Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Goodbye, Beloved Figaro

It is so hard to say goodbye. This picture breaks me up but it is my favorite, too. It shows the kind of affectionate, unusual cat Figaro was.

For a cat who took pains to express his every whim and feeling and demand vocally--usually in a howl that could wake the dead--he was awfully silent about what was taking place in his body on his last day. We did not know when we woke up yesterday that it would be our last day together with him, though both of us had been having intuitions that something was coming down the pike for him soon. "Soon" still represented years.

For a few moments I have been tempted to feel silly for the depth of my grief. He is just a cat, right? Recently people I know have lost siblings and dear friends and worse. But as I told a friend who emailed me this morning, the heart does not differentiate its love. It doesn't say "only so much for this small animal"...We loved him like he was a member of our family, and my first thoughts on waking all night were for him. This morning I just let myself cry when I passed by the spot where I always feed him. When he wasn't in his little cat bed by the heater, stretching out a paw in greeting. When he wasn't scratching at his little scratch posts or following me upstairs to my office.

Figaro was almost 11 years old--too young in my opinion to go, but they were a full, rich, well-cared for 11 years. He was more than well-loved.
Figaro had many admirers too, cat and human alike. I know that others will miss him, too. My mom cried for him.

How could you not love a cat whose only success in hunting was to drag home dirty strings like they were fresh kills?

--Who had to sit right up on your chest at night for personal love before he could get in his own little cat bed and sleep.
--Who ran up to us at the sound of our car if he was waiting outside.
--Who at one time dug holes in the garden just like a dog
--Who would walk down the street with us (and would have come all the way to town) if we let him.
--Who could tear up a vet's office in no time flat with his powerful resistance to the doctor (kinda like his mom).
--Who has been with us through the most tragic and joyous moments of our relationship and lives in the nearly 11 years that E. and I have been together.

I must force myself not to dwell on his final hours, the ones in pain, because we helped him through it as best we could and let him go.
But damn, it hurts.

We loved him. We miss him, and this morning, we are grief stricken.
Please feel free to share stories of your own animals today.


At 7:57 AM, Blogger Myfanwy Collins said...

What a beautiful, loving tribute, Jordan!

At 8:18 AM, Blogger Laini said...

Oh Jordan, I'm so so sorry. Figaro sounds like such a neat cat and wonderful companion. You put it so well saying our hearts don't differentiate. It's so hard. With Shiloh winding down her life right now, it temporarily makes me wonder whether it's worth it to love animals if we have to endure losing them, but of course it's worth it -- same as with people. The way our homes and lives are enriched by our animal family with their quirks and bossiness and silliness! Eleven IS too young for a cat and I'm so sorry you didn't have more years with him, but I'm glad for him that his eleven years were with you in such a loving home. Blessings.

At 8:30 AM, Blogger Jordan E. Rosenfeld said...

Myf: Thank you. Truly.

Laini: I know the feeling, that urge to not get attached due to the hugeness of the loss, but I wouldn't trade the years with him, as I'm sure you wouldn't with Shiloh.

Thanks for visiting.

At 8:44 AM, Blogger Stephanie said...

Aw, I'm so sorry to hear that Figaro died, Jordan.

It seems to me that in our thirties many of our pets are reaching that age (or have reached). We have a geriatric dog and watched an old video two days ago of how easily she used to move around.

It reminds me of something Joan Halifax, a Buddhist priest, once said in a class in graduate school: there is no bad death, only good death. I wanted to object, because surely some deaths were wrong, painful and filled with suffering, but I like the way she removed the value judgment from death.

At 3:40 PM, Blogger Amy said...

Jordan, I'm so sorry about Figaro. I had a very similar thing happen with my cat, Roscoe -- he was 12 and seemed frisky and healthy, and all of a sudden, he just slowed down and we had to let go. It's so hard when it happens so rapidly and you're powerless to stop it. You were both so lucky to have each other.

At 4:08 PM, Blogger Jordan E. Rosenfeld said...

Stephanie and Amy, thanks for your kindness.

Loss sucks, but I'm trying to embrace the rightness of it. We all go.


At 4:36 PM, Blogger Claire said...

That's the problem with pets, we usually out live them.

Sorry to hear it.

At 2:47 AM, Blogger Ellen said...

This is a moving tribute, Jordan. I'm glad Figaro didn't have to suffer long. So sorry for your grief--I know how much you loved him.

At 4:48 PM, Blogger K Cutter said...

So sorry to hear this, Jordan. Losing pets is awful. My dog was diagnosed with cancer a few weeks ago. He's okay now, but when he first came home from his surgery, my heart dragged. I can understand how important Figaro is to you.

At 10:36 PM, Blogger Patry Francis said...

So sorry. As a huge animal lover, I know that grief well. xox

At 6:10 AM, Blogger katrina said...

I'm in tears. I'm so sorry for your loss, Jordan. Your post is beautiful.


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