My lion, my heart

For those of you haven’t heard, my beautiful furry boy left this world exactly two weeks ago today.

We were together for so long, his absence feels like a big empty hole in my heart.

This is meant to be a tribute to him, or a memorial, but I don’t even know how to write all that I want to say. There’s just these random thoughts and memories…

He was my best friend and soul mate for 17 years – that’s longer than I’ve known most of the people in my life (excepting, of course, my family).

He taught me more about being in the moment than any spiritual teacher. He taught me about devotion and trust. He taught me about lolling about in a patch of sunshine.

He was one of the sweetest beings I’ve ever known.

He had his own unique scent, and just like a mother cat, I’d know his scent anywhere. I used to sniff his head the way most people will sniff a baby’s.

He used to curl up on my pillow with me in the wee hours of the morning, and would still be there when I woke up. If it was cold, he’d wrap himself completely around my head for warmth, and I’d call him my “cat hat”. Every morning, the first thing I would do would be to stick my face in his fur and snuggle him. I miss him most in the mornings.

I called him Fluffernutter, Peanut Butter Cookie, Pumpernickel, Munchkin, Munchmeister, and Rumpelstiltskin, among other things. (In case you don’t know, his real name was Wayne.)

He looked like a little lion, and had the fierce spirit to match.

17 years ago I found this scrappy little yellow kitten, stuck in a bush. He had a bad eye and a crooked tail, and was pretty much skin, bones, and fur. That’s when he won my heart.

He moved with me from the suburbs of Michigan to New York City, through several different apartments in Manhattan and Brooklyn, and finally across the country to rural Oregon.

He definitely used up all nine of his lives, and possibly a few extra.

When he went completely blind a few weeks before his death, Peter and I watched in amazement as he very determinedly mapped out the layout of our house. He would walk until he bumped into a wall or a piece of furniture, turn, walk until he bumped into something else, turn, and repeat the process again. He did this in every room, over and over, until he was able to navigate his way around the house with some confidence.

His last few days here were far from easy, but he still purred when I held him.

He left this world with both Peter and me at his side, holding him and talking to him and loving him.

I know it was his time, and I know he was ready to go. I still miss him like crazy.

Wayne, my beautiful lion, my beautiful heart, thank you. Journey in peace little spirit.

9 thoughts on “My lion, my heart”

  1. Kelly

    What a beautiful tribute. It brought tears to my eyes. Wayne was a special cat and I smile at his memory. His spirit will live on in the hearts of those who knew and loved him.

  2. RJ

    I am so sorry for your loss… I remember when you first brought Wayne home… I had really long hair then, and when I would sit on the couch, Wayne would come over and burrow under my hair and wrap himself around the back of my neck and purr. I never liked cats (well, I never liked our roommate Richelle’s cats!), but I loved Wayne! What a long and special life he had with you!

  3. Dad

    I’m sorry for your loss, Teri. I’ll always remember the time we were moving you to New York, stopping at a rest stop to stretch our legs late at night, and Wayne getting loose! He was so frightened and bewildered, and I was so fearful you’d never catch him again! Thankfully, you had a long time together after that ….

  4. Kath

    Terri, I am so sorry! Reading this makes me cry. I know how it feels so well. I don’t believe our loved ones leave us completely. Hold on to the love – he is not really gone.

  5. fred

    Hey Terri, I am so sorry. I know your feeling. Couscous has kidney failure and became blind last week… it is so sad to see her bump into the walls… and slowly leaving us…

  6. Winnie

    ah, sweet Teri-la!
    I remember first meeting Wayne, thinking about your similarities and wondering if he learned how to be so feline from you, or vice versa.
    I’m sorry for you loss.

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