My Twitter friend, Janet Lingel-Aldrich wrote an endearing story over at her blog, De Mon Esprit, about Missy and her cat Doodlebug. You can read “Homecoming” here:
In our lives, we are blessed with the warmth and love we receive from family. When a family member passes away, our lives are disrupted. A hole forms in our hearts that memories try to fill, but never can. Sometimes our family members are four-legged and furry. I was blessed with just such a relationship with Missy, a gentle-hearted calico. This is our story.
The first time they saw each other, it was love.
Missy had been living with the family named Saucido: Star, Star’s boyfriend, her two rambunctious pre-adolescent girls, and the family dog, Spaz, a black labrador retriever who was just as mental as his name.
Mary had just returned to Florida in the wake of two disastrous relocation attempts: first to Massachusetts, then Ohio, during the emotionally numbing second year following the death of her husband. Most of her friends started avoiding her because they didn’t know how to deal with her continuing grief. Star, however, remained a close and comforting friend, and offered her a place to live if she came back, until she could get on her feet. Mary gratefully accepted the offer.
Mary, though friendly enough, did not care for close attachments. Her wounds ran too deep for that.
Missy, meanwhile, had never met a human (or other beast) that she liked. The kids were always pestering her, Star and the boyfriend were always yelling at her, and the dog was just a pain in the ass. She tore the fur on her hind legs and belly out in frustration.
Just a few weeks after Mary moved in, the calico cat began waiting by Mary’s bedroom door for her to come home from work. When Mary got home, Missy would follow her into the bedroom and stay with her until night-time when Star’s boyfriend would lock Missy in a spare room to keep her from fighting with the dog in the middle of the night.
Eventually, Mary moved into her own home, and Missy went with her.
Within a few months, all of her fur grew back; she became playful and more affectionate. Mary’s grief for her deceased husband grew less difficult to bear. In Missy, she’d found a friend and a healing balm to soothe her aching heart.
For years they were content, just the two of them.
Until old age and infection set in.
The night before their love story came to a close, Missy lay in Mary’s arms struggling for every breath. The antibiotic had not brought the prayed-for return to health and she was suffering. But the old cat did not want to leave her dear friend, and she fought hard against the heavy, dark tide that oppressed her.
The next day, tears streaming down her face, Mary held Missy for the last time and hoped that they would meet again someday.
“I’m going to miss you, my sweet girl,” Mary sobbed. “Goodbye.”
Mary left the vet hospital and went home to an empty house, an empty life, and an empty heart. She wondered if another friend would come along someday and fill the aching void. She wondered if she could allow herself to risk that terrible pain of parting. She wondered “Is there a balm to heal my soul again?”