Secrets of the Universe Revealed

Writer to the Stars

Writer to the Stars
Dallas, Texas, USA
August 15
Writer to the Stars
A long-time freelance writer who was fated to live in Dallas, Texas and marry a tall photographer. And who did. 31 years into it now. It seemed to be working. And then the whole damned roof fell in. But we've both been to the rodeo before, even this one, and we know what to do. You cowboy up.


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FEBRUARY 2, 2010 1:35AM

Be a Buddha...

Rate: 59 Flag

Tomorrow, I'll go to pick up the ashes of my cat, Antone Boudreau. The doctor offered to scatter his ashes in a memorial garden she has. "Thanks," I told her, "but he needs to be buried here." Here in our back yard, near the big wide red live oak that's wrapped in ivy. Here where three other deeply loved cats already lie. Here where his brother is buried.

Cancer had ravaged Tone with the deadly speed of grass fire last weekend, and she'd advised me to...what? She said euthanize him, which is as good a term as any I suppose. Better than put down, the meaning of which is now curdled by parents putting down their toddlers for naps.

When the doctor told me Tone needed to be euthanized and I agreed, she asked if I wanted to be with him. "I was there when he came into the world," I told her, 'it's only fair I see him out."

Tone was born at home, along with his two brothers, Cutter Bob and Puddin'. His mother, Lola, is a black tortoise; she's still a tiny cat and old now, like Tone. He was 15, she is 16 and I dearly hope she'll stay with me a little longer.

She may not. She's sleeping next to me on my desk right now, and sleeps a lot, these days. All her sons are now dead.

I drove fast to the vet, talking to God all the way. I'd given Tone over to him the day before without a whimper, I'd thought. Your will and only your will be done, I whispered, tears bleeding down my face, my makeup a mess. Tone deserved my tears, my sloppy face, my letting go: he was a good cat. Just let me be calm when I see him, I begged now, let me tell him what I need to, let me pat him one more time. All I ask, God. All I ask. But of course, it wasn't all I asked, not by a long shot, and God, the Universe, Whoever already knew that much. After smacking down the man I love, I wanted him, her, or them to spare one small fucking cat.

Surely I'd suffered too goddamn much. Surely.

But tears are my end of things, not God's, so Tone wasn't spared. Even so, I got to see him, hold him, and say goodbye. And my voice was calm so he wasn't frightened and sat up happily when I used all his names like always: Tone, Tone-Bone, T-Tone, da Tone.

It was me and Antone, like always. He was happy to see me, even though his suffering must have been terrible. He had a brain tumor and his eye bulged in a way it hadn't the night before, but they had rehydrated him, and given him antibiotics, so he felt better than he had when I'd first stormed into the vets.

I said, Hey Tone, Tone-Bone. Hey T-Tone, da Tone. Here you are, about to have a big adventure. The biggest ever. Remember when that silly yella cat came into the yard? And you got after him? The only cat you ever chased. You're gonna run like that now, only faster. Like a yella comet with a long, long tail, and some night I'll see you up in the black sky, rolling around with Cutter Bob. And you'll have a higher incarnation too, because your love is perfect. It's never faltered, never flagged, never failed. No sweeter, better cat ever was.

Be a Buddha, Tone.

And the vet came in, shaved his poor foreleg, slipped in a needle, and Tone sighed like I'd seen him do a million times before, settled down, and died. A momentary transformation, I whispered.

I've cried many salty tears for my cats, and so has my husband. He wept too, long and bitterly, when I came home. "No, no, honey," I said. "No darlin'. It was peaceful. He and I were together, and I said goodbye." And then I remembered when our first cat died: Darby, D-cat, a beautiful Himalayan.

I am here to tell you that I was so fucked up over that, my boy and I repaired to a bar and drank tequila shots all day. My head was down on the table as I drunkenly beat on it. Aw, don't take on so, my husband had said, he's probably a little kid in Japan right now. And I remember brightening up, because he'd said the perfect thing, as he often does.

But I had nothing perfect to say now, as is so often true, so I kissed him, patted his hand, and we sat together a while. 

Oh, my brother! May I recognize you in your next incarnation! I will be so happy when we meet!

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Too much sadness on Open Salon these days. Beloved pets dying, parents dying, lives struggling. You have my most sincere condolences at the loss of your beloved Tone, who clearly was well loved. Tequila. Reincarnation. It suits.
To Tone! A good fine cat, a good fine little boy in Japan. xox
I've cried many salty tears over my perfect kitties, too. Because they're not pets, they're family. I am so sorry for your loss.
A weepy hug to you from another cat lover. Antone sounds like a wonderful cat. The loss of my beloved Isadora almost six years ago didn't drive me to Tequila, but it did lead to a storm of tears outside the Vet's office hodling that sadly light pet carrier. Not that it had been very heavy with her in it; she was so thin and frail, at the end. Kidney failure was what got Izzy. I was with her and with Pan when the time came to say farewell; nothing would have induced me not to hold them and love them and say farewell the last time.

