...or tries to...

Sunday, February 17, 2013

My Solomon



I lost my beautiful Solomon last night.


My lovely boy, my best friend.



with the softest chin, and sweetest belly,




Who, in sleep, the deepest dreaming sleeps, looked more like an Abstract Expressionist painting than a cat




He was my watcher, my guardian of windows, fierce in ways that his mildness made you forget, gentle and curious, but never a pushover. He was my hero.



One afternoon, I heard strange scratching noises coming from the screened porch. It was winter, one of those beautiful low-lit winter days, and the sliders were open. I stepped out, and there was a raccoon there, it had come in through a loose piece of screen. And I thought, in a flashing burst of fear, there must be something wrong with the raccoon, it's daylight and it's in my porch, it's going to get into the house, it's rabid, it's going to attack me, it's going to attack my cat, ohmygod-where's-Solomon? 
And there he was, also on the porch, puffed up three times his size, his fur on end, his whiskers spread, his back arched, on the tips of his toes, hissing, spitting, starting towards the raccoon. And all the raccoon could do, not rabid after all, just scared to death, was try to figure out where it had come in, and remedy its very grave mistake. 

And it was gone.

My hero.




My catnip addict.


My muse.








My sunlight.





He lived 14 and a half years, thirteen with me. I brought him home when he was an adult, a shelter cat, fully formed, but from the very first hour he was mine, he rolled around and let me stroke his belly, something that happened every single night. We called it the jelly roll. He would make that little grunt of exertion he always made when jumping on the couch, that little feline "ugh", stare into my face and knead his paws and sniff and purr, then twist into a curve, pausing for a few seconds before rolling against my stomach. He never cared what position he ended up in, as long as it was close, as long as I could put my arm around him and send him off to sleep.




He lived for more than two years after his cancer surgery, always strong, always purring, always calm, always happy, up until the last day of his life. I promised him that if he were in pain, if he tried to tell me with his eyes that it was time to let him go, I would see it and I would understand. I wouldn't make him linger because I didn't want to lose him. And I set him free Saturday night. It was the hardest, hardest thing. I wound up saying things to him that I didn't know I believed, about where he was going, that I would see him there. He was warm and his forehead was as soft and shiny as it has always been, right there where the little white flame of light had always flickered. He looked straight into my eyes his last minutes, just as he had so many times in our life together, showing me he loved me, I was his, he was mine, my Solomon, every day, always. 




I love you so, my sweet, sweet boy.


17 comments:

Daydreamer said...

Oh Amy! I am So Sorry... I am Crying right there with you... this post is So poignant... so filled with your Love and pain... Oh my dear, I am crying...

janet said...

that is the loveliest tribute to a feline friend i've ever read. i'm so glad that you shared those marvelous years together.

Delphine said...

Oh, Amy, it is so sad. I understand you because i've lost 3 cats in 2012... i miss them all. I send you all my love from France. Courage !

Amy said...

Betsy, thank you so much. You are a wonderful person, a wonderful friend. Thank you for understanding, and caring so much.

Thank you Janet. I keep thinking of things I could add, and all the stories, and it still wouldn't describe him exactly the right way. He was a beautiful soul.

Delphine, three in one year. I can't even imagine what that must have been like. One little cat feels like the entire world. Thank you thank you for your love and your caring.

Jane said...

I know how you are feeling. We had a cat like this - one in a lifetime. We have other wonderful cats but none like him. Solomon will always be a vibrant part of your heart, I know.

Old Fashion Halloween said...

I am sorry for your loss. What a wonderful life and adventures you two shared. We should all know such love and devotion.

Amy said...

Jane, that's it exactly. I called him the pet of my life, I always knew that he was the special one. Thank you for saying that, for knowing this.

Amy said...

Old Fashioned Halloween, we did have adventures, some narrow escapes, and lots of fun. He may have started his life as an outdoor cat, his heart thumped at windows. Thank you, he was such a devoted friend.

Delphine said...

I did a post too when i have lost my lovely cat Barbès.
http://paradisexpress.blogspot.fr/2012/07/adieu-barbes.html

Amy said...

Delphine, I would love to read it. Thank you so much for sharing with me.

Sans! said...

This is a beautiful tribute to Solomon. He was lucky to be yours, Amy. I too shed tears when I read this post.

It was like losing Xerxes who disappeared from our lives one day. Somehow, I knew he went away to die. He was 13 when he left although the doctor told us he would not live past 5.

The photographs you have of Solomon are fabulous. They belong on a wall if you have the space.

Robert said...

Amy, I am so sorry for your loss. Over the past few years, I would look at your blog and flickr account when ever i needed a smile. I have not had many opportunities to look lately, but today, i felt i needed one. I rejoice in his memory, this cat I never met, but feel i knew so intimately. It was not the smile i was hoping for, but i still smile at his memory.

Amy said...

Sans, thank you. It's so moving the way they seem to know when it's time. Your Xerxes seemed to know, and my childhood cat Morris went down into the basement to be by himself. Solomon looked up at me and his eyes were very different. We had a deal, I promised him that I wouldn't try endlessly to stretch out his final year, I would see the truth and let him go with dignity. He deserved that from me.

Robert, that's such a beautiful thing to write. Thank you for saying this. I know that if you had the chance to know him, he would seem the same as the photographs. He was something else. That you saw this, it fills my heart.

JenJen said...

Amy, I am so very sorry that your Solomon passed.I can relate to your loss after losing my Rascal at 12 1/2 and Boy at almost 18.Solomon was part of your family, as they were to me. Writing that beautiful tribute really honored him and what he meant to you. Absolutely Beautiful !!! REMEMBER THAT IT IS NO THE YEARS IN YOUR LIFE, BUT THE LIFE IN YOUR YEARS THAT COUNT!! YOU GAVE HIM THAT FROM THE MOMENT YOU "SAVED" HIM.

Amy said...

JenJen, thank you so so much. I agree with you one hundred percent, he was family, and we saved each other, I think. He was a lesson on how to live a life, be brave when life needs you to be brave, cuddle daily, sleep in the sunlight, look at the birds whenever you get the chance. Thank you for your lovely words.

colleen dougher said...

I just finished reading your tribute to Solomon. Your words so captured the experience ... for so many of us who have been through that. ... Cats say so so much with their eyes, and surely are thankful for the humans who know that language. Thanks for sharing ....

Amy said...

Thank you so much, Colleen. It's so clear how much you understand and love and admire them, these incredible, mysterious, funny, loving little magicians. I'm so happy to have Solomon be a part of your Itty Bitty Kitty Show, to have him remembered there. Love to PBJ and Lil Red Buttons, from Oliver and me.