Pet Loss: Unexpected Heartache

Chami Artwork by Theresa Spear | Hansen-Spear Funeral Home - Quincy, Illinois

Chami was a classic ‘one person’ cat. She loved my Mom and hated visitors. Workman and noise (like vacuuming or thunderstorms) made her bolt to the basement to hide. Yet she would lie upside down in my Mom’s arms purring and completely at peace.

Chami Artwork by Theresa Spear | Hansen-Spear Funeral Home - Quincy, Illinois

Pen & Ink of Chami Kanoy
by Theresa Spear

When my parents lost their home of 40 years to a house fire they were devastated to lose Chami too. Chami heard funny noises and retreated to the basement, her safe haven, and hid from my Mom, her favorite person in the world. We were hopeful that she might survive in the basement, but when the kind fireman brought her still body from the smoldering remains of the house, we were all heartbroken.

Our family had loved and lost other dear friends in the past, but never in such a traumatic and unexpected tragedy. Tears and questions mixed together: Why did Chami run and hide? Why did the fire start? Why couldn’t we have found her sooner? We were grieving. There are no answers to some of those questions, but we know Chami was loved for 10 years, and that we cherish her memory. My Mom was the most deeply affected by Chami’s death, so we had a pendant necklace made for her with an image of Chami’s paw print. She cried. My mother-in-law, Theresa, commemorated Chami in a beautiful drawing we framed and hung in Mom’s kitchen. She cried. Whenever we talk about Chami, we both cry, because we loved her and losing her was such a shock.

Love is a blessing. Acknowledging and commemorating that love is unique and part of the healing process.

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