Monday, August 28, 2023

Everlasting Love: Celebrating My Relationship with Carmine on Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day

 Hello my precious Tiny Lion,

It's been three months now since you left me for the Rainbow Bridge. Life is so different without you, so empty. Sometimes I find myself lost without you. I think, "It's Wednesday night. Time for your Adequan injection," or, "I better crawl out of bed so I can give you your insulin shot." Then I remember you're no longer here, and it's like being slapped in the face each time. 

Carmine was a handsome orange tabby.

We were inseparable for nearly 18 wonderful years. You were my best friend and fuzzy soulmate. 

If I actually let myself feel the extent of my grief over losing you, I'd fall apart, and I know you don't want me to be sad, so I try to stay busy. Even though it breaks my heart to think about you, I do my best to smile at all the wonderful memories and blessings you gave me.

Do you remember the day we first met? I do. My friend, Mariah, and I were looking at all the kitties in the PetSmart Adoption Center, and she pointed you out to me. The instant the PetSmart employee handed you to me and you curled up on my lap, I knew you were coming home with me. I knew you were special. I didn't know why you were so special, but I decided to follow my heart and adopt you. It was perhaps the best decision of my life. 

From day one, you and I had a unique, unbreakable bond. We were connected on a deep soul level. I've learned the kind of bond we shared is exceedingly rare. Words cannot begin to explain the deep bond we had.

Carmine was rarely more than a few feet away from me. He loved to hang out with me while I worked on the computer.

I was such a mess when I first brought you home to live with me and Lita. My mental health was terrible, and I had no healthy coping skills to speak of. I couldn't even identify how I was feeling most of the time. 

I'd experienced so much trauma in my life up to that point. I was hurting so much, and I lacked the ability to cope with it in a healthy way. I was stuck in a self-destructive cycle. I found solace in my eating disorder and self-harming (cutting, burning) behavior. At that point in my life, I was doing well if I could go more than a few days without cutting or burning myself. 

You were the catalyst for change. 

I had been starving myself in an attempt to control my pain. But your insistence to "help" me eat all of my meals and your unconditional love helped me get into recovery from my eating disorder. 

Carmine insisted on helping me eat all my meals throughout his life, even after I recovered from my eating disorder. 

You had so much wisdom to share with me. The greatest thing you taught me was what love actually is.  Before you came into my life, I had an extremely difficult time understanding what unconditional love actually was. Up to that point in my life, I'd mostly experienced conditional love and support from the people around me. Eventually nearly everyone stepped away from me because I was such a mess, someone they didn't know how to help. My problems were simply overwhelming for the people who cared about me.

You were different. You loved me without condition. You loved me whether I was skin and bones or had extra weight to spare. You loved me when I was having a terrible day, when I cried, when I hurt myself, when I was falling apart. You loved me through my problems. 

I quickly learned that you needed me as much as I needed you. You hated being separated from me. You'd sit outside of the door and cry if I went into another room to harm myself. I couldn't stand to harm myself with you watching, but I couldn't stand to hear you crying outside the door, either. This helped me put more and more time between self-harming episodes. I was eventually able to stop completely. It's now been 13 years since I last self-harmed.

Carmine did what nobody else could - he loved me through my struggles.

Thank you for loving me, my sweet boy. Your love and our connection is the reason I'm still here today. I want everyone who loves me to know that you are the reason I didn't give in to suicidal thoughts more than a decade ago. I made a commitment to love you and care for you for life. I took that commitment very seriously. I couldn't abandon you; you needed and deserved all the love I had to give you. 

Even after I recovered from my eating disorder, you continued to insist that I needed "help" eating my meals for the rest of your life. It became a cherished time of day where we bonded over food. 

You helped me with my disordered eating, and I got to repay the favor as you struggled with food issues throughout your life. I often found myself trying various things to encourage you to eat, whether it was holding your bowl for you, sitting by you to protect you from Lita, Jewel, or Tylan from stealing your food, or pleading with you. 

Food issues aren't the only thing we both struggled with. I don't think it was a coincidence that you and I struggled with some of the same health issues: failing vision and chronic pain. Sharing these health challenges strengthened our bond. We understood each other in a way that many others couldn't. 

Carmine always knew how to make me smile. 

You always seemed to know what I needed. I miss that. Do you remember the time I was horribly sick and in bed for a week? You only left my side to eat, drink, or use the bathroom. Do you remember the night before we took Jewel to the vet to help her to the Rainbow Bridge? You slept by my side the entire night; you didn't wander around the apartment  the way you might throughout any other night.

Do you remember how you used to meow at me in the dark to let me know where you were? Somehow you knew I couldn't see you. 

Carmine and Lita
Though they were never best friends, Lita loved Carmine in her own way. She found comfort in his presence the way I did when she didn't feel well.

