To the editor:
One of the hardest lessons to learn in life’s journey is that age-old statement that you really don’t know what you have or how it so strongly impacts your life until it is taken away from you. This has a much more powerful impact when it has a truly spiritual connection. And this is further compounded when you abuse that spirituality and it results in a loss where you can never right the wrong you did. Actually, as in my case, part of you dies, as well, with that loss.
To some, this story I’m about to tell will seem very trivial, overblown, and without any merit, but hear me out. Fifteen years ago my family adopted two cats into the family. Their names were Spencer and Tyler. We lost Tyler way too soon, as we live in an area with a lot of woods and they were outdoor cats. But the other cat, Spencer, a lot more of a homebody, settled in for the long haul.
He was supposed to be my wife’s cat, but something changed that. For some reason, Spencer developed a relationship, no, more than that, a spiritual relationship with me. At that time I wasn’t much of a cat person; I was more connected with our two dogs. Anyway, as time went on, this connection took tremendous hold. I could not be sitting, talking, or doing whatever, where he would always be by me or in my lap purring away. I got to depend on my little “buddy” and the love and affection he was always showering me with.
Now the lesson part. Spencer was not a very strong cat physically. He was always scrawny and you might say looked a little sickly, being so thin and all. He was, however, content and loved life as it was for him. During the last three to four years of his life he became blind, but that didn’t stop him. He adapted well and could do almost everything he did when he had his sight.
His spiritual connection to me grew extremely strong. Whether I was sitting, talking, playing guitar, or watching TV, he would follow my voice and crawl on my lap, where he would purr his heart out. Now, I loved him for this, but at times I got annoyed with him and shooed him away. This didn’t stop him, though. He would “forgive” me and be up in my lap again no matter how many times I would reject him.
This is where the lesson hits home. I have been putting down a new pad for a pool we are assembling. When I was outside working on the pad, Spencer would come out, get on the pad, and think it was a great litter box, so I would lose patience with him and pick him up and put him in the house. Two days ago I was almost finished with the pad and again he was out trying to get on it. This time, as I was hot and tired and had no patience left, I grabbed my “buddy” by the scruff of his neck and hoisted him out of the pad, yelling at him, “No, No!” (First part of lesson: never, and I mean never, put physical entities – in this case the pool pad – above your living, loving, people or animals. Cool off before you react.)
When I did this to Spencer, I got a hurt look I will never forget. He turned around and I thought was headed to the house, so I finished my work. My wife came home from sitting our grandchildren and we had supper. About 10 that night I was checking on all the animals and Spencer was not in his usual spot on the cat bed next to my pillow. We immediately went out to try to find him to no avail. Remembering what I had done to him earlier, I was devastated.
We waited the night and next morning my wife called around to shelters to see if we could find him. I expected the worst, so I searched around our woods perimeter to see if he might have crawled off to die. After several hours, my wife did find him. He had been picked up by animal control and brought to an emergency clinic. Looking as scrawny as he did, drooling, and walking around in circles (he did this at home to get exercise, as he couldn’t see and this way he wouldn’t bump into things), the vet and officer made a decision that he needed to be put down and they did just that. So, while I was trying to sleep, they were putting down my “buddy.”
So here is the real lesson to learn, and this can apply to any living thing you love. For 15 years this animal gave me nothing but love, and in the last day of his life, worrying about a stupid pool pad, I hurt and rejected my beloved “buddy,” which caused him to walk off and end up dead in a vets’ office. He didn’t deserve to die in an unfamiliar surrounding with unfamiliar voices, especially when he was walking around in circles trying to find me!
Yes, I know it’s “just a cat,” but I tell you now, when you have a spiritual connection, it’s a lot more than that! I never got to be with him at the end, never got to tell him I was sorry, never got to tell him how much he had meant to me, and how much I’ll miss him. All this because I had a momentary loss in patience and it resulted in killing my “buddy.” I’m so sorry, Spencer, you didn’t deserve this and it was all my doing. Part of me died too. I will never have another “buddy” like you that knew me so well.
Please remember this. It may just save you from a situation that can never be undone!
Richard F. Limouze