Cambrian: Opinion

Balancing closure and hope for missing furry friend

Monty Bob liked lying on Marley’s head.
Monty Bob liked lying on Marley’s head. Special to The Cambrian

I’ve been doing my best for the last couple of years to practice being mindful. That’s why they call it: “practice” — you have to keep at it. Tuning out, tuning in, simplifying … listening. Today my ears are straining, trying to tune out all else but one hopeful noise. Right now the wind makes everything sound like a plaintive cry. I’m trying to find my lost kitty.

A bough creaks as it gallops through the gusts. Gates and patio décor squeak like his raspy little voice. I know full-well that my calls of “Monty Bob!” are blowing right back in my face, slapping me with sadness and guilt for … what? Letting my cat be a cat? Can he hear me? Is he even around here still? On this … plane of existence?

Having been on my own now for more than a year, the thought of letting someone or something into my heart was questionable. I’ve had this little fellow and the playmate I got for him for that amount of time. I was just being cautious — what if something happened and I lost one more love? I caved. I fell madly in love with my feline friends. And here I am. Sigh.

Poor Marley is beside himself. How do I make a cat understand, “I’m doing my best to find him! I feel badly, too. Did he really come up to the cat door that hour I had it closed to keep the raccoons out? Or was he gone already?” How do I make myself understand and believe all that?

My best friend from early grade school was shot and killed accidentally shortly after she and her parents had moved from L.A. to Portland, Ore. for “a better life.” (Note: I could not even imagine suffering like that, as a parent!) When I was 16, I ran away from home. My friend’s mother came down and visited my mom.

“At least she’s still alive somewhere,” Mrs. Vawter consoled her. “But will I ever see her again? I don’t know. At least you have closure and aren’t stuck in Hope Limbo.”

She shared this conversation with me after I’d returned home, five months later.

I bring that up because I was speaking with someone about Monty Bob and animals gone missing in rural areas, all the possibilities.

“So-and-so’s cat was missing and I felt so bad for her. Months or maybe longer later, the plumber was under my house and found the body of that poor kitty! Don’t know why it died. I didn’t have the heart to tell (the owner) because I thought maybe it was better to have that hope it was living safely somewhere.”

I understand that, but I’m here to say closure is much more humane.

I’m not naïve. He’s been gone since April 21. But, really, he wasn’t a wanderer. Eight times out of 10, he was sleeping on my bed. I walk in every day to see if he’s resumed his position there. So, is it instinct that tells me he’s still alive? Or is that sense too clouded when it’s so near the heart? I’ve certainly made false calls before in that ol’ heart department — or chosen to simply ignore what I was feeling. But, really, it is too muddled right now.

We go on. I work. I clean the house. I pay extra attention to Marley and Koki (the adopted neighbor’s cat who kind of tripped out Monty Bob and Marley) to let them know I wasn’t responsible for his departure. I hope not, anyway. And I keep loving. And looking. And listening.

Damned wind.

Dianne Brooke’s column is special to The Cambrian. Email her at ltd@ lady tie di .com, or visit her website at www .lady tie di .com.