You were always a caretaker. You brought me so much comfort and joy. On the last day we were together, I know you felt terrible, but you slept with me all night, not moving from my side. You cared more about how I felt than about how you were feeling. That is what love is. 

Because we shared such a deep bond, I could hear you like I've been able to hear no other cat. You gave me clear messages. I'd listen and do what I could to help you when I knew you were struggling. I just about fell over the night you told me you couldn't see. The next time I took you to the vet for your quarterly blood work, the vet confirmed what you'd told me - you could no longer see. 

Carmine and I shared an incredibly deep bond. We could read each other like nobody else could.

I always knew when you didn't feel well. Our vet eventually learned that I was always spot-on when it came to you. I only wish I could have heard everything you had to say. I know you had a lot of wisdom to share.

Over the years, I learned how to be okay being alone. Sure, I got lonely occasionally, but in general, everything was okay because I had my best friend by my side. Now that you aren't here, the world is a lonelier place.

We shared so many good times. I'll always remember your crazy kitten antics: how you raced around the apartment with so much energy, how you supervised when my friends and I played board games, how you tried to take off with game and puzzle pieces, and how you loved to steal socks. I remember how you loved your Yeowww! toys, bugging Lita, and hanging out with me all the time. We were like two peas in a pod; you were rarely more than a few feet away from me. I love how you were there for me. I was your favorite person. 

Now that you are gone, as long as I stay busy during the day, I am okay. I am functioning. I am moving forward with our book, Purrseverance. I know you wanted me to finish it. 

For nearly 18 years, Carmine slept with me at least part of the night every night.

Nights are the hardest for me. I no longer have a cat who sleeps with me every night the way you did. I miss you curled up near my feet. I miss you coming up near my head and meowing at me until I pet you. I felt safe with you watching over me. Since you've left, I have so many more PTSD-related nightmares. I wake up to find you aren't here to comfort me, for me to pet you and to listen to your purr until I can go back to sleep. 

I know that you haven't completely left me. Love is eternal, and our bond will never break. You may not be my handsome mancat in fuzzy orange pajamas anymore, but you are still here. I know that you visit. Sometimes I hear you meow faintly just to let me know you're here. I tell you I miss you and I love you. 

The adjustment is hard. I wish you were here so much. I miss being able to reach over and pet you when I need a break from writing or editing. I miss how you'd come over and demand my lap when you wanted it. I miss you sleeping by my feet at night. I miss the safe, warm, comforting feeling your presence brought me.

I know that we will be together again. Sometimes that is all that keeps me from breaking down. Until we meet again, my sweet Carmine, know that neither of us will ever be alone because we'll always be in each other's hearts. 

I love you always and forever.


Carmine graphic
Graphic created by Katherine Kern (Momma Kat and Her Bear Cat).


February 18, 2005 - May 26, 2023

Forever Loved


  1. Beautiful tribute to a much loved feline. You were lucky to have each other for 18 years.

  2. I'm so glad you and Carmine found each other. That's a precious bond and a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

  3. Absolutely beautiful and written from the heart. You'll be together again one day. He was your soul cat, and you were his person. Hugs )))

  4. A beautiful tribute to your beloved Carmine.

    From Jan, Angel-Milo and Alfie xxx

  5. Sierra, it's difficult to find words to share here beyond saying this is all about the purest of love, in it's most perfect form. Yours for Carmine, his for you. Two peas in a pod? The pod is not empty, it never will be, as all you have expressed, all you feel keeps that little pod full. What is out of sight is still there ... always there for you.

  6. Thank you for sharing this. A lovely tribute, and the unwritten words on your heart impossible to express still shine through. You both were (and are) blessed to have each other.

  7. Such a beautiful tribute to your handsome, tiny lion. It's clear you were meant to be in each others lives and I'm grateful for the years you shared together. Forever and always in your heart. And that little freckled always brings a smile to my face.

    Love and purrs from Deb, the Zee/Zoey gang, and Purr Prints of the Heart.

  8. A meaningful tribute to your Carmine. I know how hard it is when kitties leave us, but they always stay in our hearts. Purrs, comfort, and peace going out to you.

  9. A touching tribute to your little lion. So happy you were there for each other, especially when the going was rough. XOXOXOs

  10. Wonderful tribute to Carmine. You both saved each other.

  11. How blessed you were to have Carmine for 18 years, but it is never long enough. XO

  12. This is so, so beautiful. In the time you had together you shared a love that will last a lifetime.

  13. Such a wonderful and heartfelt tribute and remembrance of dear Carmine. You two were meant to be, no doubt about it. This is one of the best I've ever read, ever. Hugs from all of us.

  14. What a lovely tribute to your precious Carmine. They really do leave pawprints on our hearts. ♥

  15. This is such a beautiful and moving tribute to your beloved Carmine. Hugs and purrs and you remember him always.