Taking a bit of a break from the ‘heavy stuff’, I thought I’d tell you a little story about a famous cat…

This is Garfield. It’s not just any old cuddly toy; this guy has travelled miles for us, in more ways than one!

When in Menorca, our first holiday abroad as a family a few years ago, my middle daughter spotted Garfield in the local toy shop. She wasn’t a particularly big fan of Garfield, but the bright-orange cat with his cheeky face really stood out to her. He was quite expensive as a treat so we didn’t buy him on first sight. It wasn’t until the end of the holiday that we remembered the cat and she bought it with her remaining spending money. He was worth the money, as he’s beautifully made and looks as good as new today.

So, Garfield is well-travelled and brings back fond memories of Cala en Porter – a resort we visited three years running as we loved it so much. He has been hanging around the place, sometimes cuddled, sometimes forgotten about, but always there.

While we were with Abi in Frenchay Hosptial, we knew that our other children were coming to visit. We felt it important they were at least in the hospital even if they didn’t want to see her, as it may be the last time they could be with her. So we asked that they bring Abi a teddy to keep her company; we’d left the house in such a rush that we hadn’t brought a thing with us. I didn’t really think about what they’d choose.

They chose Garfield, a Forever Friends bear (on the left) and a lovely soft cat hot water bottle cover (minus bottle) (right), which was a much-loved present from last Christmas. We placed Garfield and the Forever Friends bear on Abi’s bed, the nurses carefully placed the ‘Cat’ hot water bottle under her arm so that she could feel it there.

Abi wasn’t a ‘teddy cuddling’ kind of girl, though she loved her new hot water bottle, but these teddies were gestures of love from her siblings. They stayed with her from that point.

I took the Forever Friends bear with me to our parents’ room in the hospital, and I would cuddle it at night when I rested. It stayed with me after that and is now back on her bed at home. Garfield and the ‘Cat’ stayed throughout everything and were with Abi until the very end. The ‘Cat’ went to heaven with her, but we kept Garfield for ourselves and brought him home.

This well-travelled cat has been on a different kind of journey with us, and is now tucked up in Abi’s bed. So, when I sit on her bed, I can cuddle him, remember, and feel a bit closer to Abi again.

“Good times are ahead! …Or behind. Cos they sure aren’t here.” — Garfield