Archive for the ‘Tephra’ Category

A good-bye

Posted by julie on Wednesday, 5 October 2016, 12:59


Today is one of those days she would have loved. This morning, hard rain washed over the whole world; and, now, the sun shines steadfastly in a blue sky skimmed with fast-moving autumn clouds. She would have asked to go outside, standing patiently by the back door and turning to look at me. Five minutes later, she probably would have stood on the other side of the glass and asked to come back in, maybe meowing or even tapping her paw on the glass. Unless it was one of those days when she lifted her small, orange, dark-rimmed nose to the sun and closed her eyes and realized that she might want to nestle down in the damp grass, like a wild animal. I would have found her there, hours later, fast asleep and oblivious to me, curled up like a fox with her tail over her nose.

My Tephra. The thing about grief is that it feels so profound, so singular. My experience, of losing a cat who’d been part of my family for 18 years—longer than my marriage, older by 7 years than my oldest child—is hardly exceptional. Every day, people lose family members, pets, and pets who’ve become family members. That is life; it is paired with death. None of us escapes.

But I hadn’t lost Tephra. Not until last week. To me, she was singular, exceptional. Her death is profound.

Now, I walk around this house, which is deeply empty except for me, and I catch Tephra in everything. Anything cat-sized near the floor fools my eye. The laundry basket at the top of the stairs, the compost bucket just outside the back door, the pile of clothes left just outside the shower—I look again, then I feel my heart fall. They are just the laundry basket, the compost bucket, and the pile of clothes. They will never again be Tephra, ready for a scratch behind the ears or a long pet down her silky back.

I return to my desk and watch the clouds skidding across the fall sky, Tephra’s hair still stuck in the window screen. I tilt my face to the sun, and I close my eyes and sob.



Can’t She Stay a Kitten Forever?

Posted by julie on Friday, 20 January 2012, 0:28

Miss T was diagnosed with moderate to severe renal failure last week. The doc gave her days to weeks if we don’t give her subcutaneous fluids, weeks to months if we do. We’re trying the fluids, because, while I’m not sure I’ll be able to poke the needle through her apparently tough skin, I can’t imagine not doing everything I can do to make her more comfortable. That is also why Tephra is eating upwards of a dozen cat treats a day. And it shows. While she weighed 4.6 pounds at the vet last week (!), her ribs are a little less prominent this week. I also picked up some kitty food that contains smoked salmon. She noticed. She asked me why it didn’t show up a decade earlier.

Tonight, I took a bath to take the edge off my body’s revolt against 20 hours of rehearsal this week. Tephra watched the bath fill from the edge of the sink. Then she jumped down and stood up on her back legs to peer into the bath, but she’s too short. So, from a stool I placed near the tub, she looked down at the water, then reached down into the water as if she were trolling for goldfish. Then, while I hoped I wouldn’t have to fish out 5 pounds of clawed mischief, she precariously bent over the edge so she could drink the bath water.

Can’t take the kitten out of this one.