Cupcake was a garden kitty. In the heat of summer days, she slept in the shade of my daylilies, and on cooler days, she sunned herself on top of my brick arches. Cupcake was a stray, and she really belonged to no one, but I belonged to her.
Your story is a fitting one to honor such an independent spirit. I hope it relieved you to share you deep feelings with us. As purrfect the timing was for Cupcake's arrival, as purrfect the timing for her leaving you. She will always remain in your heart.
I had an alley cat once. He also took a long time to let us "own" him. When we were moving to the country, he jumped into our van. He disappeared after a week at our new destination. I always believed that he was in need of a way to leave his harsh life in the city.
Here's another story. I was 15 when I lost my first kitty. Sam was a siamese cat who came to us because he wasn't happy about a couple's new baby and they gave him to me. I was very attached and we were together for 7 years. He always listened when I was sad. When he died I could barely go to school. A day or two after his death, Kennedy was shot and died. Suddenly I was not alone in my grief. The whole world was crying with me. It really helped to be one in a sea of sadness.
After reading the comments following this article, I feel as if this sadness is shared, too.
I wrote the article for myself, writing has always been my therapy....but the answers from so many have helped. Sam's story shows that very thing, sometimes there are seas of sadness, and it feels much better than being alone on an island.