On Ash Wednesday I lost my beloved office buddy, Agrippa. I can’t believe he’s gone. He greeted me that morning with his sweet little hello sound, ate a wee bit of tuna while purring, purred some more as I rubbed his ears, then rested his head on one of his favorite toys. He’d had at least one heart attack in December, and the previous weekend he’d lost the use of his hind legs–probably threw a clot.
In the early days, before flat screens, he slept atop my monitor, reveling in the warmth. I welcomed his companionship. Every now and then his bushy sable tail would drape down over the screen and I’d gently drape it back up. Occasionally he’d roll over in his sleep and fall down on the keyboard. Yes, he killed a few keyboards, but I was always more worried about him. And then came the day when I gave in to the flat screen–he’d gained weight and his falls were more frequent, so it seemed a good thing. Of course he hated it, searching my desk for what was no longer there. To compensate (and keep him near) I bought him a large, heated bed that sat under my desk. He resisted it for a while. I’d find him on my desk chair in the morning and negotiate. But at last, the past few years, he spent most of the day snoozing at my feet.
I adopted Agrippa while I was writing The Riddle of St Leonard’s. He appeared in one Owen Archer, The Guilt of Innocents, and one Maggie Kerr, A Trust Betrayed, neither major roles, but he lives on in those books. Unlike my other cats whose names didn’t seem appropriate to a medieval household, I used his. (Melisende was Bones, Crowder was Puck.)
In his last illness I watched how patiently he dealt with his weakness. He’d take breaks on his way down the hall to his food, clean a paw, then, when ready, he’d continue. On good days he stepped outside on the deck, enjoying the air; when too weak he’d ask for the door to be opened so he could sit inside letting the breeze ruffle his fur. He appreciated it all.
I am grateful he shared his life with me. I’ll remember him each morning when I sit down at this desk, and in gentle breezes.
Poor you – and how sad to lose such a dear friend. We too, are cat people and also share our lives with cats who are more like children to us., and we have made this sad journey several times.
Keep a picture to hand, light a candle, and surround him with love. He will always be there to share your life.
Alison P. x
I am so sorry. I know how difficult it is to lose a cherished companion.
Thank you for your kind words, Alison and Margaret. A friend wrote: “It’s hard that our pets don’t live nearly as long as we do.” That’s the catch, isn’t it?
Agrippa such a powerful prescience in history as well as in your life, as are all our companions. They love us & are with us regardless of our moods & offer love unconditionally, so are cats.
My thoughts are with you.
Dear Candace, it sounds like Agrippa was much more than just an office companion. The bond between humans and animals is deep, and the grief we experience when they die is painful. I wish you a good process working through this loss. Sandy
Thank you, Chris and Sandy. Yes, the bond is deep and strong, and they teach us so much, especially unconditional love.