J.J. has been gone for a month. Which isn’t strictly true—March 22 was a Wednesday, which meant that the four week anniversary was on April 19. But none of that really matters.

I still miss him. I always will, and if that sounds weird to some people I don’t really care. I also know that it was time. He was old, tired, and hurting, and his passing was a blessing for him. I know he’s fine, wherever he is, and he’s not in pain anymore. That’s a good thing.

And it’s been a lot easier to clean the house this last month and get stuff done without constantly having to keep an ear out for him or do the assorted chores necessary to keep him clean, dry, and comfortable. The living room doesn’t have the faint smell of pee anymore and I’m not constantly buying pee pads or running 4-5 loads of laundry every day to wash his bedding. And I do appreciate that.

But I miss the healthy young cat who would follow me from room to room, who would curl up at the foot of the mattress while I slept, who would stay by my side when someone came to the door, ready to leap on the interloper if they tried to hurt me. He wasn’t a lap cat and didn’t like being picked up or held until his later years, but he would sit on the back or arm of my chair and just hang out with me while I wrote or watched TV.

He was my heart cat and I want him back, and I know that won’t ever happen. So I just have to keep on keeping on, and take good care of the rest of the J Crew, and maybe someday I’ll see him again when it’s time for me to move on. I would like that.