In the last ten years, there was one really big question that I never answered.

Would I cry if Chloe died?

Chloe is my cat that I had since sophomore year in high school. I've had her for over sixteen years now and she is the sweetest little tortoise-shell cat I've seen. She is also, beyond a doubt, "my" cat and has been since the second day we had her.

Now, the reason this question came up was how I handled death. When my grandfather died, it was just an event. I went to the funeral, listened to my grandmother tell me that it would affect me later, but it never did. It was like the times I've seen our pet died when I was a child, including one kitten that her own mother killed because we played with her too often, too early. It was just an event.

When my Grandmother Evans died, many years later, I saw it more of a trip to Decatur instead of something to be sorrowful. But, for the first time in my life, I saw my father cry and I have never seen that before or since. I remember sitting in the funeral home, listening to the ceremony but it wasn't... sad for me.

It just was.

When we had to put Sadie asleep, an hour before I was getting married, I held Fluffy as she sobbed, but it was only slightly sad for me. I just watched her pass away with the same mute silence that I've experienced with every brush of death I've had my entire life.

Until today.

Dante died this morning, around 06:14 or so. I woke up listening to hear him struggling in the house. At first, I didn't worry, but he kept on slipping on the floor so I got up. I found him trapped in Fluffy's office, where he slid under the power cords and pushed a chair around. He couldn't stand but he kept on trying. It didn't take much to figure out, he wasn't going to make it. But, his tail wagged happily for a few times, and I like to think that he was happy we were there when he was so close.

I started to cry then. We got him into the living room, off the pergo flooring and on to the last carpet in the house. Even then, he couldn't stand. But, he kept on trying. When we did, he started to stagger around, unable to walk straight, stop, or even lean against something. He was also panting.

We started to get ready to take him to the vet, but then I realized he wouldn't make it that far. I wanted to call to Fluffy, who was getting dressed, but the words wouldn't come. I held him as he slowly stopped breathing, pressed up against my leg one last time.

I cried.

I could barely talk to tell my boss I wasn't coming into work. Our friends, Bouncy and her mate (I don't normally use first names, can't you tell?) met us at the vet and Fluffy was devastated. In a matter of days, he died. From learning on Saturday he would have weeks, to not even lasting the first week, but he was my little boy. The rest of the day was filled with tears and just... missing him.

I'm not broken, at least that far I can tell. I will cry when Chole dies, just as I will if I survive Fluffy or any other animal in our house. For the first time in my life, I actually grieved for someone. And while the intensity of my emotions scares me, I'm happy I was there when he finally passed on. And, like that last moment when Sadie was still aware, I was there when he needed me the most.