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Thursday, 30 September 2010

Mama's Last Cat

By Marcia Mayo who blogs at Well Aged With Some Marbling

I look at the cat standing sentry atop my refrigerator. It isn’t a real cat; it’s a wooden cat, painted a jaunty black and white stripe with its tail impossibly long.

It isn’t even my cat. It had been my mother’s, a present I’d purchased for her at an import store to feed her feline fix and to remind her of traveling the world and how much she loved a good street market.

My beautiful, brilliant mother, laid out in a mechanical, antiseptic bed, underpants and teeth taken from her during her last sad days on this earth. Alternating between rage and sweet confusion, all she had left of the material world was this cat peering over her untouched dinners and a rendition of Van Gogh’s sunflowers hanging askew on the opposite wall next to a sign promising Sunday chapel services.

“I want to go home. Please take me home,” she begged, although home was thousands of miles away, an impossible gift from a daughter who would have if she could have, a grown up little girl who would have given anything to be able to.

My daddy always said the only good cat was a dead cat, but he put up with at least one at all times, I can remember, because of his love for my mama. But Daddy left us years ago.

On her last day, during my last visit, Mama looked up from her confusion and laughed as I saw her fingers trail an invisible arc in the air. “I just saw a cat jump up on that table and then run out the door,” she said, her eyes offering a passable semblance of merry.

I kissed her goodnight, told her I loved her and left, never to see my mother again.

I know in my heart it was my daddy who sent that particular dead cat to come get my mama to take her home.

The sunflowers greet me each day as I rise and shine. The striped cat watches over me as I break my morning bread.

[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 05:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post


Oh, Marcia, what a way for us to start our day.

Your love for your Mother poured out of every sentence and the sadness of it all brought tears to my eyes.

It is a scene so many of us have been through and knowing others have had the same experience with a parent helps us through our own pain.

Beautifully written.

My mother told me that she dreamed she had died and woke up in her bed with all the animals she had ever loved coming to meet her.

That's what I am planning on.

Once again, a lovely story.

Oh, Zuleme - that's beautiful. Yesterday was the anniversary of the
death of my cat, Beau Bennett, who died in my arms in 1996 at age 20. I
love Ollie the cat, but Beau was my most special friend ever and now
I'm planning the same thing you are.


Phone: 212.242.0184
Blog: http://www.timegoesby.net/

Last year on a death slammed summer's day my brother-in-law who loved music almost as much as he loved my sister reluctantly left us.
Towards evening of that day, in a moment of quiet someone turned on the music station via the TV.
First song up: "You'll Never Walk Alone".

Marcia - Wonderfully written memoir of someone special.

(I wish you had included a photo of the 'impossibly long-tailed cat!') - Sandy

This is such a beautiful story, Marcia. Having the experience of caring for my Mother in her last days with dementia , I can relate to your statement, "...her eyes offering a passable semblance of merry..." The tiniest twinkle from the depth of a loved one can mean so much. In your case, with your story, you made that tiny spark ignite a warm and lasting glow that we can all relate to. Thank you for sharing the story.

A bittersweet story well told of a daughter's love for her mother. I would like to feel that your father did send that cat and was waiting for her.

Lovely story and beautifully written as always. Signed, Another cat person

Marcia - I've just read it for the second time and it is just as powerful as the first. Beautifully written and the story is lovingly told by a daughter who loved Mom, Dad and the Cat.

There is little I can add to what has already been said here but I too was deeply moved. Thank u Marcia.

Thanks for another wonderful story! My mother loved cats. She loved to spoil them by feeding them turkey and ham. For some mysterious reason, all her cats were fat!

Wonderful, thank you.

Beautiful story.

Great story. I hope when I am where your mother is, a cat will show me the way as well!

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