If you’ve been following the blog for a while, you know that our beloved cat, Patches, has been to the brink of death and back a number of times in the past months. I first wrote about her here and then again here. She’s been dwindling and we were pretty sure she was going to die while we were back East last month.
Then, she rallied again, sort of. She lapped at her food and continued to follow me around and jump into my lap whenever she had the chance. She had her favorite spots around the house, either by a window or next to a heat vent.
This past week she was clearly getting near the end. She was a bit wobbly on her feet and had trouble jumping onto the bed. She was restless and tense at times. She felt as light as a leaf.
We’re headed out of town for a little vacation in the sun, and realized we needed her to be at peace before we left. Thursday morning I called the vet to make an appointment later that day. I knew it would be dark when we returned home, so I went out and dug a grave for her under the apple tree.
She spent her last hours curled up purring in my lap, and the end was quick and peaceful. Louise held a flashlight under the full moon as I lay her body in the grave and covered it with dirt.
It’s been strange around here without her. The two other cats don’t seem particularly bothered, but who can tell? I keep expecting to see her thin form coming around the corner into the kitchen, and my lap misses her.
It’s good, though. It was time. I am grateful for Patches’ long and excellent life, for our kind and skilled vet, and for Louise’s sweet support. Also, for the comforting words of friends and “strangers” who have sent me messages. Thank you.
I’ve been carrying around a hundred for the past week and liked the idea of finding an “animal person” as my next recipient. When Louise told me she was going to Petco today, I decided to tag along.
While Louise did the shopping, I wandered the aisles getting the lay of the land. There weren’t a lot of people in the store, which is a mixed blessing. A real crowded store isn’t conducive to making a connection, but an empty store doesn’t leave a lot of options.
I went outside to take a look around the parking lot. Just about then, a middle-aged woman and three kids marched purposefully into the store. The woman’s hair was a bit disheveled and she had a weariness about her that I could almost feel on my own shoulders. I followed them inside and pretended to look at stuff while they did their shopping. The boy wanted to know if there were animals in the store (there weren’t). The woman gently led them from aisle to aisle, talking quietly.
“Excuse me,” I said. “Yes?” she asked, somewhat guardedly. All three kids were looking at me. The youngest was all dressed in pink, right down to the pink sneakers with flashing pink lights. Her three youngest grandkids, the woman said.
I told the woman I was paying forward a gift and she cocked her head, curious. I held out the hundred and she took it, saying, “for real?” The boy asked, “Is that real, Grandma?” She nodded, then her eyes welled up with tears.
The woman seemed anxious to move on. I didn’t even get her name. As she was walking away, she looked me in the eye and said,” Thank you. And thanks to your mother.”
I snapped this photo of her as she was checking out. I didn’t notice the sign till later.
I’ll never know the story and what the tears were about. But I’m pretty sure my gift found a good home. Patches would approve.
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