Saturday, March 15, 2008

A Fierce Love and a Tender Compassion

March 1, 2008.
My son’s little cat died. Jeff is now 21, Ziggy was 108 (in cat years, that is.) She had been a member of the family since Jeff was, oh, about five-and-a-half.

Ziggy was a sweet little thing. Smart, too. She would knock on the front door when she wanted to come in, somehow popping her claws on the beveled glass to get our attention. She loved nothing better than a sunny spot to curl up in, except maybe a place to sleep on Jeff’s bed beside him.

I sort of knew it was coming, so I asked him last week what he would want me to do, hypothetically, if Ziggy died. I knew he had college mid-terms coming up, and I didn’t want him to be sad or distracted and unable to study, or to rush home and miss tests, or make a poor decision based on emotions, or something like that. All he said was that he would like to see her again, his little Ziggy.

So I couldn’t find her Thursday when I got home from work about dark. She hadn’t wandered past the patio or back yard in years, not since she lost one eye a few years back.
Friday morning I got up early to look for her again and finally found her in the back corner of the back yard, curled up against the fence. Brought her inside and made her comfy on some towels in the laundry room, then called Jeff.

“I think if you want to see Ziggy, you’d better come on home after class.” So he did.

When he got home, he lay down on the floor beside her and grieved over her. Then he moved her little pallet into the den so he could stay with her and he never stopped petting her or talking to her until she died the next morning at 1 a.m.

He was so sweet and loved her so fiercely. Not even his pain took him away from her. He wasn’t ashamed to cry. We talked through the stages as her breathing changed and her body prepared for imminent death. He gave her permission to quit struggling. After she died, he picked her up and held her a while.
I want Jeff with me when I die.


kari said...

ok, you can't write this kind of stuff when you know an emotional pregannt woman checks your blog! j/j love yall -k

Jeff said...

I like that and I miss her.