Hold The Space [on Merely A Thought Monday]

When I met Kerri, the bar of acceptance I had to clear was not with her children, it was the enormous cat with the name of a rapper: BabyCat. If the sumo-sized cat had rejected me, I’d have been shown the door. Thankfully, BabyCat was merely indifferent to my presence so I got to stay. And, after a few years of kitty-aloofness, one night BabyCat crawled into my lap and I knew I was in for good.

Today, BabyCat would have been 13 years old. He left us in a flash almost a year ago though, to this day, I think I hear him upstairs. I’m not the only one: after breakfast every morning, a year later, Dogga returns to his B-Cat meet-up spot in the kitchen and waits for his pal to join him. With full bellies, they would meet, hang out in the kitchen, and sleep the morning away. Now, after a few minutes, Dogga retreats to the back door and pines.

Though Dogga and I miss our BabyCat, Kerri suffers most from his absence. Sometimes I find her standing still in a room, as if she is listening. I wait, holding the space. “I can’t believe he’s gone,” she says. He came into her life in a period of great upheaval and was her constant companion. Through the years that she lived in this big old house all by herself, she was never all by herself. She had her BabyCat. He had her. They were – they are – bonded.

It is the empty space, the surprising change of pattern, the absence of a normal daily sound: the heavy footed cat coming down the stairs to beg a treat, that makes us stop and listen, move to the back door and pine, or tell BCat stories. Today we light a candle and celebrate BabyCat. We pause to fill the empty space with memories and laughter of all we loved about our enormous tuxedo cat with the name of a rapper.

read Kerri’s blog post about BABYCAT

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