by BEVERLY COOPER
Yesterday at 5:30 pm, my Beloved Maine Coon, Norwegian Forest, Tabby moggie, "Mr. Beaudie Man Gentry" (friends kept adding names), while hearing his favorite holiday playlist, wrapped in a warm, bright holiday blanket, looked into my eyes, touched my arm with his paw, took his last breath, and departed to the Summerland...
I have been trying to make sense of it all day today. He was my first and only Boy cat, and one of the sweetest, most loved pets, I've ever been blessed with. He was at the shelter for 2.5 years, because no one seemed to want him. Perhaps because he only had 3 legs. When they brought him into the shelter, he had a chewed-off right hind leg, a broken pelvis, and a severe upper respiratory ailment. However, all his vitals were strong, so a female vet opted to save him. His medical record looked like a New York City Telephone Book.
Someone stupidly took a picture of him when he was delivered to the shelter. He looked like something the cat dragged in! But that was not the magnificent creature I saw shadowing me on the highest platform around the main oval cat tower, years later. "That's Gentry," they told me: he's the "Mayor of the adult cat room...he sleeps a lot, and snores really loud"; that was no joke...
Before I got him, I dreamed about him every night for two weeks before we actually came together. So I finally chose him, or rather he chose me. They told me he never meowed; just before we left the shelter on that cold dark blizzard night, he let out the loudest meow ever! People were stunned, they cried and said "goodbye"
11 years later, there is so much more to the story. Beaudie was very special, he was born the year my son passed away, 2007. They shared the birthday month of Pisces/ Aries, just 2 weeks apart, and personalities. He never did "cat things"; he did "people things".
I could go on, but I'll stop here. I miss him so much already. His sweet meow, his softness, his intelligence. We were the last beings we each saw; he was silent when he left, and we all cried...
So, here is a Tanka; a Japanese poem I wrote for us about a month ago: it is written in the traditional line rhythm of 5,7,5,7,7:
A ball of grey fur
Curled up beside my thigh
Soft satisfaction, purring
Here we are safe, this is love
Species crossed, this is family
I will always love you, Beaudie...