They say the fog moves in on little cat feet. So do ghosts. Mine do, anyway. When I was a child, I had a cat who would jump onto the foot of my bed every night after I went to bed. He’d nose open my bedroom door and *poomp* onto the bed he’d go. So it went for a few years until he got sick and we had to put him to sleep due to a urinary blockage (something that is thankfully treatable these days). I was in the third grade and absolutely heartbroken. Sam was my best friend. He died on the first day of school, which I always thought was a particularly cruel twist of fate.
In the days following his death, I swore up and down that I could still hear my door creak open at night and feel his feet hit the foot of my bed just like they used to. Fortunately my mother was a fairly mystical creature and was open-minded to the notion that her daughter was being visited by the ghost of our dead cat, so she didn’t do anything to discourage the idea.
It hasn’t been since then, 1979, that my life has been such that I’ve been able to pay attention to such forces. Not that I haven’t had pets die in that time period, but other energies have been in the way. There was a Sam II, a lovely black-and-white critter who came with us from Michigan, and who was also my buddy. He just up and disappeared in 1986, again breaking my heart. There was no time or space to detect the subtle nuance of any spiritual return on his part, though: that was the year things began to go truly and horribly wrong at my house, and they would never be right again. Then there as Bizarre, yet another beautiful creature who was all white with bi-colored eyes like David Bowie. I gave her to friends when I went travelling, and she was regrettably hit by a car in my absence. Since I was gone and she wasn’t really mine anymore, I didn’t get any visits from her that I noticed.
The next cat I got was Babalon, and if you’ve been reading in recent weeks, you should know her story by now, and of her kids. I’ve missed their presence so. The house is empty. Babalon had a big personality despite being just a regular-sized cat, and YinYang had a personality twice the size of his massive body. Samadhi is still here, but she was always overshadowed by the other two. We love her of course, but she’s not her mother or brother, and I realize it’s not fair to compare her to the other two. I can’t help it, though. I miss them so much.
I’ve been “looking” for their presence in the house. I remembered my experience with Sam, and I’ve desperately wanted something like that. Well I think I have. A couple of times the last week or so, I could have sworn I’ve heard Babalon’s faint yowling like she did before she died. She’d just sit in an empty room and make these plaintive yowls like she wanted someone or something. I’d always come to her and pet her and tell her everything was okay, and she’d lay back down. And this morning, after I had awoken but before I had gotten up, just like with Sam, I felt the light footfall of two paws hitting the bed, just as Babalon would do in the morning when she had heard my alarm had gone off.
The only time I’ve felt YinYang’s presence was a couple of weeks ago when I was having a particularly hard sobbing fit of guilt and regret over having not recognized his illness sooner, and I had the distinct sensation of him by my feet walking around in a circle with the message of, “Don’t cry, it’s okay, I love you!”
I was glad for the message of reassurance, even if it might only be coming from my own subconscious, but it didn’t do anything to ease my missing him. I suppose that’s one of those things that really is only healed by time. I’ve learned in the last month and a half that grief comes in waves, like the ocean. It washes over you until you think you might drown, and then it rolls back out so you can heave with breath on the shore. They come slower and smaller over time, though. I imagine at some point they’ll just be little waves lapping at my toes as I sit on the shore enjoying the shells of my memories.