I truly believe it's the last, loving responsibility of a cat owner to put a suffering animal out of pain. But the farewell sure hurts, and home seems terribly empty without them when there's no cat in my desk chair and no cat lounging in the sunny window sill.

But the Boy did indeed say precisey the right thing.
Okay I'm crying.........I see so much loss here in Mexico, so many animals have died in the past year that our local pet cemetary is full. All buried with love and tears. I saw my neighbor across the street yesterday and I hollered, "How's the pup?" (I'd reached into my vet supply in the fridge for anti-biotics the night before.)

"She died," he answered, and he had the pup under one arm and a shovel in his free hand, heading across his property.

Okay, I have to add something positive to that last comment. I started an aggresive (free to the community) Spay and Neuter clinic here two years ago. We've sterilized 450 animals and provided meds for those and hundreds more. I have another clinic coming up March 10-13th and we will operate on 90 or 100 more.

It's what I do now when I'm not working on my novel.

Onwards, ever onwards. (love to you, and so so sorry for your loss.)
My five-year-old grandson explained reincarnation to us at the dinner table the other night, though he didn't have that five syllable word for it. He just had the inner assuredness that "we come back as somebody else" after we die. I believed him like I've never believed anything in my life, because he has this way of knowing things without being told. I just looked at him and wondered who he used to be, and wondered who would recognize him with delight in this incarnation.

As always... you fill me up and leave me with wonder.
As I type this, Elvis the cat is sitting zazen on the counter. Grace is curled in a ball on my lap. I have fed all the ferals this morning: Things One, Two, and Three, Peabody, and Prickly Pete. I am surrounded by cats.

I have always wanted to be as good a human as Elvis is a cat. Perhaps I need to spend a lifetime or two as a cat before that is possible.

And I imagine you underestimate yourself, my dear. About saying the right thing. You're certainly wonderful at typing it.
I wanted him, her, or them to spare one small fucking cat.
He/She/Them don't seem to be taking orders from us mortals these days.
I am sure his life in Japan will suit him. hugs_r
I still miss my cat Fred who has been gone for more than twenty years. These little beings don't stay with us as long as we wish they would--I am sorry. Japan is perfect--fish every day.
You wrote so beautifully about the pain. I hope Tone lives a lovely life in the Japanese countryside.
"Surely I'd suffered too goddamn much. Surely."

Yes. Surely you have. You just have goddamn it.

I'm sorry, dearie. Crying here for you. I have a cat that I sometimes feel pre-sad for, for when he goes. I won't bear it. I already know.

I'm so so so damn sorry.
I followed wakeupslowly.
You do convey sadness.
It's okay to buy time,
buy paper plates,
hang in there,
and it's a fog.
I have premenstrual?
no. It's male/female?
Respect, who knows?
Buddhas watch what?
I don't know. no porn.
Hick no go to neighbor.
Stay away from X-rates.
sad. X- rated film house,
run sad-flick at the old`Y.
YMCAs closed. Y's- porn.
Porn/pawn store opens.
Y- closed. P- store open.
Reincarnation. I agrees.
Yes. So, grieve properly.
And bless.
It is okay.
Go weep
Our loss
I hushes
Your Boy... your cat. You must wake up every morning now and say "Thank you, oh higher powers-that-be, for trusting me with these matters. Thank you for thinking that I, of all people, can handle this." Like the dishwasher who gets to work a triple shift because (s)he is the only one who can wash 60 dishes a minute without breaking a single one... you must be thinking that it is small consolation to know the trust is so great.

I hope your shoulders get unburdened soon. And that back rub you so richly deserve comes along and un-knots what life has handed you lately.

You made me cry and smile all at the same time. Thank you and I bet he is running with his brothers right now just a playin' and jumping...
This resonates so universally, but the intimate whispering of all your "pet" names for Tone is what really brings it all home to me, complete with the kleenex box. My Rufus (Rufy-boy, Rufy-dufy) and Una (Petunia Pie, Una-Petunia) are just outside my kitchen door, under the birdbath. Knowing that brings me some peace. Always on the fence about reincarnation, but CK's grandson might just make me a believer. So sorry for your loss.
I admire your writing of this. I have lost a few, of which I cannot write . . . it is too much to put into words. Well done, Tone . . . well done.
I'm not sure how or why we come to love these little soft furry purry bundles that will break our hearts over and over again, but I'm so thankful we do.

Petey is just another plump cushion on the window seat beside me, and at 13, still a kitten in many ways. She (yes, Petey is a she) will break my heart when she goes, but I wouldn't trade what she's given us for anything.

Beautifully written. I wept.
Well thank you for making me cry first thing in the morning. that's a first. We buried Lionking, our persian, in the backyard last December. We had him die at home [next time we'll probably do what you did] so he could be with all of us around familiar smells and sounds. As he was dying I asked him to let me know that he was okay, on the other side.

7 days later our dog was barking on the deck and I stepped out to see Lionking rush past me, in all his ghostly glory, and bound into the air off the deck and disappear.

