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Tiger the tabby provides bittersweet connection in loss

May 22, 2012

The Loss of a Lifetime—a Bittersweet Connection

by Olivia Rossi, RN, MSN
Your Personal Trainer

He was their only child, only twenty-two, suddenly and tragically, gone. There were no words, no comfort, only wave after wave of overwhelming grief and sorrow. They cried, they held onto each other, they wondered why. There were no answers . . .

And there was Tiger, his cat, a tabby they had brought home when he was just a kitten, fourteen years ago when their son was only eight. They had grown up together. He was their only remaining connection—their only thread.
In their grief, they closed the door to their son’s room—they couldn’t bear the pain of seeing it—empty. For days afterward, Tiger sat outside his door, waiting for him—waiting.


Two years have passed. Life for them has slowly returned to the routine of jobs but days and nights without him will never be the same. Tiger is still with them, keeping that connection, that tie to their son. But Tiger is getting old. He is sick. He is dying. They don’t want him to go because he is their link—their one connection to what once was.

Tiger begins going back to their son’s room, sitting outside the door, wanting to go in . . . they open the door for him—for them—and he spends his last days sleeping curled-up on his bed. It is a bittersweet comfort for them.


Tiger has left them, reunited in time with their son. In a symbol and gesture of closure and unity, they place Tiger’s ashes in his room and close the door. They have let go, found peace. A connection broken but perhaps not . . . perhaps it is more a circle that has closed around them.

Olivia Rossi

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Discuss this article

Helen May 22, 2012

Tearful story. Our pets are such good companions. I think Tiger did more than we can know.

Karan May 22, 2012

A bittersweet story succinctly written and very touching.

Perry Fisher May 23, 2012

If everyone had a kitten, there would be less stress.

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