On Monday, after a cold weekend under canvas, working for the Duke of Edinburgh Award, I changed my facebook profile picture. I changed from a horse to my Woodruff. He was all curled up, as a kitten, on his soft cat bed, holding onto his toy mouse, snoozing. I envied him. I wanted to be all curled up too. Woodruff taught me to treat myself gently sometimes, to take time to cuddle up with the sofa or my loved ones and to feel loved. Woodruff was good at accepting love. Woodruff was good at showing love.
My brother Stephen was the one who told me. He sent a message. History repeats itself. Woodruff was dead. He had been knocked down by a car.
I had been taking comfort from Woodruff's picture. Teaching myself to slow down, relax, take comfort. But, comfort had fled. He was gone. I had been planning a day on Sunday, curled up on the sofa with his soft fur and purr for company - a day of gentleness and peace - He was going to be my help. Now, no more.
Woodruff was only just a year old. He came to our house to sooth the grief of another lost loved pet, Juniper. Now he had met the same fate she did before him.
Woodruff loved life. He liked mice and birds and mischief. Once, when I cruelly refused to let him pounce all over my bed in the morning, he went into the bathroom and pulled all the loo roll onto the floor. He liked exploring. Every now and then he would climb up the chimney. He ate your toes and ran up your jeans. If you weren't looking he would have the food off your plate. He only drank fresh water from a dripping tap. He has been known to get in the bath. Amidst all this activity though, Woodruff always had time to snooze. And, when life was too hectic, and stress was starting to make me crack at the seems, Woodruff time would set me straight. Relax, he advised. Curl up and let the world go by. Let everyone rush about. Sit still. Listen to their hustle and bustle. Hold on. Cuddle your loved ones. Wrap up in a blanket. You are a human being. Stop doing. Be. Stay.
When all was calm and everything still, up he would hop. Woodruff time.
It will take me a long time to recover from the death of Woodruff. A long time. His death was too sudden, too unexpected, too shocking, too sad. He brought me comfort and with his loss I have felt comfort flee. Woodruff will make heaven a cosier place to be.