I guess he's okay.
Offer him the tribute of your grief . . .

Pawed (and a little prayer for your boy)
Well Writer, being a cat well-loved by his mom and his humans, Tone is probably going to come back as the Dalai Lama. For now, he's a little baby wrapped in a colorful backpack, being lulled to sleep by this mother's stirring of the goat's milk on the fire. And man, what a view!
I'm so sorry for your loss. I still remember the pain of losing my cat when I was in 8th grade. Thank your husband for his perfect line--my tears were about to pour out until I read that!
You've got me crying at work. Damn. I've been where you are many times and it never gets better, and it always sucks. But like you, I think our beloved pets come back to us, or send new friends our way to care for us. Tone is deep in the catnip right now, and he's not suffering anymore. Big hugs to you and his mom.
You are so gifted. You consistently forge beauty out of dross. You surely have had enough of it. And yet you create beauty.

I weep copiously every time I have to euthanize a cat. It is such a hard thing to do. I raise my glass to Tone, a Great Cat indeed.
Yup. What everyone else said. My sympathies.
Two years ago, I had a kitten dumped on me by my brother who accepted a job offer on the other side of the country. I did NOT want this burden. But the cat faithfully followed the two rules I set down for her. (1) You'll eat whatever I lay in front of you and (2) Animals poop outside.
And I'm an anti-social sort who would often go days without even once hearing the sound of my own voice.

This cat changed all that - I spoke to her endlessly - on every topic imaginable. She had great listening skills.

And the fact that she always returned home each time I released her out into the world always moved me a little.
It validated me.
Sometimes, those most dear to you, when presented with an opportunity to sample the excitement and bounty of the world outside the home, never come back.


I'm glad I had that cat even if it was for barely a year. I miss her and I can't begin to imagine the giant hole left in your life by the passing of Tone.

This comment seems rather longish AND it's all about me. Still I know you'll forgive.

Wonderful piece.
Ah my, this is a fine tribute to Tone.
What a wonderful tribute to a member of your family and that is what Tone was....a true member of your family. My wife Mel and I are all about our pets. We have eight dogs and four cats and every dang one of them are our children and we could not love them more. I completely understand what you are going through and have gone through it myself. Bless you.
I've lost many pets of my own, and I've read countless stories of others' experiences with pet death. This is one of the finest that I've ever had the pleasure to read.

I'm so very sorry for your loss. I hope that Tone does come back as a little Japanese boy and gives you a huge hug when he sees you on the street.
There are no better friends in life than our beloved animals, especially now, in this digital age, when we can be so far removed from the natural world. They connect us to remembering that we are all one family on this Mother Earth.

And if we weep more for them than we do sometimes even for the people that we love, maybe it's because animals truly seem so much better than we are.

If we are lucky, new ones will come into our lives, but we never forget the ones who have touched us and made us more human.

Penelope Ann
The stronger your writing, the more suffering I suspect. Writing is saving you. Tone sounds loved to the stars, the moon, and back again. He'll enjoy that next life as much as he did this one.
Yes, he's a "little boy in Spain, playing pianos filled with flames." I can only offer my deepest sympathy and my admiration for the fact that you saw him through. Believe it or not, many pet owners do not. My brother's cat is 21, the last witness to his life, and he is dying a little bit every day. He went blind two days ago. I hope that when the time comes for us to help him pass on -- not yet, not yet -- we have the courage to do it. And that there is tequila afterwards.
You said the perfect thing. Captured the essence of loving a pet. I am crying now; I am missing my Tigger who died in my arms at age 17....
A perfect, sorrowful tale of something so common and yet so profound. Thank you again.
Your writing of this sad event has an incredibly beautiful tone. It was perfectly fitting of your beloved pet. Peace and love to you all.
"Oh, my brother! May I recognize you in your next incarnation! I will be so happy when we meet! "

That line says it all. I still have a giant hole in my heart from my loss of beloved Gigi last year (kidney failure, and it was horrifying fast).

My sincere condolences on the loss of Tone.
To you, so vividly alive. This was a direct transmission!
Oh this essay just lays me out cold bringing tears to my eyes as you bring back to me with stinging clarity how I loved my beloveds who have gone before me and loved in return so perfectly in this life. Why o why are their lives so short and mine so long? I can give intellectual answers and poetic answers but my heart pines for them still, for my Beauty Petunia and the boy Oliver and My Cat (who came and went like a breeze). You're in my thoughts today Missy. You and your boy and your kittys.
Each day, I look at my sweet babies and sigh at the thought that someday they won't be here with me anymore. And yet, they are so wondrously present this day. Even the thought of death makes life more precious...but when it comes, it shatters our hearts.
Bless you and yours.
It was a tough piece to read and I'm sure a tough piece to write. I could not be there when my cat died...something I have great difficulty with to this day. A real sore spot. So I admire your strength. Cats are such special creatures.
I held Teenoo at the vet's, and then she was gone. Goddamnit.