I can't believe it's been that long and when I think about how time has flown, I feel as if I resent time for creating a longer distance from when I last held her. 

    The weather was absolutely gorgeous in Jacksonville, Alabama and the first day after summer that held a hint of fall. I went to my grannies house to go fishing. I spotted some fluffy black kittens with orange stripes bouncing around the yard and went to check them out. That's when I saw her...and she saw me. She was lying on a camo tarp under the shade with the sun filtering through; and she stretched and reached her little arm out to me. I said "You are mine!" It was love at first sight for the both of us.
She looked different from her siblings. She was tabby with fall colors, golds, reds, browns and some black.  Born in July I made her birthday July 4th. She was my little Yankee Doodle. Among a million other nick names.

   I took her home to give her a bath and she kept reaching up to me but didn't freak out. She seemed to have trusted me from the moment we met. We quickly became soul mates. I had another girl named Mollie at the time and they bonded right away.
  I named her Kody because my cousin had visited Granny's for the summer and he had been taking care of her and was worried for her when he left to go home for Iowa. She had a nickname Kody Coco Chanel. She answered to any of those.
   As the years passed, I went through many changes in my life both bad and good. If I hadn't had Mollie and Kody with me, taking care of me and loving me, I honestly don't know how I would have managed. I know a big part of my survival was that I needed to keep a good and safe home for them, but days that I broke down, Kody would come and sit in the crook of my arm, put her paws on my shoulders, and rub her face on mine, sniff my ear, making her little purrs and mews. Telling me she loves me no matter what. I've cried in her fur so many times. Kissed nearly every inch of her body. My kisses were never wasted on her. She devoured every one I gave her. She was all about love. And chicken.
   She would break your heart to look at her. She would sleep with her nose tucked between her paws. We always said she was praying for more chicken. She could eat her weight in it...5 whole pounds. She was so small. She somehow kept her figure.
She was my little acrobat. She would turn somersaults if you can believe that. You've seen cats tuck their heads and flip to the side...she did a full on flip. It was impressive!

   We lost Mollie at age 13 of what we believe was congestive heart failure. She was having trouble breathing and when I went to pick her up, she was gasping for air.  I took her to the emergency vet. They put her in an oxygen cage. The vet said the cost would be considerable to find out if in fact she was having congestive heart failure and all signs pointed to that diagnosis. I didn't want her suffering. I didn't know what to do and hadn't been in the situation before. I decided to let go and have her put to sleep. I said my goodbye's to her and walked away. When I looked back, she was looking at me with an expression that looked like "where are you going?" I'll never make that mistake again. EVER. It's been over 10 years ago and I still feel the pain of guilt for leaving her with those strangers and not staying with her till the end.

   Kody was an only child for a few years before my husband brought home a very little long haired ball of fluff. I told him not to and didn't want another cat.  Kody was devastated. It was a heartbreaking time for her and I. She was so stressed, she developed what the vet believed were hives in her throat. Kody was resentful even towards me for about three months before she finally came around. I was so relieved to have my Kody back!  Autumn adored Kody as anyone did. Kody stopped rejecting her, but you could tell Autumn still got on her nerves.

   Kody remained youthful until she was about 18 and she started having trouble jumping onto the bed so I gave her joint supplements and they worked wonders for a few more years. But time was wearing on her. I tried to prepare myself years before. I'd talk to her about it. Telling her we'd be apart someday soon but she would live in me and she could visit me anytime in my dreams.  I made every moment count.  I told my husband that we were like E.T. and Elliot. When one of us was hobbling around so was the other. We grew up together. I was 22 when we found each other so we grew old together (if you consider 40's old which I don't! Thank you very much :)

   After she turned 20, it was like she was waiting for that birthday. She took a turn that summer. There were times I though maybe she was ready to go. I could tell her hips were getting sore and her expression looked tired. She slept in her heated cubby pretty often. It was the first place we'd go for when we looked for her. One day she'd be trotting she tried so hard to keep up with Autumn but the next day you could tell she was feeling it like she worked out too hard.

   I was praying she would pass away peacefully in her sleep even though I'd want to be with her when she did, I didn't want her to be afraid or around strangers like I'd left Mollie. I wanted her to feel safe and in her home. But Christmas Eve 2013 it was time. It was around 4am and we called ahead to the emergency vets so they were expecting us. I wrapped her in a small soft Christmas blanket and left for the vet. You know how devastating it was.

   She didn't seem to care where she was. She was bundled in my arms and after some time alone with her they took her from me to prepare her for the injections. When she was ready, they brought her out bundled in her blanket and let me spend more time with her and never rushed me. I said everything I could think and kissed her long eyelashes over and over. Finally I told them I was ready. I held her, talked to her, and kissed her while they gave the injections. They left me with her once more to spend time with her and I finally let her go.

