The Teacher

There is no beast on earth, nor bird which flieth with its wings, but they are nations like you--
unto the Lord shall they return (6:38)

I didn't realize until as I was signing in that it's been so long since I posted anything. Guess 2010 was as rough as I thought it was.

Which has nothing on 2011 so far.

Today was the burial for Baby, that handsome fella at the top of this post. He passed away back in January after being my baby for almost 18 years. He came from Boston which is why one of his names is "Harvard Lawyer." He was always extremely well behaved. Never jumped on the counters, always greeted guests... He never jumped on the dining table except in 2 situations, even though we'd set a seat for him at the table for the Thanksgiving dinner. One situation was when he wanted some of his lemon grass. Mom would set the stalks of lemon grass in a vase to root and put that in the center of the dining table. So, when someone would point out to Baby that he's not supposed to be on the dining table, the look in his eyes would convince every jury that we were at fault for placing the vase there to begin with it. The other situation was if he was being ignored. He's jump onto the table, sit right at the edge facing the offender and MEOW!!! As soon as the ignorer looked up, he'd step off the table since he now had our attention.

I've been rather out of phase since he passed. The years have been touching both of us as they went by and he was doing fine until less than 2 days before he passed. I always thought that dying as we lived is one of the better ways to go, and Baby certainly did. I had taken 3 days off from work. Day one, I left early morning for a meeting and when I returned, I could tell he wasn't feeling his usual self. We hung out on the couch most of the rest of the day but as it went on, he lost his mobility. The last steps he took clearly showed that he wanted to go to his usual winter night spot... my bed with the thick handmade quilt. So I took him to our bed and spent most of the night watching over him. The next day, day 2, we went back to the couch and I spent almost all the day holding him. He wasn't much of a lap cat because he was so big. He'd cuddle next to us, but trying to get 3 feet long of cat comfortably on a human lap just wasn't appealing to him.

Nose to tail, he was 3 feet long. He'd topped off at 24 pounds and the vet said at that point that if he gained much more, we'd have to start thinking about doing something about his weight. In 2010, the vet had called him the oldest linebacker he knew. And he loved jumping onto me as I lay sleeping. 24 pounds times gravity into the little kitty pads and of course I'd end up with bruises.

But, by that night, he'd lost a lot of his weight. Holding him for so long was such a joy. He'd look up and wink sometimes. Let me feed him some water or let me know he didn't want any more. My parents also held him and he heard from my brother over the phone. We went for a drive in my car and he looked out the window as we returned home.

Finally, late at night, as we lay on my bed, he curled up in his favorite spot and I lying sideways on the bed, he threw his leg over mine as he always loved to do and he was gone.

Day 3 of my vacation I found that there is a pet cemetery in the area and made all the arrangements for him.

Then I had the weekend to get some semblance of balance back enough to get back to work on Monday. Whether is was God's or Baby's kindness, I am deeply grateful.

I had a lot of nicknames for Baby but since he's been gone, I realized more than anything, he was a Teacher. And tonight, I can finally start sharing his lessons here. I hope that doing so will also keep me living his lessons. I've spent most of the last 18 years living on his terms because his terms made my life better. Now, after these last few months without his mentorship, I realize how much better life was.

I will miss him forever. And he made a difference.