Friday, May 13, 2011

Be Careful

I lifted her from the box in which she appeared to be merely napping, on her side, still soft, though no longer warm. I wrapped her in a faux-needlepoint twin-fitted bedsheet my mother gave to me when my boys were just out of their cribs and which has resided these long years in the same cabinet in the bathroom. I was surprised to see it still there, this afternoon, so long unused.

Tomorrow Reilly and I will take turns digging the hole beneath the Chehalis apple tree, dislodging a few yellow tulips, some sweet woodruff.

Sadness accumulates.

Of course, there have been many deaths, both human and animal, for all of us. This one, though, is walloping me. Marley had belonged to my dearest of friends Carol, who passed away a year ago May 7th....a group of about twenty of us marked the occasion with a special dinner at Carol's favorite restaurant.

I've had Marley for almost three years now, but prior to that, she lived down the street, and often came in the cat door to dine with my three cats (sister to one). The story goes on in more detail, but this is all I can write about now. Suffice to say, she embodied constant gentleness in my life, a part of Carol I was able to carry with me beyond her death.

This is the poem I shall read tomorrow when we've replaced the unsettled earth:

The Mower

The mower stalled, twice; kneeling, I found
A hedgehog jammed up against the blades,
Killed. It had been in the long grass.

I had seen it before, and even fed it, once.
Now I had mauled its unobtrusive world
Unmendably. Burial was no help:

Next morning I got up and it did not.
The first day after a death, the new absence
Is always the same; we should be careful

Of each other, we should be kind
While there is still time.

--Phillip Larkin



  1. Take comfort in knowing that you made Marleys life sweet while you had him/her and that now she/he is reunited with your friend. All that we can do in life is to "be kind" to each other. Take care.

  2. The accumulation of sorrows - what a terrible thing. But here, the accumulation of words to lighten at least a little of that weight you carry. How clearly and perfectly you write of these things T. This is such a gift. Thinking of you. X

  3. I've been 'with' you every day since this terrible blow hit, T., and you've held yourself together so amazingly. To bury the beloved cat of a beloved friend would slay me, a gouge into the place somehow where the deepest tears lie. Your rage will give you strength, your being able to work and write about it will keep your focus, but we can only imagine how many times you've been 'whelmed' and brought to your knees, T. Your writing is so poignant and has the tensile strength you must find inside somewhere. You are teaching us courage.

  4. So sorry about your recent losses, all of them. Your kitty watches over you now, and the Spanish believe that when your animal dies, it dies for you.....good things she will bring to you. Watch and listen, it will happen.
    Ima Wizer

  5. Losses accumulate. Thinking of you.

  6. I am so sorry.

    And that song -- one of my favorites --

  7. Loss, in my mind, walks on two feet, dragging every other loss I have ever known behind it. Indeed, all we can hope to be is kind and, impossibly, resilient. I am so sorry. Sending love, M.