I buried our family cat this week. It happened this way: I had just sat down at my desk and switched on the light. A few minutes earlier, my wife and I had spoken briefly, softly in the early morning light. “I’m a little worried,” I’d said. “She wasn’t at the back door this morning.” The moon had been full the night last, and I had been unable to coax our cat, Melon, back inside for the evening hours. Not unusual, though. She had spent many an evening gallivanting.
“I’ll look,” my wife had said.
Opening my laptop, I had barely settled into my chair when the frantic tapping from outside my home office window began. I looked up. The look on my wife’s face through the glass, tears streaming down. She pointed to the yard below. I knew. I burst outside, following my wife’s direction, moving wildly through the grass, toward the little orange heap.
And then I found her. Head on her front paws, she could have been asleep. I placed my hands on her striped fur and met my wife’s pinched, questioning gaze, as she stood at the top of the yard. “Is she?” she asked, sobbing. I nodded.
Once inside, telling my little girls felt almost harder than finding Melon. We all wept together. My oldest daughter wrote a letter to say good-bye, we will miss you. The rain began to fall outside.
It is April. The month my beloved mother passed away nearly three years ago. Loss. I know many are experiencing unspeakable loss right now, as the COVID-19 pandemic rages on. As I dug a makeshift grave in the garden for my deceased pet that morning, I tried to keep things in perspective. Aside from this sweet animal, we remain healthy.
And for that, I am grateful.
Loss, a poem
Loss Now a familiar stranger pushes on my chest with gentle hands Leaves indelible images, meaning to ponder.