Sunday, 19 April 2009

Memories of Bonnie

"A pet is never truly forgotten until it is no longer remembered"
Lacie Petitto

Last night I finished reading "The Craggy Hole in My Heart and The Cat Who Fixed It" by one of my favourite writers, Geneen Roth. My pillow is still wet this morning. This was such a brilliant read for anyone who has ever had a cat in their life. It's funny, tender and inspiring and I would urge anyone to have a read. The book is not all about Blanche (Roth's cat, who turns out to be male - "The first time she visits the vet, we discover that Blanche is a he..but there is no question about changing his name; the being in this cat's body is definitely a "Blanche") but teaches us about how to love without reservation and accept that we might someday lose those who we believe we can't live without. I want to share some of it with you.

"By the time he is two years old Blanche weighs twenty pounds. He looks like a furry pyramid or a goat with curly stomach hair. It doesn't help that (he) has a girl's name and I have to keep correcting everyone that she is a he. He is the kind of cat that you can dress up in a bonnet and wheel around in a baby carriage, which my eleven year old neighbour, Rosie does several times a week. As soon as you pick him up, he relaxes his body and purrs. When Rosie isn't wheeling him up and down the block, I walk with Blanche around my neck like a monkey, like a second heart. I feel like a cliche. For the first time in my life, I am not afraid of being too intense, too effusive, too needy. No matter how many times I kiss him, hug him, pull his tail and turn him upside down, he doesn't turn away. Blanche is a love sponge with a thousand petal-pink lipstick marks on his head"

"Blanche is my oasis. I don't feel crazy next to him. I don't feel as if I need to measure up to his standards. I can marvel at the way he finds the sunniest place in the house, stretches out his paws like he is surfing on light, then falls asleep - all of it without apology, as if he unquestionable deserves love, warmth, beauty, affection, quiet, rest, contentment. As I watch him, which I do continually throughout the day, it occurs to me that it is possible to live in the world without the low-level anxiety, frustration and hypervigilance I've come to associate with being alive"

I love this picture of Bonnie - she had a knack of finding the only rectangle of sunlight in the house to crash out in. Poignantly, this is the exact spot in my living room where she died.
She was a constant support and friend to me during some difficult times. Cats' whiskers are so sensitive, they can find their way through even the narrowest crack in a broken heart. Bonnie was there for every significant moment in my life - five house moves, two major relationship break ups, a degree, the birth of my son to mention a few. I will never forget the day I came home from hospital with my new baby, nervous about how she would react to this wrinkly, squirmy bundle and worried about she would cope having to share me after having me to herself for so long. I needn't have worried. She was a great sister - tolerant, gentle, protective, like she knew this new little boy was just an extension of me and therefore worthy of her love.
Bonnie left a big void in my house and in my life when she died. Geneen Roth's brilliant book brought back some memories for me about my feline friend - some happy, some sad. Yes, it was one of the most painful things I have ever done, saying goodbye to Bonnie. Despite the pain, I have no regrets and I feel lucky to have known her. I will keep my heart open to experiencing that special love again - the love that only a cat can bring.

21st January 1992 ~ 28th December 2008

No comments:

Post a Comment