Those we love are hostages to death, a brief flickering light that warms our soul & then goes away.
They come into our lives, find cracks & holes in our hearts and fill them in, making us better than we were. They give us purpose, humble us by their devotion, and call upon us to give & be more of who we really are.
Without those we love & those who love us, life is empty, shallow & grasping. With love comes risk & joy, pain & bliss, laughter & grief.
We grieve not for those who have gone on, for we hope & pray that they are in a better place. No, we grieve for ourselves, who have been left behind & made poorer by their absence.
Our grief shows that we lost someone of importance to us, and there is a hole in our lives where they were.
Today, July 4, 2011, our family grieves for Strider, our Big Guy, who succumbed to the heart & lung issues he had been fighting. Early this morning, we took him to the Pet Emergency Hospital & let them give him rest.
Strider adopted us in 2000, when I saw him outside our home, scrawny & hungry. I made the mistake of mentioning him to my wife & Barbara said to feed him. I did not want a 3rd cat. We compromised – if he was there when we got home from work the next day, we would feed him. I got home first & he came running up, jumped onto the hood of my car & said “see! I am still here! I heard the deal. Feed me!”.
Barb fed him and gave him strokes. While he ate, they bonded. On June 28, 2000, we caught him, took him to the vet for neutering & brought him inside.
For the next 11 years, he showed us quiet dignity and humor, hunger and joy, and more companionship than his foster siblings wanted him to have with us. My grief is still too fresh to do a proper memorial for him here. So, for now, all I will say is he will be greatly missed. His race is run, his trials over, and he has earned his rest.
Rest in peace, Strider. We love you.