We let Laddie go today. He held on hard to life in spite of his increasing age (he was 18) and growing infirmity (arthritis in his rear legs). He’d brought two squirrels, two birds, and a vole inside as love offerings in the last two months. He patrolled the neighborhood every morning; he kept to his routine of chewing lemongrass after breakfast, which required getting up on the deck rail. He was still going over the six-foot fence a couple times a day until yesterday. This morning he declined to get out of bed, and I understood. He died in my arms at 8:50 am. To say we are heartbroken doesn’t begin to describe it.
• • •
That this is a much shorter obituary than Bean’s means nothing other than I am so sad I can’t bear this pain. Laddie was a spectacular cat, beloved by anyone who knew him. And many did, because he never met a stranger.
He was always eager to please.
I love this: “to be peopled at all was a high-order gift, but to find people beyond your people was nothing short of miraculous” (emphasis mine). Yes, indeed.
And now he was here, in her house, in Oak Park. She should go check on him, sequestered in the living room with the men, but she knew if she rose she would subject herself to more ridicule. Her sisters—with her at the table, fighting about someone she’d never heard of—were delighting in the amount of teasing there was to be done about Grace’s first boyfriend-holiday, ignoring her protests that he wasn’t her boyfriend.
“He’s just my person,” she’d insisted to Wendy, earlier. “Or, not, like—just a person.”
“Careful,” Wendy said. “You’ll flatter him to death.”
But he was in her house, among her family—her other people—and this was emboldening, somehow. Her life had always been abundantly peopled—by her doting parents, by her indulgent sisters—but she now felt accompanied in a way she never had before, by a person who was choosing to feel beholden to her instead of simply scooting up the built-in rope of familial obligation. And it was striking, how much less alone that could make you feel, because of course to be peopled at all was a high-order gift, but to find people beyond your people was nothing short of miraculous, finding a person away from home who felt like home and shifted, subsequently, the very notion of home, widening its borders.
—from The Most Fun We Ever Had (Doubleday, 2019) by Claire Lombardo