We had a cat once, who lived in our backyard. She wandered in as a kitten, and stayed. We fed her, and built her a shelter. In time, she had her own litter of kittens. We found homes for them, and had her spayed. We petted her often, and loved her.
She was with us for 17 years. Then one sad day, it was time for her to be put to sleep. My husband and I took her to the vet together. I stroked her, and looked into her eyes as she left us. She didn't suffer.
Afterwards, we drove home with lumps in our throats. It was hard to talk. But he said, "Do you want to go out to dinner?" I said I couldn't, not that night.
The following night, we were feeling better. We did go out to dinner. We each had a glass of wine, and he raised his glass and said, "To Kitty." We spent the next few minutes telling Kitty stories.
The toast wasn't planned. It just happened. But I'm glad it did. I became our memorial to Kitty.