Photo of a cat called Charley

Heartbroken. We sadly had to say goodbye to Charley ‘Chiefy’ Toes on Friday 7 May. My wife, Rachel, and I are heartbroken. It was so unexpected and one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. Ellie, her sister, keeps looking for her, as do I. I keep expecting her to pad across the room and scramble up onto my lap, with her back claws out, leaving me with a scratch or two, before settling for cuddles and a snooze. I loved those scratches.

There is such an emptiness in my arms and I miss her so very much. Both Charley and Ellie have helped us with accepting we won’t have children. They supported us both with our losses and accompanied us whilst we grieved. I really don’t know what I would have done without Charley waking me up in the morning, tugging at the duvet with her paws and bopping me on my face wanting her breakfast. Though often after a morning cuddle and head bumps. She ensured I kept going when I felt numb with grief. Her love helped heal my cracked and bruised heart. My heart has splintered again, but I feel her love with me, knowing she will heal me again.

Charley is such an inspiration to me. Unfortunately she had a few health concerns over the years, but she survived them all and continued to flourish as the chief of our home, pleasantly surprising a few vets along the way. She never gave up and taught me that love is vital in healing. Her spirit was so strong and beautiful and was present even as we had to part from each other. She also knew all about self-care and the importance of spending loving time together. I feel we can make life so complicated, but really love is all that matters. Love is at the heart of my memories, stories and tears. Charley’s way of being will continue to inspire me to be kinder to myself, to believe in myself and ensure I keep life simple and full of love for all of us.

I am so proud to be her dad, something I will always be as I will never forget her and she will always be a part of me. The pandemic is horrible, but for me, it has meant I have spent every day with my family and continue to do so. The time with Rach, Charley and Ellie has been so precious and sustaining. Charley was my constant companion whilst working, often adding a few words of her own to my writings. She provided much needed smiles and breaks. Not only over the past year or so, but every day. Her and Ellie has brought so much joy and love to our home. Joy and love I continue to foster with Rach and Ellie. Love always Charley, Daddy xxxx


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