Preparing to Say Good-Bye

Saying good-bye is nature’s cruel joke, and now I’m preparing to say good-bye to my best friend and my writing companion of the past 13 years.

Chance “Mazel Tov” Lopatin, also known as Mr. Man.

Headshot of my cat Chance
My cat, Chance. Photo credit: Oscar Barrascouth

For those of you who have been following my blog for years, you may remember Chance from the viral Freshly Pressed post, “My Jewish Cat and the Art of Guilt.”

Why am I writing about Chance today? Well, it’s simple: nothing else is on my mind. I can’t write about my novel, or social media trends, or books to improve your craft, or literary agents. None of it would be possible without Chance’s love over the years.

Chance is 15 years old. He’s lived with me for 13 of those years. I met him when I was just 20, a few months after moving out of my mom’s house. He was a stray who appeared from a bush, like a mirage, as I prepared to go grocery shopping.

I never made it to the store.

Chance has been more than a pet. He’s been a soul mate.

Me with Chance. Photo credit: Oscar Barrascouth
Me with Chance. Photo credit: Oscar Barrascouth

From ages 20 – 27, my life was not the most stable. I moved eight times in four years. I attended three different colleges. Through it all, Chance was the one constant. He was there for college parties, roommates, college graduation, first professional job, first major break-up, finding love again, the Great Recession, buying my first house, severance and unemployment, and finally, quitting Corporate America to launch my business.

He has been my ultimate source of comfort, my weapon against anxiety disorder, and my most trusted confidant. While in college, Chance even woke me one night, warning me of two intruders who’d just broken into our apartment.

A year-and-a-half ago, Chance was hospitalized when he became diabetic. I visited him every day. When the vet tech brought him to the visitation room, Chance rose from the dead like a Phoenix, regaining his appetite and his will to “talk.” I remember the vet tech saying, “I’ve never seen a cat who loves his human so much.”

Chance has also been my writing buddy.

Chance cuddling with me while I worked from home.
Chance cuddling with me while I worked from home.

This has been especially true since I established Shari’s Ink in September last year. Chance could never cuddle with me enough. Writing with him on my lap always made the process more warm, more soulful, more joyous. Yes, it is possible.

But nothing good is meant to last. That’s the irony, and cruelty, of life.

The sophisticated duo: me and Chance. Photo credit: Oscar Barrascouth
The sophisticated duo: me and Chance. Photo credit: Oscar Barrascouth

Chance is now growing very weak from end stage kidney disease. The looming eye of death is ever watchful. When the moment comes to say good-bye, you may not hear from me for a week or two. But at least you’ll know the reason why: that a mortal cat has passed on, while a legend has been born.

Chance, the legend
Chance, the legend

My name is Shari Lopatin. I’m a professional writer, editor, journalist, and social media strategist with a decade of experience in media and communications. I live in Phoenix, Ariz. and blog about finding a literary agent, writing tips, social media or tech trends, and sometimes current events. I also edit novels for self-published authors or writers needing help before querying literary agents. Connect with me on Facebook and Twitter.

15 responses to “Preparing to Say Good-Bye”

  1. Hi Shari
    We have never met but your mom and I were childhood friends who reconnected after many years. The bonds we make with people can last for a lifetime even when separated from each other. I felt that bond kindle again when your mom reached out to find me. When you have a companion such as Chance who has actually been a comfort and inspiration to and for you for all those years it will seem like the time flew by with them and for you to let go will probably feel like flying solo. You can and will make it through though because Chance opened your heart and eyes to life. We have to appreciate life’s moments when we have them. Also to create those moments for ourselves because that’s all we have is a series of memories. Sounds like Chance and you had many. Sorry that you are losing your precious companion. You and Chance were both benefited by each other. Prayers for Chance.

  2. Hey Shari

    Great words for our great friends. Had to bury my 16-year-old Lab last summer. Hang in there.

    Buck Barry 901/489-9119


    1. Hey Buck,

      Thank you so much. That really means a lot. I am so sorry to hear about your 16-year-old lab. Gosh, that must have been heart-wrenching. They really are like our family members.

  3. This was very deep and heart felt, Shari. The bond between a human and an animals can be very strong. Even stronger than that of two humans. Chance is a very special animal. Even though he suffered from abuse at the hands of other humans before he came to you, he still gave humans a chance, and showed his ability to love and be the friend that we can only dream of in a person. I will miss him dearly when he is gone, but I know in my heart, that it’s only a matter of time before we are all reunited again for eternity. Part of the force he shall become.

    1. Thank you, Oscar. 🙂 I was nearly crying when I wrote it. I totally agree, the bond between a human and an animal can be, sometimes, stronger than the bonds between humans. It’s so hard to lose them.

  4. Awww…it’s always hard when a loved one moves on, even if that loved one is a pet. There are days I miss Mama Kitty, even though it’s been many years since she passed on. Prayers to you as you prepare to say good-bye to a long-time companion.

    1. Thank you so much. I’ve been astounded by the outpouring of support on this blog, but on Facebook as well. It’s very comforting. I’m sorry to hear about your Mama Kitty, and I’m sure that like you, I will still have days where I miss Chance, too. I’m thankful for every day I have with him right now.

  5. Shari…this is a great tribute to Chance! He is the BEST cat and he is very special mostly to you but to your family as well. He is my favorite cat of all time. You have been an excellent pet mom. Chance is fortunate that you found him by chance! He should live on through your writings. What a good time to consider re establishing The Chance Chronicles!

    1. Thank you, Mom. He is the BEST cat ever. I never knew he was your favorite cat of all time, but that brings me joy. 🙂 I do have plans to write the Chance Chronicles someday, after he’s passed on and I have healed enough that I can write it without getting too upset. I want to immortalize him in words.

  6. jennifer marie Avatar
    jennifer marie

    Know that you brought happiness and love to each other. He will be remembered for all the amazing moments he shared with you and you gave him a loving home and unconditional love. Nothing will replace him, and nothing ever should. My dog, Napoleon, was with me through some of life’s roughest patches….. he passed away at 15….unheard of for a Pembroke Welsh corgi. He was there everyday, showing me unconditional love just like I showed him. I miss him everyday But I know he is at peace now. I had him cremated and his ashes sit on my mantle….watching over me like he did in life.

    1. Thank you so much, Jen. I am very sorry to hear about Napoleon. It sounds like you had the same relationship with him, as I have with Chance. I totally understand, and I’m sure once Chance has passed on, I will keep his ashes with me always, too. 🙂

  7. Jerry Lopatin Avatar
    Jerry Lopatin

    Shari, what a wonderful tribute to a loving partner in life. Enjoy all of the moments that you still have with your very best friend! I’m so glad that you have had the chance to have a Chance! What are the chances of that. Don’t stop smiling and laughing through all of this because that is not how Chance would want YOUR story and HIS to end. Just be the best companion to him, just as he has always been for you. I’m thinking of you both! Love…. Dad!

    1. Thank you, Dad! That really means a lot. I am definitely doing all I can to make our time together now as joyful as possible. You’re right, what ARE the chances that I had the chance to have a Chance? Haha. 🙂 I’m glad this post has touched so many people.

  8. Shari my heart goes out to you. You are fortunate for such a good and loving friend. I have 4 rescue dogs who of course rescued me when I lost my husband to suicide. When it’s time allow yourself to grieve. And then find your new best friend. You’ll know when time is right. BTW you also are his best friend!

    1. Thank you for your kind and comforting words, and oh my gosh, I am incredibly sorry to hear about your husband. It’s amazing how our animals rescue us, sometimes, more than we rescue them. You offer great and comforting advice. I truly appreciate that.

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