Pope Francis recently comforted a boy who was grieving the death of his dog by telling him that “heaven is open to all of God’s creatures.” Snaps to Father Frank. Animals definitely have a soul and go to heaven.
The Pope’s remarks brought to mind an assignment I did for my long-form journalism class this semester. The topic was leaving. We could write about leaving the house in the morning, someone dying, whatever. The point of the assignment was to write something that would elicit deep emotion.
My first reaction was, “I’m screwed!” My writing has the depth of an inflatable kiddie pool. So I decided to write a letter to my late cat, Tawny. Desperate times call for desperate measures.
The instructor, Sherry, loved it. Since the best part of having a blog is having a platform to share things that might not get face time, I wanted to post it here.
One of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do was let you go, but I knew you were ready to rest. You fought the cancer for over a year, so it wasn’t like you gave up. I only realized much later you were holding on until you knew I’d be alright on my own after your companion Ricky died.
I miss you. I miss you navigating the apartment by rubbing your face on the sides of the wall and the door jambs. Your little “air traffic control stations.” I miss you standing in the kitchen bawling your brains out for your dinner, with your bowed front legs in the duck foot position. I miss you scuttling across the back of the couch, and purring in my lap while I watched TV. These memories used to make me sad, but now I find thinking about the happy, silly times comforting.
And just so you know, I am happy, baby girl. I knew you’d leave me in good paws, and Mesa and Pashmina are the best. Mesa is my silly climber who jumps on top of the cabinets and flings her 14-pound body from the refrigerator to the countertop, while I yell “Wonder Woman!” She has also been known to scale the chair to the top of the bookcase in the living room! What a freak.
Pashmina is a nester and expert hider. She loves to fold herself into a drawer or a cupboard. She particularly favors a yellow basket on the counter. Once, she disappeared, and I tore the place apart looking for her and calling her name. When I finally managed to locate her, she was sitting on a pile of towels under the bathroom sink, looking at me like, “You idiot. I’ve been here for 45 minutes!”
You’d like them both, T-ster T. And I think Ricky would, too. Thank you so much for sending them to me from where you are at the Rainbow Bridge. You need to know you and Ricky will always hold a special place in my heart, because you were my first cats as an adult on my own. I’m just sorry Grandma put you in the freezer, like Michael Jackson, until Grandpa got around to burying you four weeks later!