Dear Pan, I remember the day you were born. The only black kitten out of a sea of whites and greys. I knew there would be one black kitten at least, because I also remember the day your mother was born. I remember, as a small child, finding your long-haired grandpa wandering the street. I may have kidnapped him in my animal-loving ways. Don't judge. I remember sitting in my moms closet with you and your siblings, all abuzz with love and excitement at the new kittens that would be running around in a matter of weeks. But most of all, I remember you. You were the runt of your litter, if that's a term they use for cats. The darkest, tiniest kitten I ever saw. By the time you were put on this earth, your mother was so tired, she didn't try to clean you. So I did -- I ran to the drawer where we kept the wash rags, drenched it with warm water, and for the first time in your life, I picked you up, and cleaned you off. This was the first time -- and the definitive moment -- that I became your mommy. My new-found motherly duties did not stop there, and I was more than happy to keep them going. Then your mother was tired and wanted to sleep, I stayed with you and your siblings, all curled up in that closet. When she was too weak to feed you, I fed you. As you grew, and was left out of play time with your siblings, I played with you. And as you grew up, and your siblings were given away, I stayed with you. As you grew, you became a peculiar, introverted little thing. For years, you never left my side -- anyone else was treated with anxiety and a turned up nose. But never me. It was a running joke that you're MY cat, and you didn't listen to anyone else. And that was fine. You were my shy baby girl. I was okay with that. More than. You see, you may have needed me, but in every way, I needed you more. Life was not kind to me in my earlier years -- and you knew that. Every time the walls shook with anger, you were by my side. Every time I cried, you were there, to nuzzle my tears away. Through every trial and tribulation, you were there. Like your white patch, my glimpse of light and comfort in the darkness. You've been with me through everything. Good and bad. Friends gained and lost. Relationships. Deaths. Always purring. Always nuzzling. You've moved from place to place with me -- even before I got my stuff, I had yours. You've always been my top priority, my fur baby. You've always come first. Always. Food, toys, litter... there have been many a day where I even gave you a fair share of my food, just so you could eat. Many a night we share, curled up on the couch and playing games or watching tv. It was a year ago we learned your age was catching up to you. Your kidneys were slowly beginning to fail. But mommy mode kicked in. I changed your diet. I got you a fountain. I made absolutely sure you got the best and nothing less. Toys and love. So much love. I knew the day would come when you would have to leave. When you would go ahead of me to see what it's like on the other side. I didn't want to face it, like any fur baby's mommy never wants to face. Today, as your doctor read off your symptoms, I knew you were ready to go. Jessee, your daddy-at-heart, came to pick me up and bring me to you. We sat with you inside, and I knew it all too well that you were tired. Even still, you followed me with your big, green eyes, even if you could no longer lift your head. I cradled you. I kissed you. I told you everything I've always told you. That you're a good girl. The best girl. My baby girl. And that you did good. You did so good in life. That were so brave and sweet and how proud I am to be your momma. I know I shouldn't have cried. I tried really hard not to. But I couldn't. I'm sorry if momma scared you when you needed me to be strong for you. We took you outside -- your favorite place, and we laid down in the grass, on a big blue blanket, under the sun. I felt you purring as the warmth seeped through your soft, black fur. I watched you breathe in the smell of grass and dirt. I felt your ears slightly twitch at the sound of birds in the distance. I held your paw as I sang to you. Hear You Me by Jimmy Eat World. At 4:18 PM, with the sun shining on your face, cradled ever-so lovingly in my arms, you took your last breath, listening to the sound of my singing and praise, and my heartbeat. At 4:18 PM, you closed your eyes for a nice, long nap in the sun. At 4:18 PM, you went ahead to see what it's like on the other side. Your momma was the first person who held you, who you saw when you opened your eyes. And your momma was also the last person to hold you, the last person you saw. But your momma is not the only, nor last, person to love you. You were loved by everyone you saw. And you forever will be. It's not goodbye, my darling Pan. It'll never be goodbye. For now, it's just see you later. One day, momma will see you again. And on that day, no matter what may be on the other side... we'll see it together. I love you, Pan. I'll always love you. I'm so proud of you, and I thank you for these past seventeen years together. Thank you for all your love, your companionship. Thank you for helping me when I needed you most. May angels lead you in. Forever and always, Momma

Pan Ivy