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Passing, Reflecting

I exchanged a few emails with my friend John last night about his kitty, Ellington, who had taken ill quite suddenly.

He was unsure what to do but probably knew deep down what was best for the cat. And today, Ellington is in a better place.

I knew the feeling all too well; it’s been almost a year since we had to say goodbye to Saucy.

I had always pictured in my head the words I would use as a euology when I reflected upon Saucy and his extremely full life. I never wrote them down. I was content with them changing as I remembered things or as I found a better way to say what I wanted or needed to say.

Then just a few weeks ago, Val (furballus sleepuswithus) cuddled in for the evening by my side right as I was inbetween awake and asleep. For a very brief second I thought it was Saucy… no, for a brief second, I wanted it to be Saucy.

I crept out of bed out to the mantle where the urn that holds his ashes sits next to the sympathy cards and the ceramic imprints of his paws (a very nice gesture from our vet). I sat there petting the plain wooden box as I would have that cat.

Then the thought occured to me that this new gift in my life, Zoe, would never know one of the largest blessings I’d had before she was born. I cried.

She would never know the cat who curled up in our computer room (because it was warm, all the time). She would never know the cat who would steal your pillow if you got up in the middle of the night for a drink of water. She would never know the cat who loved to be held upside down like a baby while you petted his belly. She’d never know his silky fur coat, his ’silent meow’ or his 7am ‘kitten time’.

She’ll never know the cat who would wait at the curb when I would walk back from the college campus — never leaving the yard, just waiting there for me around 4pm when I’d manage to make it home. She’ll never know the efficient hunter who took down a pheasant, many snakes, and in his later years, gave a good go at the futon frame. She’ll never know the joy that Saucy brought me. He was my ‘buddy’ for 14 years… and I’m convinced that the first 5 years of his life we spent searching for each other.

He was somewhere in the neighborhood of 19 when it came time to bid him farewell last year. We’d never know for sure.

And after it was all over, I learned many things.

No matter what, I never petted him enough.

I cursed myself for every time I was ever angry at him… no matter how justified.

I wished I had more time with him.

I’m glad he’s no longer suffering.

I learned to treasure each and every minute of the ones that were left behind.

I learned exactly what he meant to me.

He was a cat. Four legs, tail, fur and a purr… but more important, he was a teacher. He tought me things about me I didn’t know. He helped me grow. He helped me love.

So, John, my thoughts are with you and Ellington tonight…

1 comment to Passing, Reflecting

  • Thank you Todd.

    I see that Saucy :: Todd as TC :: John.

    I’ve lived with TC longer than any other creature. Aside from the ‘rents, of course.

    He’ll be 16 sometime this July. Ellington was only 10.

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