In August, I introduced you to Maxwell. He was a stray who came wandering through, looking for love and food. Max was a wonderful cat. Hesitant at first to trust a human he didn't know, Maxwell wasn't sure how to react to my desire to help him. He would stand back and watch me as I worked in the garden. I would put down food and fresh water for him on a daily basis. Eventually, Maxwell learned that I was someone he could trust.
Maxwell and I bonded. He responded to me when we would talk. He loved to be loved. I would spend a great deal of time with Max to socialize him, and reinforce with him that he could trust me... that time proved to be the key to a much happier life for Max. He was my buddy. Max would follow me around the garden, (helping where he could) and frequently would cozy up on one of the patio chairs for a long nap.
As the weather turned rainy and as the nights began to cool down, Max had his own outdoor home. It was cozy and warm on those cool nights and protected him from the rain on a shower filled day. Maxwell had found a home. Maxwell found love. Maxwell found me.. as if it was meant to be.
Despite my best efforts at keeping Max happy, I could not change the fact that he was indeed an outdoor cat and preferred it that way. If I saw him wander off on his next adventure, I always would call for him to come back... but he was a man-cat who enjoyed the great outdoors and wasn't about to give up that part of his spirit. Thankfully, Max always returned, greeting me the next morning for his breakfast and very often would be waiting for me as I arrived home. This was his usual pattern until just a day or two ago.. when Max didn't come home. I was worried that he was lost, or too cold, or something worse.
Yesterday, I discovered that Maxwell's desire for adventure took him to a place where he didn't stand a chance... a very busy street. Maxwell was struck by a car and was killed. My heart sank when I saw him. My little buddy... my little Maxwell. Some say that cats have nine lives... he must have used the prior 8 before coming into my life.
I've cried a lot since yesterday. I've felt guilty for not changing his ways and bringing him indoors. I've said plenty of "...if only I had...." And yet, I wanted Maxwell to be happy... being who he is... with his spirit for adventure.
In the last couple months, Maxwell experienced something that so many animals never have and that's the love of a person. When I held him in my arms, he would burrow so hard against me. He couldn't get enough. He often times would fall asleep in my arms. He knew he was safe. He knew he was loved. I knew that Max loved me too.
The hardest thing to do is to say, 'goodbye' to someone or something you loved so much. But, reality is that I'll never have that time with him again. I'll never see that look of gratitude in his eyes. What I will always hold with me is knowing I did the right thing in giving of myself to a deserving animal. I gave him the best couple months of his life. I'll always love you, Max. Farewell, my little friend.