We met seventeen and a half years ago. The connection was comfortable and disarming, melting away the uncertainty I felt toward starting over.
He was a little goofy looking, in a charming sort of way. The eyes. That’s what got me. Every day for seventeen years his eyes reached out and connected our souls with nothing more than a gaze.
He almost slipped away from me on that first day. The gracious hand of fate stepped in to keep another woman from taking him away.
I wonder sometimes if he would have loved her as much as he loves me.
I smile knowing without a doubt she and I are not the special factors of the equation. His devotion to her would have been equal. That’s just who he is.
His heart contains an immense capacity to love. No matter what I say or do, he blesses me with forgiveness in the blink of his eyes.
Oh, there are times. Times when I tire of tending to his needs, cleaning up the messes he leaves behind. Ashamed that my love and devotion grows weary and weak, in selfish silence I hope he never realizes he deserves better.
His gait once strong, albeit awkward and a bit clumsy, is now slow and crippled. His body deteriorates a fraction of an ounce each day as time ticks away without remorse.
We all knew this day was inevitable. Laws of nature are unbending.
His body weakens but his heart remains strong as my heart is breaking apart. The love in his eyes is still there, standing behind the messenger pleading to let him go.
Seventeen and a half years ago, my husband noticed another woman at the counter in the process of adopting an orange tabby kitten. He turned to the Humane Society employee assisting us with the adoption of two fur baby siblings and said, “What happened to the orange tabby that was in this cage? He’s supposed to go home with us today.”
My Homer boy almost went home with another woman that day. I almost lost the opportunity to know the unconditional love of this goofy lovable feline companion.
His head drops onto my knee and his body relaxes across my legs as his illness and his life are removed from his body. A wave of peace rustles through my hair, filling my heart with calm acceptance for a moment.
The wave recedes, taking with it my precious orange boy. The sands of sorrow are left behind to be eroded away one grain at a time with each healing surge.
I will miss my furry friend. An eerie void exists where he greeted me with conversation at the door. A memory sits where he patiently waited for food.
My body feels the phantom of him curled next to me on the bed as I drift off to sleep. A most valuable player will be absent from the couch on football Sundays.
Smiling through the tears, I know what will happen on the day the unbending laws of nature take me to the other side. My buddy Homer will be sitting there watching the door, waiting to once again melt away my uncertainty of starting over.
The sound of Homer’s bitchy meow will be music to my ears as we catch up on days gone by. On Sundays, I will drift into a glorious nap lulled by the sounds of football and purring.
And those eyes. Those eyes will reach out and reconnect our souls once severed by the crushing hand of death, replacing the pain of loss with the joy of an eternal friendship.