Inspired by a little-known picture book from the pen of Bethany Tudor, this is a diary, of sorts, where I document some of my thoughts, activities, and ideas as I explore the challenges met by the characters in the story: hard work, the care and nurture of others, housekeeping skills, life changes, charity, community, and cooperation, among others. Like Samuel and Samantha, the ducks in the tale, I struggle and succeed, cope and celebrate, work and play, handling the tasks that come my way. I invite you to join me on my journey.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

A Fond Farewell

Sad news has come to our little corner of the world. Kit, the beloved tabby cat featured in this posting, passed away last week, a victim of abdominal cancer. As he was only six years old and asymptomatic, his illness came as a complete shock to our family. We really had no choice but to give him peace as his entire abdominal wall and part of his liver were riddled with tiny tumors, none of which would respond to treatment. He is already greatly missed by both the people and the other cats that live in our home, and I am certain he will be missed for a long time to come.

A real character, Kit would steal tomatoes from your salad, lick yogurt from your fingertips, and tear into plastic bags to nibble on the sprouted wheat bagels you were saving for breakfast; he would burrow into every basket of warm towels that he could find if you let it sit unattended for even a moment; and he would “kiss” your nose at night before cuddling into bed next to my daughter. Of course, he would also hunt our cockatiel if she was out of her cage for too long but, hey, every feline has to respond to instinct once in a while.

I received a call from the vet this morning (10/25/2010). The ashen remains of our adorable kitty have already returned from the crematorium and are ready for pick up. I feel as if that drive to the animal hospital will be, in some sense, a funeral procession. I had forgotten how much the death of a beloved pet affects daily life. The three-cat wake-up alarm is malfunctioning, causing everyone to oversleep and the household chores to get behind; Chopin is minus a playmate, so he spends time throughout the day searching for his absent companion instead of frolicking through the family room; and the “dinner bell,” a daily 4:00 PM confrontation that Kit used to have with Fermata, signaling the beginning of food prep for the evening, isn’t ringing either, so supper has been delayed of late as well. Everything is off.

Isn’t that how it should be, though? After all, isn’t mourning the process by which we who remain adjust to the loss of a loved one? Isn’t this the interval between loss and acceptance of loss where everything reaches a new equilibrium? I guess I just didn’t anticipate that we would all feel this loss quite so deeply. Yet, no matter how sad we are at the moment, I have faith that time will set life on course again. The fact that we need more time than I originally expected is a testament to how much Kit was loved and the integral role that he played in the life of our home. He was, most assuredly, a cherished companion who will live in our hearts forever.

Note: Kit arrived home yesterday (10/29/2010) in a lovely cherry wood box, sealed with a tiny gold lock. He was cremated on my birthday, October 21st.

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