that it’s a real thing that people endure everyday. But to hear of two cases so close to home within one week was pretty shocking, and, of course, hearing of a child fighting this awful disease is particularly sad.

Terrible shock

I was distracted all day thinking of these wonderful people undergoing such a horrible experience, when a friend outside came to our door to explain that she’d just seen our neighbour’s cat get hit by a car outside of our house. I rushed out to find the poor thing in a very bad state indeed. In a slight state of panic I shouted for OH and went to try and find something to use to scoop up the poor pet. As we went to see how we might carefully lift the cat to rush her to the vets I realised she was much more badly injured than I had initially realised and watched helplessly as she took her few final breaths. And then she was gone.

We tried to keep calm and work out what to do next when the neighbour’s eldest daughter returned from school. Of course, she was completely devastated by the situation and loss of such a beloved cat, and as other family members arrived we had to break the terrible news to them too. And then we had to go inside and tell Son#2, who adores all cats but had a particular fondness and bond with this one. He was absolutely devastated and sobbed his little heart out. It was completely horrific.

Life is short

Having lost my mum very suddenly almost 20 years ago and been with my sister when she passed away I thought I had a better resilience to death, that it would somehow be less shocking, less heartbreaking for me next time around, because I’ve experienced it before. It turns out every time is awful and horrifying and makes your blood run cold. Maybe the human condition does not allow us to stop finding the end of existence unimaginable, until it actually happens.

People often say that life is short, we can go at any time, make the most of it. And I hear them. But this week I really felt it.

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