“Honestly, Puff, quit pouting. It’s most un-catlike.” Sophie was pretty peeved with the little cat. She was tired of explaining things, some of which even she didn’t yet understand. They all had come up from Florida to live on the big boat. Storm, Puff, Mama and Daddy, and of course herself. Then all sorts of weird things happened. She and Stormy went to a friend’s house, where there was another dog who wasn’t offering the same hospitality HER mama did. There were upstairs dogs, downstairs dogs, and eventually Mama and the cat. Puff never got to come downstairs, just herself.
Mama would leave every day, and come back sad. None of all this made any sense. There was talk about a boat, and moving it to where they all could live on it. But even that didn’t happen right away.
And then Misty came. Sophie didn’t get to see her at first, she spent all her time on Daddy’s bed. He was in a hospital, hooked up to something that helped him breathe. She kept watch, curled up beside him. The nurses would come and go, checking this thing and that. They were not able to see her, though one of them sensed her presence, despite being unable to really understand. Misty was grateful that Dugan had come with her. She knew well enough that she was safe, he didn’t come for protection, but rather to help her keep her vigil.
And on the sixth day, Dugan’s mama had come too. It was heart breaking for him to see Heather sobbing, and not being able to do anything about it. He whined a little, though no one could hear him.
“Two years isn’t enough” she said … “it isn’t fair.” There was little Mama could say to make her feel any better, not for many reasons, some of which she didn’t understand either. Then the doctor came in, and explained what would happen the next day, when the rest of the family was present.
“He is so still.” Misty sighed and leaned into Dugan’s ruff. “I haven’t a clue how Mama is going to survive this. She has searched a lifetime for him, and finally found her way back. They were so happy, so full of plans.”
“But isn’t it always that way?” Dugan sighed as the women left. “People are always making plans, and for the most part, driving themselves nuts in the process. They ought to be more like dogs. Living in the Moment.”
Misty answered, “For that matter, the entire animal kingdom. We all live moment to moment, though the wild ones need to plan ahead for dinner when the weather turns bad.”
It had gotten dark outside. The lights inside had dimmed somewhat, the two animals had not heard Andrew arrive. “How are you two holding up?” He reached into his famous pockets for tidbits. “Tomorrow will be difficult.”
“How much will he know? Will he be scared? What can we do to help?”
“When everyone is here, and has had time to understand the doctor, the breathing machine will be turned off. We will leave then.” Andrew scratched that special spot behind the collie’s ears. “There will be no pain for him, only for those he leaves behind.”
At that moment there was a small sound, and another kitty appeared. “Am I too late? Where have you guys been? Is Mama okay?” All of Mousie’s questions ran together.
“No, we were just discussing what will happen tomorrow. I’m glad you will be here with Mama.”
“Well I figured you would want to go with him and Andrew. Dugan! Ha! I should have known you’d be here. And I’m glad. Mama’s been trying to hold it all together for everyone, not to add to their own burdens.”
“We’re not too sure she’s really come to grips with it all herself. We’ve watched her all week. She talks to him, reads to him, holds his hands, touches his face … and since he is between here and there, we aren’t all that sure of what he knows either.”
“She set him free a week ago, but he has not left his body yet. He knows she’s here, and he knows her pain. It will be awhile before he will be able to talk to her, to any of them. She understands this.” Andrew had been holding Mouse as he explained. It wasn’t so very different than their processes had been.
The four of them grew silent. Misty resumed her vigil next to Ken, Mouse snuggled up next to Dugan, and Andrew folded his wings around all of them.
Sunday came. It wasn’t long until the others had arrived and the doctor explained what had happened, what would be next, and answered their questions. Misty and Mouse had retreated to the windowsill, and Dugan rested against Andrew. Finally the moment came. Andrew scooped up Misty, Dugan pressed close to Ken. Andrew wrapped his wings around them all and they were gone.
The others had left. Mouse had hopped up on the bed and was purring her love. “He is gone, Mama, Andrew and the others took him home. I wanted to be here with you for a bit, because I knew you would stay behind.
“You know his pain is gone. All the bad things from disease and brokenness are over. You know he’s been provided for, as have all of us before him, and as you will be one day. I know you’re asking yourself ‘how am I going to do this … to go on without him’, and you know the answer to that as well. You’ll put one paw in front of the other, and take it one minute, one hour, one day at a time.
“It’s time for you to put that faith of yours to the test. You know these things. You’ve taught all of us. And we listened, even when you didn’t think we did. Turn toward the window, Mama, gather up your things. That’s right. Now turn toward your left, that’s it … there’s the curtain, pull it aside and go into the hall …
As the woman left the hospital, no one noticed the little grey cat with folded ears padding softly beside her. No one saw them leave. Her life would change now, some good, some bad, but she would continue to be ….
©️ Rose Scott 7/11/21