It's been just over two weeks now, to the day.

Ron came down last week to help welcome to you back home. You now sit on a shelf in a velvet bag with your retablo and certificate of bravery and collar. The vet was so kind to include several things when we picked you up and your wooden urn is nearly as pretty as you were, even if it's definitely something mass-produced. On the top, your name and an life-size engraving of your paw print.

I cried the moment they handed you to me. The first time I held you in a week. I cried in the parking lot.

Bringing you home brought some peace, and I didn't cry nearly the entire rest of the week. I thought maybe I'd come to terms; I thought maybe I had reached the end of grief and I could turn to healing.

Ron left yesterday. The rest of your food and towels have been donated to a shelter. The furniture and pads and blankets that I'm keeping for an ambiguous future are packed away in the closet. Your final messes are cleaned up and I'm finding less and less of your fur.

I've had dreams with you. Dreams in which you returned from the dead, as if it had just been a pause. I never dream of you fully healthy, as you were. I don't know what that says of me.

I dreamed you and Mini somehow had a kitten together. Fluffy but grey. I named it Muffler, a weird dream-combination of your names. I think I've become a little obsessed with this hypothetical kitten.

I wish I could go home to New Mexico and adopt one of your grand-nieces/nephews. Then I could at least feel closer to you again.

I'm realizing how empty the rooms feel now. The first night after Ron left, I realized how I'm truly alone for the first time in 9 years. I sleep alone, I wake alone, I sit alone. It's quiet now. I don't see you in the corner of my eye now. I'm remembering less and less to add to your memorial page.

How has it been only two weeks? It feels like it's been a micro-eternity. At the very least, a full month. I feel like I've been without you for so long. At the same time, I've been forced to reckon with how little time we had together. We didn't live together for even a full decade, just 9 years and 6 months.

So little time. How did it hold so much inside, for such little time?

I'm so lonely without you. And I don't know how to fix it without you. I don't know how to fix myself without you.