Elvis suddenly appeared in our lives about 3 years ago. He was an indoor cat who developed a wanderlust and morphed into an indoor/outdoor cat! |
Although his real home was with our neighbors, Becky, Tony, Lauren, Sam and Nicholas, he did, in short order, become one of two cats who were dubbed "The Mayors" of the neighborhood. (The other is our Archie, who has now become a full time indoor kitty due to his advancing age.)
Elvis monitored the neighborhood, marked turf at every step, lolled on our porch, visited EVERYONE in the neighborhood in a fairly predictable routine. He was the warmest, most overtly affectionate cat I've ever known. He'd headbutt your hand until you sat and devoted 10 or 15 minutes to him. He wouldn't take NO for an answer. He'd never fail to trot over to our cars every time we pulled into the driveway, climb in and collapse on your lap before you had a chance to get out of the car. If I could place a word bubble over his head it would say: "LOVE ME, TOUCH ME, FEED ME, PET ME. DO IT NOW!" He had a high pitched, clipped "meow" - a sort of emphatic statement of urgency to pay attention to him. Elvis would return the favor over and over again, in what one of us has called "magical times".
The first time he jumped up into my boyfriend Tim's lap was the week his Mother died in 2008. Together they sat on our porch in the July sun and Elvis didn't budge for an hour and a half while Tim received love from his gentle soul. He'd make you feel like you were the only person he loved, he deferred to stray cats in the neighborhood when food was put out and he even helped us coral one of our kitty Stella who escaped the house one night. It was dark out, Stella is black, Tim couldn't see her at all. But Elvis sensed her location and indirectly pointed Tim to the shrubs where she was hiding. Together they waited patiently, Elvis at one side, creating a boundary so that when she suddenly she emerged from the shrubs, he headed her off into Tim's arms. He was a character, a clown. While any self respecting cat would find a private spot to "do his business" Elvis had no bones about waltzing into the back yard, in plain sight and would "do his business" where everyone could watch, as though the whole yard was one huge litter box. He was a lazy boy. My Mom, Beth adored him and Elvis would always delay her coming in the house by leaping into her car. He was such a big guy, so heavy, Mom's legs would ache from his weight but she never disturbed him until she had to get out of the car. She would coo to him like a parent does to a newborn just softly stroking him while his determined purr rocked the car. He would sneak into our house, find a quiet spot out of sight and stay there all day until suddenly he'd emerge and want to go back to his nuclear family next door. Sometimes we didn't even know he was there. Sleeping softly tucked away in a cubby hole near the washing machine. He did love the out of doors. He loved the sun and wasn't afraid of the rain. Never the less, I put an umbrella attached to our lawn chair and when the sprinkles came, he'd be happy to watch the rain from under his little protective awning. I constantly tweeked methods of keeping him warm and dry if he was to be caught out in the weather when no one was around to let him in. He gratefully used every one of my inventions!
All the people around us knew Elvis in one way or another and though I am writing this, each neighbor would have their own recollections and expressions of love that were unique to their experience. One such person is LOU or Uncle LOU as known to most any cat or dog he would come in contact with. Uncle Lou lived about 2 blocks from us but made the trek by car in the winter or on foot in the good weather to check in, not only with our cats, but to greet Elvis and give him a treat! Lou, as devoted a person as you'd ever know loved darling Elvis like his own. We all loved him as our own and I do believe Elvis knew that.
Elvis will for ever be a presence in our memories, will always be loved by his "family of origin" and will never ever ever be forgotten but the many, many people who devoted their time, hearts and love to him. WE WILL MISS YOU FOR EVER AND EVER ELVIS! Love, from your family, Becky, Tony, Lauren, Sam and Nicholas and your extended family, Kathy, Tim, Beth; Uncle Lou and Linda and everyone on Leonard Place, Ivywood Place, Arrowwood Road. xxooxoxooxo
- NOTES TO ELVIS -
January 6, 2012
Dear Elvis, I have a story and a thank you to share with you. When I got the news you had passed I wasn't home but was on my way to drive my Mom to a doctors appointment. I couldn't rush home to help Tim or the neighbor Nadine who found you in your forever sleep across the street from her. I was crushed at the news but knew I had to finish out my day but then come home to greet you and help send you on your path.
I believe in signs. I believe that in times of great sadness, we are given a chance to peek into the reality beyond what we can see and touch. I've come to this conclusion over time and with good reason. They say, there are no coincidences. I think it is when we are open and vulnerable, that we open ourselves to seeing the un-seeable. With that as a background: Once upon a time, I was grieving for a tiny human soul who wasn't able to come to our lives. She was my human baby. Losing her was very hard. Many realities faced in one event. One day, shortly after Johanna left my body, I was driving to work, crying. I heard my mind say, "you can't ask for a sign and have it answered, you have to wait for it to come to you on it's own time." But, I did. I asked for a sign in my desperation to feel her presence and I cried out to have a sign brought to me so that my day at work would be eased. Driving down I-95, cars, vans, trucks in traffic, stop and go - morning after morning. This one was to be different. I had put an intention out there and if something were to show up I'd be grateful, a bird, a cloud, finding a lost item. Something anything. With in about 3 minutes of having said this I saw a truck in the lane on the left making itself ready to pass me. It did, and as it did, I saw my sign. In giant letters on the side of the truck, in purple writing it read: JOHANNA. WHAT ON EARTH? I thought I was seeing things. But there it was larger than life in purple and white. Johanna, my baby's name. In the next few weeks, I became aware that there were more signs. Sunflowers had become the symbol for Johanna. I started seeing trucks with a single Sunflower as a part of the logo on the trailer and the word "Sunflower" next to it. Who'da thunk? Trucks were my great communicators! For a few years, I'd see the Johanna and the Sunflower trucks. Stopping to remember where I was, what was happening, why had I seen the signs again. Over time, I saw less and less. Eventually I noticed that the Sunflower logo had been replaced with the word "Schafer". Same truck, just different logo but it will never feel the same as seeing the Sunflower logo itself.
