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Monday, 12 April 2010

The Quest of a Widower and the Humane Society

By Ralph Lymburner

My wife of 38 years died suddenly, so suddenly I did not even have a chance to say goodbye. One day she had chest pains, was taken to the hospital and I visited with her there in the evening. She was in good spirits and I kissed her goodnight. At 2AM, I was called telling me she was gone.

So many decisions, phone calls, funeral plans, grief, kids coming and going, it was all a blur. I am fortunate to have good friends as we were both Life Master bridge players. It happened right before the holidays so I was invited to these friends' homes for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

One good friend urged me to get a cat to keep me company. We had two wonderful cats before, but my wife became allergic to them and we had to let them go. So on a Sunday afternoon, I went to the Humane Society and entered the cat area. There I stood, looking in the cages. I started to break down and a kind volunteer asked if she could help me. I told her my story and she said she had the perfect cat.

I said I needed to think about it. Driving home, I turned around to go back, then I reversed directions again and went home.

Two days later, a friend asked if I had gotten the cat and pointed her finger at me and all but ordered me to get the cat. Luckily she was still available, so I took the beautiful white and black female cat home and named her Queen Isis.

After a year, I was missing female companionship and bored with playing bridge every day so I decided to try internet dating. Over a period of about three months, I had dates with five ladies. They were all very nice but there was no “connection.” The sixth date was the proverbial “date from hell” so I gave up that pursuit.

Since I was out of the house so much, I thought Queen Isis needed another cat to keep her company. Back to the Humane Society I went and saw a nice cat in the top cage.

A lady was crouched down looking in the bottom cage, did not see me and suddenly stood up bumping me pretty hard. She apologized over and over, but I said I was fine.

We stood there talking about different types of cats, problems and solutions in raising them and I noticed how engaging and attractive she was. Without hesitation (which is not like me), I asked if she was free to go for coffee and she said she would like that. I didn’t get a cat that day.

We began dating and she insisted I ride a bicycle with her. I am not the most athletic type but I went, not wanting to be a wimp. I fell and hit a large boulder, the gear shift pushing into my rib cage, bruising it. Again, she apologized and was nearly in tears over having wounded me a second time.

After having x-rays, I was told the ribs were fine but there was something else. I had lung cancer My new date’s husband had died of it and I was sure all was over, my life and dating this lady.

But I had surgery and they removed the top lobe of my right lung where the cancer was fully contained. There was no other involvement and I did not need chemo or other treatment. My new friend stayed by my side, took care of my home and the Queen while I recovered.

Last week we returned to the Humane Society where we found a sweet Russian Blue-type kitten. I named her Princess Sasha and she and the Queen are blending very nicely, except for one instance where I thought she had gotten out.

We looked for her everywhere for a whole day, and found her in a tiny bottom vanity drawer that she had pulled open herself, climbed in with the hair dryer and the weight closed the drawer.

So my love and I are still together and I tell you, it is just amazing what you might find at your local Humane Society. A cat, a dog or maybe even a girl friend.

[INVITATION: All elders, 50 and older, are welcome to submit stories for this blog. They can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, etc. Instructions for submitting are here.]

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 02:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post


nice story
Harper and Ramona (feline companions) enjoyed it too!

What wonderful story. Let's hope it happens to many more people in the same boat as you were.

Wow, you sure weren't meant to die of lung cancer! That's the kind of series of coincidences that only happens in real life...you'd never get away with it in fiction!

your facebook questions would not open. How come?

What an up-lifting story -- congratulations on finding love in more than one form and healing of more than one kind. God is good!


I don't know what you mean by they won't open.

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What a nice story you have told us.

It had everything.Tragedy,suspense,humor,and finally,happiness for both you,your new love and the cats.

May you all live happily ever after.

Love can come in the most surprising ways. I am happy for you, for your cats and for the girlfriend. I think it was meant to be.

What a lovely story really – sad in a way but so optimistic. Cats are great companions. We have two now and would be so lonely without them. I always believed that cats were good luck. We have a Korat – they are originally from Thailand where they were given to new weds as a good luck charm.

Ralph, Guess you would say I am the other half of a similar story! I sat next to a blue-eyed widower on a snowstorm-delayed flight a few years ago, we shared our stories and began talking every night. I moved from Seattle to his Arizona city a year later and we married last October. We are both 64 and couldn't be happier. He had a faithful bulldog to keep him company- now he has both of us!

Sweet story.
I love happy endings.
Thanks for writing this and adding sunshine to my day.

That bike ride saved your life!
Loved the cat stories and love story too.

Yes, the bike ride was meant to be and I am so glad you gave in to her insistence on it.

So very happy for you Ralph. Great Story. We wish you much joy.
Terry & David

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