I dug out some photos from a past Christmas about 12 years ago.
He used to sleep in the town square of the train board, knowing that the kids couldn't step on it to get him. This inspired us to create the following insert for our annual Christmas card:
I miss him sitting next to me on the couch and crying for cheese when I go in the kitchen. He is buried under the grape arbor with our little angel kitty lawn ornament over him for now. He will get a nice garden stone with his name on it.
People who don't have pets often don't understand how us pet owners can grieve so much over an animal. They are family members to us. They depend on us to take care of them and in return, they bring us joy and unconditional love. Deke did that for 17 years. I only hope our other kitties live such long lives. Meanwhile, I am flanked by Harley and Mikey as I write this, so I won't be short on kitty love. I still feel Deke's absence and will for some time. Time will heal that.