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Kind words

Posted by joeabbott on March 9, 2012

WaklingSpencerMy family has been sending words of support and kindness this past week and I truly appreciate their thoughts and efforts.

Some have shared stories of similar loss; loved ones who have gone before us and left our circles breached. Some have reached out to say they care and that we’re in their thoughts. And some have sent inspirational quotes.

My mother amended a famous Lord Alfred Tennyson quote as follows:

‘Tis better to have loved and lost

than never to have loved at all.

However, if one has loved, there can never be loss (in my mind), because love is eternal.

Suzy and SpencerSuzy and I have been falling into the habit of wending out the afternoon (she sleeps because she’s still sick, I sleep because it drains me to be otherwise) and spending the evening hours watching a sitcom called The Office on Netflix. The whole while we hover about Spencer, impotent guardian angels, hoping to lend a hand or make a difference; we constantly sit near, reaching out and touching him. I awoke this morning on the couch, my arm outstretched toward him, and Spencer resting his chin in my palm, sleeping soundly.

Times like that are magnifiers: love and caring are intensified, pain redoubled.

I dug through some old photos and found a couple of my favorites. The picture to the right is me walking Spencer through some park or other in the south end; he was new to us and we wanted him to enjoy a big world. The shot to the left is a delighted Suzy holding our new family member not long after getting him.

Another quote I received and liked is:

My grief is a heavy enough burden right now. I will not add to that the burden of trying to camouflage who I am.

I like it because I feel absolutely goofy getting a wet and sobby over a cat, and yet I am. I do.

Spencer is a dear family pet, but we’ve lost cats before; shouldn’t I be inured to this? An old friend who cared for old/sick/unwanted cats once quipped that it gets easier when you lose the second and third pets. I’m not finding that to be true at all.

The New Orleans tradition of the jazz funeral features a band who, once the deceased is interred, plays upbeat music for the family and second line to celebrate the life of the departed. Those from the Big Easy are made from sterner stuff than I, as I wish only for sleep, forgetfulness, and the balm of time.

We’ve been given the gift of a final week with Spencer and he’s enjoyed reasonably stable health, warm days, and lots of caring. He came into our lives when his was already half over and managed to give us a complete lifetime of happiness in what remained to him. He will be missed.

God has not promised skies always blue,
Flower-strewn pathways, all our lives through.

God has not promised sun without rain,
Joy without sorrows, peace without pain.

But God has promised Strength for the day,
Rest from our labors, Light for the way.

Grace for the trials, Help from above,
Unfailing sympathy, Undying Love.

– Annie Johnson Flint


One Response to “Kind words”

  1. Not having heard from you yesterday (and, in fact, being out of the house most of the day into the evening, I did not check in with you, either). Thus, I felt that Spencer had left us. It’s nice to now he’s still here. It was so nice to see the pictures of each of you with him – I’m glad you have documented some wonderful memories. He traveled from a shelter to the shelter of your loving care. Lucky kitty. Love you both, Momma/Fran

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