   We chose a pretty little urn with paw prints around it and her name engraved on top along with the words "Until We Meet Again At The Rainbow Bridge"

   Now, this part you can choose to believe or not...but thank God I had a witness. Kody and I had a song "You're My Best Friend" by Queen (years before Petsmart commercial). I'd sing it to her and dance with her cheek to cheek. She was everything to me that song expressed. It was perfect. It was ours.

   We went to pick up her urn and little package with her paw print and a lock of fur, a printout of Rainbow Bridge with a pretty background which was my first reading of the poem. My husband was waiting for me in the car. I got in, put Kody in the back seat, and as I turned around, our song started playing on the radio. I was just... and Mike said "She's telling you she's okay". I just couldn't get over the coincidence. Even Mike admitted that although he knows I'd never lie about that, he'd still have a hard time believing it happened. It did make me feel some comfort. Like she was telling me that she's still with me. I'm comforted that she lived her whole life happy and loved, that I was there till the end, and that she's still watching over me. She was my daughter, my mother, and sister and I was the same to her. We switched roles all the time. I'd like to think I could experience that oneness with another fur baby but I can't imagine I could have two miracles. I hope I do though. 

   Sometimes I think about what will become of her ashes someday and if it's crazy to have ours together. Would my family do that for me someday and thoughts like that. Crazy old Tonya and her dead cat. They'd never get it but you know what? I don't give a crap.

   What brought me here tonight is that I had a dream about her a few nights ago. Not the first I've had but this time I can't shake her from my mind for more than a few hours. I've broken down twice today and brought out her urn to touch her fur and her paw print. It also contains her favorite toy mice in there with her. When Autumn smells them she goes crazy licking and smelling. I think she remembers Kody when she smells the toys.

   I adopted my first boy who was named Jay and we added Thomas so now he's Thomas J. He's a blue tuxedo cat/bulldog. He weighed 15 pounds at 8 months. Nothing but muscle. Quite the change from my petite girls but he's very loving. Autumn never really was loving. She's a princess diva daddy's girl. Jay is becoming a mama's boy. Sometimes I find myself talking to him the way I did Kody...the baby talk, the way we played, and I feel like others on this site feel. Like I'm betraying Kody. I hope in time, I'll truly open my heart to bond again. I'm working on it.
So maybe the mourning will never go away, but I don't believe I really want it to. I don't want to forget how I felt about Kody and sometimes crying for her offers some comfort. I'll never understand why. Maybe because all the memories that come with the tears brings her closer for a moment. 

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You told a beautiful story of Kody!  What a great love story, you both are very lucky to have found each other.

I also feel the same way about time, it's been quite awhile since Jamie left. Yes....I still get tears at special times, and sometimes just because. Her ashes go with me, it's in my will, or leftover money goes to charity. :)

I adopted two sisters, Abby and Casey, and I make up songs for them like I did before. Life has gone on, but sometimes when I'm alone, she isn't far away.

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I was looking through all of the posts and just read your lovely story. What an amazing thing that happened with your song (Best Friend) playing after you picked up Kody's urn! I think your husband was right. She sure wanted you to know she was okay! I'm thinking maybe your dreams were visits from Kody to let you know it's okay (and time) to open your heart again. She knows you will always love her. You gave her such love and a wonderful life. I really think it's time to allow yourself this happiness.
All the best!
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Hi Tonya,
I just read through your beautiful story and I love the pictures you posted of Kody. She really was a beautiful little cat!
I wanted to tell you that I also sang that song "You're my best friend" to our dog Bailey for years. He loved it and watched me the whole time I would sing. Once, my friend came over to stay with him because my husband and I were driving to our friends cottage and it would be a late night. My friend tried to sing to him and she said he looked at her as if to say "What are you doing?" He jumped down off the sofa and went to watch for us at the door. Ouch! Bailey died in November. He would have been 16 in January. We also picked out an urn with pawprints on it and we have it here alongside his picture.
I agree with what CK said about your recent dreams of Kody. Our little friends don't want or see us unhappy after they cross over so she may be trying to let you know it's okay to open your heart again. Kody knows she will live in your heart forever until that day when you meet again. I really believe that she would want you to enjoy happiness with Autumn and now Thomas J.
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Tonya,  What a lovely post about your Kody.  I am so sorry for your loss.  I think years from now i will still be grieving for my Winston as you are still grieving.  I also will grieve for my Max.  Winston passed 3/2/16 Max passed 9/05.  I have both of them with me in the house in their "boxes" but they are also in my heart forever.   Sue

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