Well, Eric got a phone call while we were at Game Night - as soon as he said that it was Mom, I knew. I'm still not entirely sure what happened - she was crying really hard when she told me, so I *think* she said that she got home from work and he was worse, seizing, maybe?, and she took him to the vet and he was gone. I think. Right now, I'm not going to ask her. All I know is that he's gone.
A few weeks before my 16th birthday, my mother and brother walked into my bedroom after school and told me to get in the car. They wouldn't tell me where we were going. We finally pull into a parking lot, and it's a pet store. We walk in the door, and Mom points at a cage of kittens in the center of the room and says "Pick one, they close in half an hour." That's how I found out that my brother was giving me a kitten for my birthday. I held a couple of the kittens, and while I was holding one, a big dog came in. The kitten I was holding cuddled against me and tried to hide in my arms - he trusted me to keep him safe. That's how I picked Milky.
His full name was Milky Way - when we brought him home, he wouldn't really play or eat too much, until we gave him a little saucer of milk. After he drank that, he was EVERYWHERE, playing and jumping - thus the name.
I remember the first night we had him home - we were keeping him in my room, because he was such a small kitten and a pretty big house. I woke up in the middle of the night to hear a tiny little mew. I looked down and saw that he was looking up at me, demanding to be put on the bed, since he was too small to make the jump. I picked him up, and he curled up on my chest and fell asleep. I was terrified that I would roll over and crush him - I don't think I slept at all that night.
He never was a big cuddle cat, but he liked curling up near me. He was always my cat, even after I moved away for college. My senior year of college, I was in a bad place. My mother lived half an hour away from my school, and I would frequently go home for a weekend to try to get away from everything. A big part of what I got there, besides the comfort of being home, was getting some kitty time - something I didn't realize I needed until I didn't have it on a regular basis. One very bad night, I was at Mom's, with Milky curled up behind my knees as usual. I distinctly remember thinking that there wasn't a single living thing on Earth that benefited from my existence - and that's when Milky started purring. It was a big turning point for me, and I truly believe that he saved my life.
His last few months were rough, and in a way, I'm glad he went the way he did - it means that my mother was spared the pain of making that decision, which I know she would second-guess forever. Still, this is going to be hard.