Flash forward to today. Today, driving down I-95 on our way to my Mom's doctors appointment my Mom points out a vapor trail from an airplane that looked like a cross. We teared up and saw this as a comfort. Then, on cue, I see it. I am driving in back of a truck. Faded words on the back of a truck that had been at one time painted with the familiar logo. It read "Sunflower carriers" and there was the sunflower in the upper right corner of the rear doors on the trailer. There you were Elvis. I hadn't seen a Sunflower truck in over a year..more possibly. There you were my friend! I didn't pass the truck until we had to get off our exit. I followed you..until I couldn't any longer. Miracle one for the day.
Later back at home, because Becky and Tony were still at work and couldn't get away until their usual time, Mom, Uncle Lou and me sat vigil with you in the basket where I wrapped you in a purple blanket - a bouquet of white roses and Sunflowers in a vase, a Sunflower in the basket with you. We waited until they could come home and take you with them.
Tony and then Becky came to say their goodbyes, not wanting to do so with their little boys nearby, they left you with us to quietly bring over to their yard for the over night before going to the vet's the next day.
One more digression into background. Of all of our four kitty's Chance gave you the most grief. You and he didn't get along like the others did. You both kept a wide berth of one another with the occasional hiss or air-swat between you. Moments before Lou and I carried you out of my house to bring you back over to your Mom and Dad's home, Chance, the hand shy, slightly skittish, slightly paranoid little boy started to purr. Loud purring. I reached down to greet him and he did something he never ever does. He head-butted my hand in a most demanding way, his purr never louder than a low rumble was able to be heard from 3 feet away. Fifteen or 20 seconds of this and I knew what it was. It was YOU wasn't it! You popped in just for a moment to say thanks. And, you did it in the most obvious way. You popped into the cat whose behavior was most unlike yours. You did get our attention my boy. I got it. WE got it. You were saying goodbye. One last purr, one last petting, one last urgent "touch me touch me!" - an acknowledgment of our bond. Your perfect little soul reaching out to comfort. I knew then you were missing us too.
I'll never forget these two events both within hours of each other. They go into the archive of the little miracles that prove to me that we are not alone. That we are all part of each other, whether human, plant, rock, tree, air, water and of course animal. Your angel being is with us and all I can do is to THANK YOU WITH ALL MY HEART, dear boy, with all my heart. I love you so - xoxo, your other Mom.
January 11, 2012 - I've said my prayers every night to feel your presence near me and it has helped quite a lot. It is bittersweet because when I picture you, I do so feeling that, in the morning I will look outside the door and find you there, seeing your "silent" meow on the other side of the glass storm door. I miss you this morning Elvis. xox
January 12, 2012 - Elvis my buddy, I miss you this rainy morning. This is the kind of morning that I'd see you running over and hanging by the door wanting to be let in. I feel the instinct to look around for you and then remember. I should tell you that I've managed to gain the trust of Little Black Kitty and he is beginning to sleep in the chair on the porch. Last night the umbrella was up and I put your little bed in the chair with a towel covered in catnip! He must love it because he slept there sheltered from the rain all night. I miss seeing you there darling boy. When I took your bed out of your nook by the washing machine I found a little tuft of your fur. I've kept it I will always love the memory of running my hands over your softness. I love you Elvis - xoxxo
October 1, 2012 - Dear Elvis.. thinking of you today as the days become crisp and gentle. I am missing the good old days today when I'd see you at the door several times a day and when I'd come out on the porch to sit with you in your chair. I put up the Fall scenery today along with Uncle Lou's photo of you sitting in your chair. Darling Elvis..i miss you a lot today. I miss your comforting meow, your loving headbutt, your solid purr. It always made me feel better. Please always remember you are so dearly loved always and forever. "Long May You Run" - xxooxox Mommy..
November 5, 2013 - Dear Elvis..tomorrow is the first year to the day that we said our goodbyes to your old pal Archie. I'm sending you and Archie my love and prayers. Play together tomorrow for us - OK? Sit in the sun for us, run in the tall grass for us, tumble around the yard for us! We miss you both so much. xxxooo Mommy, Poppy and Uncle Lou.
December 26, 2013 - Dear Elvis..my thoughts are headed your way today this day after Christmas and just a few days before your two year anniversary. Sweet Boy, your loving presence is never that far away. We so cherish our memories of you and miss you very much. I hope you and Archie are playing in the warm sun across the Bridge. Merry Christmas little man! xxoxoxxo Mommy, Poppy and Uncle Lou
February 27, 2017 Dear Elvis..just came her to say HI! I came across a wonderful photo if you with a yellow flower on your head in our kitchen. I remembered how much you would beg to come in and visit with our kitties. Your head butts against our legs which translated into "pick me up!!" And how I loved you sitting on our laps outside on our porch in the hot sun. I was reminded again of you as now we have another neighbors cats names Smokey who shows up for a snack and butts our glass storm door until we notice him. He too rubs against our legs and love to be petted. But Elvis mostly I remember how you would give so much love to us. I just want to say "thank you" for having been in our lives. We love you here, there and everywhere. Always and forever. xoxoxo
Please also visit Archie.