Tuesday, October 14, 2008

In Memoriam

First of all, thank each one of you who commented on my posts about Earl or sent me e-mails with condolences when you read that he was no longer with me. I honestly can’t begin to tell you how much that meant to me. Second, I learned something in some of your comments. I learned that my silly love affair with my sweet, chubby kitteh had affected some of you in a positive way. Badger, for instance. She never actually had the pleasure of meeting The Great Purring One, and yet she referred to him in conversation as the only cat she’d ever liked. That, my friends, is saying something. And there are those of you who found my posts about or photos of him funny or touching and, because of that, you ended up liking him too, even though you’d never had him perch on your chest and look at you with lurve in his big, green eyes. Of course there are my friends who WERE lucky enough to encounter this sweet, gentle soul and who were—without exception—charmed silly by his personality, often in spite of themselves. He was like that big, loveable guy in high school we all knew that never met a stranger and never had an enemy. The guy that made everyone he met happier than they were before he’d come into their lives.

My story of Earl, for those of you who don’t know it, is the following: Within weeks of my first husband up and leaving me after nine whole months of marriage, this ugly little kitten—the product of two frequently-fornicating strays we’d been feeding—showed up in our garage. I say “ugly” because I’d never found orange (or “ginger” as they’re sometimes called) cats particularly appealing. Plus, he had ENORMOUS paws that were totally out-of-proportion with the rest of his wee self and he purred entirely too much and too loudly, in my opinion. Although his moocher parents were skittish, this little guy didn’t have an ounce of fear in his tiny body, and walked right up to me the first time we met while his ma and pa bolted away. I scooped him up, he turned on that motor, and the rest—as they say—is history.

I wasn’t looking for a new pet. I had the grand dame, Ellen, who was around 10 at the time, and I was about to say a heartbreaking good-bye to the Siberian Husky my soon-to-be-ex was taking with him. So a kitten was not something I wanted or needed. Or so I thought…

But he quickly moved into my world—much to Ellen’s dismay—and forced me to care for something small and helpless. He snuggled with me in a way that Ellen had never deigned to do (she was nothing if not uppity), and made me laugh with his goofy antics every single day. His kittenish charm never left him, no matter how enormous he got, and that motor of his did not stop running until—literally—the last beat of his big, sweet heart.

It may sound corny, but I am convinced that Earl was an angel, sent to help heal my shattered heart, just when I felt my most lost and alone. And now, mere weeks away from marrying the man of my dreams, he left to go continue his heart-healing work with someone who simply needs him now more than I do.

Here are a few of my favorite photos of him—some you may have seen before, some that I’ve never posted. Please enjoy. One of these days, I will have another B.O.C. (Big Orange Cat, for those of you who haven’t yet been indoctrinated into this fervent cult)—you can count on that. But I will never, ever have another Earl.

15 comments:

Jannie Funster said...

Dear fellow Austinite,

I am very sorry to hear your cat is no longer with you. I'm sure you will miss him a lot. I know the love of a cat. Deeply. Beautiful wonderful animals. Friends.

May you find peace in your sorrow.

Mags said...

Aw! You made me cry!

Bec said...

Beautiful post Mar. I think he was an angel too.

Keetha said...

Oh, goodness. What a lovely post. I get what pets mean to people. The last one I had broke my heart when she died and I haven't gotten one since.

I'm sorry for your loss.

hotpinksox said...

What a lovely and beautiful post. I wish I had met Earl. Since hearing this news about Earl I have been loving on my Lolly more (which she hates). I don't know what I would do without her.

I am sure that both Ellen and Earl will be watching over you from heaven.

Badger said...

Aw, Earl. I NEVER EVEN GOT TO SNORGLE YOU. *sniff*

Anonymous said...

I completely agree that Earl was an angel. He was there to make you laugh when you wanted to cry and love on you when you felt alone. He knows you are in good hands now so he's off making bread in heaven.

I love all the pics and reading your beautiful words.

Hugs-
Lisa

Jules said...

One of my first memories of Earl is that you'd actually thought he was a fuzzy orange baby girl and, for a time, called him Pearl. 'Member?

And yes, he did make things right in KM world.

Shelia said...

Beautiful farewell to a dear friend with whom your secrets will always be safe.

Hugs.

Karla said...

Oh damn. I never really thought about him being your angel to help you through the bad few years you've had.He really was wasn't he? Damn, you made me cry AGAIN.

I remember when Earl was Pearl too. And how hilariously surprised you were. Wow. Goddamn the time goes too fast.

toxomaman said...

I once knew a Herbert - a big orange cat - he was superb. That coming from a certified allergic-to-cats person. I am so sorry for your loss of Earl.

SUS said...

Beautifully put. Wishing you strength and peace in these tough times.

Anonymous said...

Hey Marla

I believe that too... that pets (and sometimes even people) come into your life when you need them. Earl was the coolest... and I am not even really a cat person, so that's sayin' something. Shakespeare has been that for me. Lots of love...

xoLuann

Bookhart said...

This is an absolutely beautiful tribute and it makes perfect sense. I hope that Earl's spirit is starting to ease someone else's heart right now.

Mandy Broden said...

I'm so sorry to read about Earl. What a big, sweet boy he was. I'm sure he's left an Earl-sized hole in your lives. Peace to you,
Mandy