Missing Mina Lee

When Mina came to live with us four years ago, I had no idea how she would change my life. I only knew that we could change the direction of hers. Having been rescued from the hands of an aggressive toddler who tormented her, she lived as a "ghost kitty" amidst other pets and my beloved's growing kids— hiding out and coming out only when she felt fully safe. When our older son moved away, he brought Mina to us. She immediately ran under our hot tub, where she lived for the first several months. It took that long for us to coax her into the house. It took many more months for her to trust her new space and us.

I began brushing her every day, gently removing the dreadlocks that had formed from neglect. We talked to her and I sang to her and she slowly became more comfortable, moving from under the bed and under the couch to my lap or next to us on the couch. Eventually, she became a permanent presence during our morning coffee time, our evening tv time and all the time in between. In the last few years, she was the focus of our home and heart.

This week we made the challenging decision to euthanize her. Her health and wellness have been declining over the past year. First with the news that she was losing her eye site because of high blood pressure. So we gave her meds twice a day and as her vision and blood pressure stabilized, she began showing signs of kidney disease. In the past month, she slowly stopped eating and drinking and showing up for her usual routines. When she refused food and water altogether and began to hide in the closet, not wanting to be touched, we knew it was time to step in and avoid the suffering that comes with a slow death. When the vet left our home Thursday afternoon carrying our sweet Mina away, I felt consumed with grief. Four years wasn't enough time with my beautiful animal friend.

Mina was my housemate, my tender shadow, my feline kindred. I understood her sensitivity and PTSD. I sensed when she was uncomfortable or feeling unwell and made it my priority to cultivate an environment that supported her feeling safe and at ease. She went from being a scared ghost of herself to a vibrant and healing presence in my daily life. I believe I provided that same healing for her.

I don't believe I have wept as deeply and often as I have this week. This loss leaves an enormous void in my heart and in our home. Every room holds memories of moments with my beloved kitty. My daily routines are suddenly void of the same meaning. There is so much to miss with the loss of Mina Lee.

I miss her giant green eyes and how they lit up whenever I entered the room. The way she looked into me, not just at me. I miss our morning routine—seeing her perched on the same spot of our living room carpet waiting for me to start the coffee and come to brush her or her weight at my feet when I sleep a little later, resting with me until I was ready to get up. I miss her rolling on the floor, doing her Feldi stretches and the whole of her curled up and simply sitting in kitty meditation. She was my favorite teacher for mindful living. I miss her lounging at my side on her kitty blanket while I work from my laptop on the couch and I miss her sprawled out next to us during tv time. I miss hearing her scratch at her post and at the edge of the downstair's couch. It didn't matter that she tore it to shreds. I miss hearing her crunch at bits of her food and lap up water from her princess kitty dishes. I miss playing with her and petting her and letting her lick my fingers. I miss the way her paw reached up and pressed against my check when I gave her meds and the way she finagled that pill out of her mouth more times than not. I miss hearing her meow (which was rare) and I miss feeling the weight of her tiny body cross over the bed and settle into her nighttime spot. I miss the glow of her eyes peering up from the bottom of the stairs and the calming rise and fall of her breath as she napped. I miss playing the Spotify "Cafe Con Leche" playlist for her and singing the Mina, Mina song. The way her ears perked up and her eyes closed as I sang to her, letting me know she liked it.

Mostly, I miss her company. Unconditional. Trusting. Fully present. I loved her. Fully and completely, I loved her. And this ache in my heart space feels like it will be around a long while, maybe forever. She taught me how to love this deeply, simply by allowing me to love her.