The phantom limb is a common phenomenon experienced by amputees. Despite a limb or organ having been removed, an amputee's brain will maintain its mapping to that body part and keep sending signals, seemingly from that limb or organ, until the brain learns to unmap it.
I have a phantom Kiltie.
Before Kiltie left, whenever I would lie down to rest or sleep, Kiltie would jump onto the bed, then begin kneading my belly in preparation for her own lay-down. After properly preparing her bed, she'd stretch out along my torso. Back paws would point toward my nether regions; front paws would tuck under her chin and mine.
We'd lay virtually nose to nose. I'd feel Kiltie's breath tickling my face and she would twitch as my breath tickled her whiskers.
Soon, I'd start my seemingly endless shifting, trying to find a position that wasn't painful. Kiltie would eventually move and settle in with her back pressed snugly against my thigh.
We'd always be touching, until morning came or my rest was over.
Now as I doze off, I feel Phantom Kiltie's wee paws kneading my belly. At other times, it's her warm, soothing back against my thigh. When I sit here at the computer, out of the corner of my eye I sometimes see Kiltie peeking at me from behind the drapes, as she sits on the windowsill. Or while I walk across the main room, I'll spot her with her Sparkly in her mouth.
I don't know how long Phantom Kiltie will remain with me. I hope it's awhile.