Friday, December 11, 2009


Hey there-

This is ridiculous.

It is crazy how much I am missing Jake. He was a cat for goodness sake, and an annoying one at that. He ate cellophane and threw up all the time. We couldn't leave any kind of wrapper or ribbon laying around or he would find it and start yakking. Birthdays were a nightmare, I finally had to give up getting balloons.

Jake was quite grouchy too. He had a fake hip from an injury when he was very young. Bob had to hold him down while I did range of motion exercises on his little leg. The poor guy foamed at the mouth trying to get away. I knew Bob really loved me as I watched him calmly hold Jake, this high maintenance cat that had come with me in the relationship, so I could rotate his hip. I believe the hip caused Jake pain in the humid summer time (and the cold winter time). He would spread his rather large body across the kitchen floor on particularly hot days and if you tried to walk around him he would growl and nip at you.

For a while he used to stand at the front door and lunge at anyone who had the audacity to leave the house and leave him inside. I eventually decided to let the de-clawed SOB be an outdoor cat.

Jake also had an amputated tail. Bob came home one day for lunch and found the poor guy hanging by his tail on top of a pile of folded laundry. The piece of wood holding the window of our 1920s duplex had fallen and slammed down on his tail.....ouch!! When he emerged from the folded shirts and pants after being set free his tail was a crooked letter "L".

The story of Jake losing his tail was part of our family lore, the boys and I. I was pregnant with Henry when it happened but you would think he had found Jake suspended in the air by the way he tells the story. And Arthur too, they both love to tell the story of when Jake lost his tail.

"And when dad opened the window Jake went running after Amber (our other cat). She must have been sitting there taunting him the whole time. Ha, ha you got your tail stuck in a can't get out..." Henry will say dramatically, laughing and shaking his head very Boblike.

I had this false idea that since I survived losing my spouse I would be immune to "lesser losses". I know they say (you know, "those people" who say things) that you can't compare grief. "They" also say the most difficult loss is a child first and then a spouse. So a cat has to be rather far down the list.

And yet I find myself mourning Jake. When we decorated the tree this year I commented that we didn't have to worry about ribbons on the presents this year since Jake wouldn't be here to eat them and then vomit. I mentioned it as a silver lining, but the realization made me tear up.

Jake used to sit in between Mike and I on the futon when we watched TV and it always bugged Mike. He would grumble as he moved Jake's decreasing mass out of the way so we could cuddle. So Jake is part of Mike and my lore as well. Jake came with me into Mike and my relationship just like he came with me into Bob and my relationship. Jake was a four legged bridge between my past and my present.

And now he is gone. One more connection washed away. There won't be any reason for Henry to tell his version of the story of when Jake lost his tail anymore, no one will ask. One less tale about Daddy to tell.

I will miss the bridge, the limping, four legged, stub tailed bridge. But I still have two beautiful blue eyed, two legged bridges. One who got a time out in gym class today!!!! But that is a whole other blog.

Thanks for checking in-



  1. I have been told that having suffered a lot of loss, new losses should be easier for me to handle. What bunk! If anything, I have found that I am far more sensitive to new loss, even so called smaller ones because of my husband's death. Grief and loss make us so more vulnerable and sensitive to the fragility of life - all life.

  2. Irene,

    I am sooo sorry about Jake, your four legged bridge! I remember the first time meeting him and hearing the story of his tail. Long live the tale of his tail! Knowing you, you'll find a great way to commemorate him so that the story WILL live on - maybe the boys can make a special Christmas ornament from clay that reflects the demise of his tail? That way when holiday visitors see the curious ornament, the story can be told.

    Big hug,


  3. I understand your pain at losing your cat. My two kitties are my best friends and comforters.
    I saw on another blog that your husband had lymphoma and had a stem cell transplant. My husband had leukemia and also had a transplant so, except for age, we have a lot in common. I'm going to put a link to your blog on mine.

  4. Hi, put a link on my blog but it doesn't seem to come through. Will try to fix it. Thanks for your comment on mine.

  5. I still can't get the link to work even though I took out the extra d. Will keep at it.
    I'm interested in your writing since I've just completed a memoir, too. You said there are excerpts on your blog. Where?

  6. Still can't get the link to work even though I took out the extra d. Will keep at it.
    I've just finished a memoir, too. Are the excerpts from yours on the blog? I'd love to see them if they are.