Flawed Love

Part of what has surprised me about the loss of China has been how much my sense of grieving has been shaped by feeling guilty. Of course there's the what-if's surrounding her final illness: "I waited too long to take her to the vet," "My inaction made her suffer," "I waited too long to put her to sleep," "I put her to sleep too soon" (ah, contradictory self-accusations! That right there should be a clue that what's going on has more to do with me and my internal process than anything … [Read more...]

China (1989-2010)

Loving God, our beloved pet and companion, China, is on her final journey.  We will miss China dearly because of the joy and affection she has given us. Bless China and give her peace. May your care for her never die. We think you for the gift that she has been to us. Give us hope that in your great kindness you may restore China in your heavenly kingdom, according to your wisdom, which goes beyond our human understanding. Amen. — Adapted from a prayer in Will I See My Dog in Heaven? by Jack Wi … [Read more...]

The Lion in Winter

My eldest cat, China, is well over 20 years old. She was a rescue kitty — she came to me when I managed the bookstore in Sewanee, and a fraternity boy at the college found her, a stray kitten, and took her to the local vet; the same vet who on the very next day I asked “Do you have any kittens up for adoption?” He brought China out to me, and it was love at first sight. The frat boy, who was a true animal lover, came and talked to me to make sure I would be a good “daddy” for the kitten; I must h … [Read more...]

Julian (1987-2007)

The oldest of our four cats has died.Julian (yes, named after the English mystic) came to live with me as an adorable calico kitten in the fall of 1987. I had just moved to Atlanta, and I chose an apartment with the ability to have a cat as a consideration. She was rather shy — a classic "scaredy-cat" — but could be very warm and affectionate with you once she decided she liked you.When I married Fran (in 1993), she and Julian really bonded. For most of her mature years, Julian slept in the b … [Read more...]