Sunday, January 15, 2012

Tuxedo Farewell

The year has just begun and I’ve already lost a friend.

My sister’s cat, Tuxedo, crossed that Rainbow Bridge after suffering a stroke and left this life on the same day our father did in 2007.

Tuxedo had a heart condition and the vet had warned my sister that he could go at any time. But that doesn’t lessen the pain of losing him.

I had a special fondness for Tuxedo. I used to drive him and his brother, Smokey, to their vet's office in Manhattan. They weren’t happy about being packed up in their cat boxes and hauled over to the city, but it had to be done.

Both Smokey and Tuxedo were very shy around strangers and would run like hell whenever I came over. Often the only sight I had of them was their rear ends disappearing under my sister’s bed.

But Tuxedo surprised me one night shortly after our first vet run. We were sitting in the kitchen and he came walking in like he owned the place. And being a cat, of course, he did own the place.

I was stunned because usually if I wanted to see him, I’d have to get down on my knees, lift the blankets of my sister’s bed, and peer into the darkness. And now here he was out in the open.

But then it got even crazier when Tuxedo walked up to me and jumped right into my lap.

Okay, now I was completely speechless—no wisecracks, no jokes, no words whatsoever. I was too shocked to say anything.

How could this cat who was once so terrified of me now suddenly feel so at ease in my presence?

Up We Go

I didn’t think he knew that I was his driver, since he was in the cat box the whole time, but maybe he identified me by my voice or my scent, or used that animal ESP that I hear so much about. In any case, he made me a very happy man just by performing that simple act.

And now Tuxedo’s jumped into God’s lap.

That’s trouble with pets. They give us so much love and devotion and yet they’re only with us for such a painfully short time. It doesn’t seem fair.

Tuxedo was gone by the time we got to the animal hospital. While we waited to see him one last time, we heard a woman sobbing in another part of the building, indicating that someone else had lost a loved on this night.

My sister was very rightfully concerned about how Smokey would handle the loss of his sibling. The vet suggested rubbing a cloth over Tuxedo’s body so Smokey could get his brother’s scent.

The only problem was we didn’t have any cloth. I was wondering what to do and then I looked down at this ratty old scarf I’ve had since the Carter Administration.

I’ve been meaning to toss it for years, but each spring I throw the thing back in the closet and forget about it until the cold weather comes back.

It was time to break the cycle. Instead of just trashing this old garment, we’d use it for a good cause. I pulled the scarf off my neck and handed it over to my sister. She rubbed it over Tuxedo's body and now it belongs to Smokey.

I have a new scarf now and it’s a real beauty. Every time I put it on I like to think of a good friend who made me feel so special and whom I'd gladly drive to the ends of the earth and back.

Thanks, Tuxedo. And rest in peace.


Ron said... brought tears to my eyes, Rob.

What a GORGEOUSLY written post!

And it brought back a TON of memories for me and my two cats (mother and son) who passed away exactly one year from one another. One passed while I was still in Florida, the other about 6 months after I moved back east in 2001.

"But then it got even crazier when Tuxedo walked up to me and jumped right into my lap."

I both smiled and laughed when I read that because isn't something how cats are? THEY have to approach FIRST. And they seem to do it right after you give up and stop trying to get their attention - HA!

"I have a new scarf now and it’s a real beauty. Every time I put it on I like to think of a good friend who made me feel so special and whom I gladly drive to the ends of the earth and back."


What a BEAUTIFUL ending, Rob!

Rest in Peace, Tuxedo! And please say hello to Zoe and Jerry on the other side of the Rainbow Bridge, for me.

Thanks for sharing this, buddy!

Rob K said...

Oh, Ron, I'm so sorry to hear about the loss of your two cats--that must have been terribly painful to lose them in such a short period of time. I hope Jerry, Zoe, and Tuxedo are all playing on the side of the Rainbow Bridge.

And you're so right about cats making the first move--you can't force yourself on them or you'll just drive them away.

Thanks for sharing your experiences, buddy, and take care!

Jay at The Depp Effect said...

That's so sad .. I'm sorry you lost little Tuxedo. :(

It's a great idea to give bereaved animals something to keep with the scent of their lost companions. I still remember my old Jack, having lost his 'girlfriend' the lovely Renie, lying snuggled up with his nose buried in the last blanket she ever used. I never washed it, and probably wouldn't have done for a very long time, but he only outlived her by five weeks. He was very old, and we think he simply gave up.

Rob K said...

Oh, Jay, that's a heart-breaking story about Jack. I guess he couldn't get over the loss of Renie. I'm sure they're together now on the other side of the Rainbow Bridge.

Calamity Jen said...

My condolences to you and your sister. I've lost my share of pets and it never gets easier. RIP Tuxedo.

Rob K said...

Thanks, Jen. And you're so right--it doesn't get any easier.

Joan Lenihan said...

I finally was able to sit down and read this blog after 5 weeks. I still can't believe my darling Tuxedo is gone. His brother Smokey and I are heart-broken and miss him very much. I thank you for all of your kind expressions of sympathy. I am sorry for all your losses as well. And I thank you Rob for such a beautifully written piece.

Rob K said...

My pleasure...