Sunday, July 15, 2007

We Love You: a Tribute to Elijah

I have kept things pretty quiet around here lately. I had a shitty week I couldn't face writing about, yet couldn't bear to write about anything else first without acknowledging our loss. I was out of town doing fieldwork for a few days this week, during that brutal heat wave. Normally any time spent in the field and out of the office is good, but when I called SodaBoy from my hotel room Tuesday night, he had terrible news for me: Elijah was dead, apparently killed by the terrible heat.

I had seen him that morning, petted him while he had a bite to eat, and he seemed perfectly normal. SodaBoy saw him not 10 minutes before he expired, and again, he seemed normal. We both feel terrible that we didn't think to lock him in the basement where it is cooler, but unfortunately the thought did not occur in time. Elijah had been with us through similar weather in the past with no trouble. The complacency must have dulled our senses.

Anyway, I wanted to write a tribute to Elijah, the same way I had done for Meshoe when she died. However, writing that piece about Meshoe was hard, and I found myself begging off, unable to confront my grief and guilt about Elijah. Then when I started thinking about it, I realized I've already told many of his stories, how he loved walking with us, even in the winter, and of his fondness for catnip.

So I will share instead the burial mound SodaBoy built for Elijah in our backyard. It is far back in the yard, right at the base of the path leading up into the woods. Under a lilac tree, the fieldstones bordering the edge of a garden wrap around the monument. It is a nice shady spot where Elijah loved to play in the dirt.

We couldn't possibly have loved you any more, Elijah. You were the sweetest kitty, demanding hugs, and purring louder the tighter we squeezed. You are sorely missed, friend.

13 comments:

Sara said...

I am so sorry.

I loved reading about your Cat That Went on Walks, and I'm sorry to hear that he died.

His mound is lovely and very suitable. Peace to you guys. :(

Andy said...

I'm sorry.

I'd never even think about heat as a cause for death. And now I'm upset, because my apartment is really really hot during the day.

Nadine said...

SodaBoy did a beautiful job.

So sorry for your loss.

Phantom Scribbler said...

(o)

Not so little sister said...

(((BerryBird))) I'm so sorry! I would be devastated if one of my cats passed too. SodaBoy build a lovely memorial

jo(e) said...

(o)

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

I am so sorry to hear about your terrible sad loss! Elijah was such a sweet cat

(Meshoe too).

Heat can kill, but it could have been something else, and in any case, it's not your fault.

Be sad, miss him, love him, but don't blame yourself.

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

(((OOO)))

BerryBird said...

Thanks, everyone, for the kind words. I just walked back and sat by the monument for a few moments. Want to hear something pretty cool?

I wrote this post and took the picture right after putting a fresh bunch of flowers on the mound. SodaBoy & I had walked up the deer trail in the woods and picked a sprig of Elijah's catnip, which was in bloom--if you look closely, it is the very top flower in the pile. Tonight, all the flowers are wilted again, as would be expected. Except the catnip, which is a fresh as the day we picked it.

Nicole said...

I am so very very sorry for your loss, my friend. My thoughts are with you and your husband.

Casey said...

I'm so sorry.

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

I just reread this and cried some more. WAHN!

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

that's cool about the catnip!