In the morning last Wednesday, our cat Bianca came into our bedroom for her daily scratching. As she walked into the room she stumbled and collapsed. A few minutes later, as Vince and I did our best to comfort her, she died. She was almost 18.

Bianca had been Vince and my companion for a long time–almost our entire relationship. She was a gift from Vince to me on our second Christmas together and I cried when I saw her for the first time and the last. I feel her absence every time I come home and think about all of times I spent with her during her long life, how she brightened my day and brought me joy. I now realize the incredible, deep affection I had for her, our cat.

On Friday morning, Vince and I had a short ceremony and burial for Bianca in the hills above our cabin in the woods.