I wake to the warmth of the dog next to my back and the weight of the two cats on my legs. Jenny, the dog, rarely leaves my side. She follows me room to room day and night. The cats, Cleo and Niles, sleep all day, prowl through the house half the night, but always end up by morning on my bed.
It’s comforting and somehow reassuring to wake surrounded by the animals. They’re my family. My teachers. My saviors. What would I do without them? They are always there. No ceiling on their love or acceptance. They make no promises, but they deliver so much. I am truly grateful to have them in my life.
A familiar sound. Like Ken at his desk in his office. Opening a drawer. Sifting through papers. I picture him. Facing his desktop. Hands on the keyboard. The green gooseneck lamp casting a warm light across his hands.
How many mornings did I wake finding him there? Not yet gone to bed.
What is it this morning? Where is it coming from?
It has to be the cats. They’ve been acting up since the day he died. Opening doors and drawers. Emptying the contents on the floor. Jumping onto furniture. Knocking things over–lamps, flower pots, telephone. It’s been nine months and Niles still sleeps in Ken’s bed during the day, worming his way underneath the covers, forming a soft mound. Sometimes Cleo walks into his room as if she’s looking for him, as if she remembers.
Nine months without Ken, fifteen years without Scott, thirteen years without John, seven years since Forrest died. Numerous other relatives and friends passing on.
Why are they gone and I’m here? Why do the seasons come and go? Over and over. Again and again. What is the purpose of it all? None of it makes any sense.