WHEN I recently learned that my friend Michael had been forced to “put down” his feline companion of many years, LB, my heart was struck. Cats have a most excellent way of knowing when either space/ privacy or comfort is needed, and are much more attentive to their Humans than they tend to be given credit for.
Michael is a truly one-of-a-kind individual. He is very much from and of Morristown, New Jersey; I’ve always called him my “Jersey Boy.” We serve as witnesses to one another’s lives. He or I will call, and say “Hey, I need you to witness what’s going on.” More often, we just chat. Over the years, we have developed an understanding.
There have been times in my life when, but for him, I would have felt truly alone.
Visiting Miami, 2007
Michael is on a true spiritual journey, which is never an easy thing. I speak of that most sacred when I tell you that he has offered himself up to God and to Christ, that he might be of service. His life has seemed a remarkable series of transitions, some subtle, others of the sort that forever cleave one’s experience into “before”/”after,” and many in between. It is not always easy; far from it.
He is no prophet, nor does he purport to be. He is a healer. His “work” thus calls him at times to confront directly the woundedness of others, to step in to their brokenness, that they might be touched at last. It is the highest of callings, but also one that tends to take a toll that is not easy to measure.
And yet he has always known, wherever his path led him and through whatever strangeness, that upon his return home his loyal, faithful, and purring friend would be warmly awaiting.
Sometimes the hardest and most terrible thing, I believe, is coming back to a dark and empty home. One’s heart breaks a little further, when he or she might not have believed that possible.
LB was the only companion that demanded nothing of Michael, yet was always happy to be there for him, and to give. LB was his most constant, uncomplicated, and reliable pal. I can only imagine the LB-shaped void in Michael’s life right now, and it pains me. When he last spoke with Alan, he said he’d probably wait a while, and then maybe look for another cat. The words of the heartbroken.
And so: because I love the man, I had to do something, to at least try and somehow reach out. Here is what came to me, and I started in upon it like a madman and didn’t stop the first session until I was too spent to continue. This was all that I could do.
Please say a prayer for my brother Michael, because his heartbreak is not much different from your own. Say a prayer for those you carry in your heart, even if they seem fine.
And, because many have lost pets most dear, and held close to their hearts, and because they might benefit from acknowledgment, or consolation, I figured Michael wouldn’t mind if I shared. Its message and promise are now for you, as well.
LB, sweet boy, run free at last and rest in kitty peace. You did good.