So, the thing of it is…over a month has passed. Life has once again gotten away from me. And here I sit, two days away from Monkey’s Gotcha Day…and a for real deadline that I should probably actually stick to. There’s another post here in the middle that needs to be written…so here goes… Full disclosure, most of this is pulled from the Notes section on my phone from over a year ago. I had every intention of putting this all to “paper” then, but as the saying goes, better late than never.
As a reminder, Puppy died on a Thursday morning. The Sunday before was his last really good, normal day. I was home with him, the weather was perfect, and we just chilled together on the screened-in porch. He slept in his chair out there a lot and I just kind of enjoyed his sweet company. I freaking love/loved/love that guy. He was my best friend…he was always there.
That Sunday, Puppy was passed out and chilling on that chair when the (not so) little gray and white dude showed up. I always hated petting other animals when Puppy was around, especially towards the end. I never wanted him to feel like I was cheating on him. Call me weird, I don’t care. Maybe I just love differently and harder than some. Maybe I AM just weird, but whatever.
But the gray and white dude was so sweet and chatty; I didn’t want to ignore him either. I thought it wouldn’t hurt to pet him for a bit, while Puppy slept, so I slipped out onto the deck. I crouched down and dude was head-butting the crap out of me…just purring and head-butting. He was super sweet. I let it happen for less than 5 minutes and then I went back in with my boy.
Later that day, I saw my gray and white friend fighting another gray and white cat in the backyard. I went out and yelled and the fight dispersed pretty quickly.
The Thursday that Puppy died was one of the worst days of my life. I fled to Florida to get away and be with my parents for a bit. It killed. It still kills. You either get it or you don’t. And there’s no point in trying to convince you if you don’t.
We went to our favorite breakfast place while I was in Florida. It’s right on a pier on the beach and, aside from the pigeons that prowl the grounds…ready to ferociously attack, it just has an awesome atmosphere. It’s one of my favorite places in the world. There’s a bar side table that looks right out on the ocean. That’s where my mom, dad, and I were sitting this particular morning. All of the sudden, I noticed my mom’s face do a thing. I knew something was up. “I just saw a cat,” she said. Knowing I was vulnerable, she followed with, “I didn’t know if I should tell you.”
I jumped up to see it. It was a little guy who looked so much like Puppy…his markings were a little darker, but the pattern was very much the same…aside from this half mustache thing he had going on. I fell in love. He crawled into the bushes right in front of us. We ordered a side of bacon and brought it to him when we finished brunch. He took the bacon happily. We noticed an empty cat food can in the back and knew somebody was taking care of him.
I took a few pictures and felt very bittersweet over the whole thing. Then we went and put our toes in the sand for a while. It’s hard for me to sit still on a good day, so it’s even worse on a bad day. Despite the assistance of a few mimosas, I couldn’t just sit there. My mom and I got up to walk the pier. As we passed where the cat had been, we looked down. I was hoping he would be there. Somehow I felt connected. I mean, he really looked a lot like Puppy. He WAS there! (Should this have been titled A Tale of Three Kitties?)
As soon as I spotted him, Iz’s “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” started playing overhead. I nearly lost it. It made me think Puppy had made it to the Rainbow Bridge and that this little guy was sent to tell me he made it okay…or something. I’m not really sure. I found comfort and gut-wrenching pain in it, but mostly I tried to take peace from it. We caught our breath and wiped our tears and we continued down the pier…
Even in your darkest moments, there is light, there is hope…if only you are willing to see it. Hard as it is sometimes, life goes on. The sun still shines.
Anyway, my mom and I flew back that Sunday night. Flights got all kinds of screwed up (shocking, I know), so we didn’t get in until late.
The next day I got up to go to work. Being back home was hard. My routine was hollow and empty without my little guy. No meds had to be given. No food had to be put out. No litter had to be scooped. Who knew that not having to clean up cat crap could be so heart breaking? But mostly, no little dude following my every move.
I struggled through the morning, trying to keep living, trying to get back to it. I got in my car and immediately backed right into my dad’s Explorer. It took a minute to realize what had happened. Once I realized it, I began to shake and all the tears I’d been fighting came pouring out in a torrential downpour. I got out of the car and realized there was only damage to my car, so that was good. I sucked it up and carried on. It’s what we do. I’d deal with my car’s damage later.
I went to work and did my best to get through the day. Everybody was super supportive. All of my friends had written ridiculously sweet things in a card for me. Tears flowed and I fought them constantly, but I survived.
As I drove home that day, I felt the empty reality hit me hard. There would be no little goober greeting me when I got home. My life was forever changed. Even now, I still look for him. Sometimes I still miss him like it just happened.
Anyway, when I was pulling in my driveway, I saw my gray and white friend crossing over from our neighbors’ and going into our backyard.
I walked into the kitchen and he showed up right at the back door, just staring at me…like he’d been waiting all day. He did this every day. I missed my little Puppy so much, but this guy gave me something to look forward to. I didn’t really know who he was and he could never replace my Puppy, but he certainly made me smile and feel some kind of love when all I could feel was shattered and alone.
You can’t tell it in this picture, but this furry little guy has a half mustache. The little guy we’d seen at the beach was, what at least appeared to be, a combination of Puppy and this other amazing little dude. I was only beginning to get it at the time, but none of this was coincidence. God works in mysterious ways, my friends. There are times when it seems like the universe is failing you, but there are times when the universe seemingly rallies for you. This little dude standing at my door was exactly that…and the universe was rallying damn hard.
Tale of Two Kitties: Part Three