There’s a yellow tag on the table in front of me, a distressingly happy color given what it represents. I’m at the shelter to pay for Moo-Moo’s private cremation, and part of the process is writing down what you want on the nameplate. Despite only knowing him for a few weeks, I’d be tempted to try to fit a great American novel in three scant lines, encompassing all that he was and all that he could have been in that space. The caretaker, in contrast, had a single request. “Moo-Moo.”
There’s power in the simplicity of the name alone, carrying with it the weight of 10 years of history between cat and caretaker. The hopes and dreams and entwined lives of each creature he touched. His power to make friends with everyone and everything he met. His silky smooth fur and confident tail held high, his happiness emanating from his very core.
Now he’s gone. Two weeks wasn’t enough time. Two lifetimes wouldn’t have been enough time.
“It wasn’t supposed to be this way.”
“I miss your happy head bumps.”
“I wanted you to meet the resident crew.”
“You were going to find a forever home so fast.”
“Please can I wake up and you be back, Moo-Moo?”
I’m sorry. I’m sorry.
“My heart is tearing itself apart.”
I miss you.
I miss not hurting.
It hurts to breathe and know that you’re not.
I made you promises I didn’t keep.
I’d die instead of you if I had that power.
It’s not your fault.
He wouldn’t want this.
Save those for the ones that you cannot.
Don’t die for him, live for him.
“I’ll get this handled,” says the voice at the desk. A friend, a comforting tone, someone who knows my pain, someone who can probably see past the facade of okayness I project, ready to shatter with each pen stroke.
I love you Moo-Moo. You are the very best boy. May Tripod keep you company on the Rainbow Bridge.