So long, sweet Scooby
Last week, we buried our darling cat, Scooby. He went missing the day I left for a work trip, and a few days later when I returned, we found his remains, attacked by some animal unknown.
I won’t say more about how he died. I only wish to speak about how he lived.
Scooby was our third cat, an outdoor stray who adopted us a little over two years ago. He quickly stole our hearts. He was simply the kindest cat I’ve ever known.
You’d think a stray cat would be hesitant or antisocial, but Scooby was so loving. I’ve spent countless days in the back yard reading and writing with Scooby keeping me company. He would lay at my feet, hop on my lap, or nudge and bunt me with his head, purring all the while. He was always purring.
I haven’t been back in the yard since he left us.
When I would feed him in the morning, he’d look up at me and meow as if to say, “Thank you!” And then he’d wait until I pet him and said, “You’re welcome!”
He’d wait! Can you imagine? What animal waits to eat, especially a stray cat? That’s how I learned he was no animal. Scooby was an angel.
We did try to bring him inside, but he resisted. I could tell that if we forced him to stay inside, he’d hate it. What he wanted was to live a full life, wandering the neighborhood and living with us. We chose to respect his wishes.
We buried him in the front yard with a flower bush above him. Every morning, evening, and whenever we step outside, we greet him.
In the author profile for my upcoming book, I wrote that I’m a proud cat dad of three cats. I still am. I am leaving that unchanged.
But I am making one change: I had an epigraph at the beginning with a quote from The Little Prince. I’ve decided to change that to be a dedication to Scooby. After all, his aura is intertwined with every word I wrote with him by my side. I’m glad I have a chance to honor his memory. I think I’ll keep it simple:
the sweetest soul there ever was
I want to say so much more, but my right arm is screaming at me to stop. I’ve been writhing in agony for the past week due to a sudden pinched nerve in my neck, which has made it all the way down my right forearm and into my now-tingling thumb. I’m getting treatment and tests, and am still unsure of exactly what triggered it. I’ve had some neck soreness in the past, but nothing like this.
The shooting pains began the morning after the burial. Perhaps when my heart froze, my body followed suit.
I am trying to look past the pain. I tell myself that I’m grateful for every minute I had with him, that I’m glad we at least found him (some families never do.) I hear these words of comfort, but I feel nothing. I am numb. I don’t want to be comforted. I just want my baby Scooby back.
Dear friends, if you take one thing away from this letter, let it be this: Do not take for granted the time you have. Those who make you smile today may not be there tomorrow.
Hug and hold them close while you still can. Savor every minute. Soak it in. All of it. As Mary Oliver wrote, joy is not meant to be a crumb:
“If you suddenly and unexpectedly feel joy, don’t hesitate. Give in to it. There are plenty of lives and whole towns destroyed or about to be. We are not wise, and not very often kind. And much can never be redeemed. Still, life has some possibility left. Perhaps this is its way of fighting back, that sometimes something happens better than all the riches in or power in the world. It could be anything, but very likely you notice it in the instant when love begins. Anyway, that’s often the case. Anyway, whatever it is, don’t be afraid of its plenty. Joy is not made to be a crumb.”
Rest in peace, my dear sweet Scooby. I love you so much.
P.S. We were so lucky to have the chance to take care of Scooby, but there are many stray animals out there that desperately need love and care. If you’d like to support them, please consider donating to Sulala Animal Rescue in Gaza, Maui Humane Society, or your local animal shelter.