“Do you know," Peter asked, "why swallows build in the eaves of houses? It is to listen to the stories.” ~ J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan



She won't come in, so I went out.

And rediscovered the night.
And why she won't come in.

I have been full of tears for her, full of sorry-for-myself, full of grieving for an event that has yet to occur, full of prayers, full of everything but seeing this gift of time I still have. Sunday night I went to bed and cried, knowing she will never hop up in that bed next to me again - she is no longer interested; she has found places outside where she'd rather spend her time, and although she wants me near her, she doesn't want it enough to waste what precious moments she has left. If I step outside, she will come to me, wanting her ears rubbed, her back rubbed, wanting to stand next to me, but she seldom follows me in, and when she does, it is usually a short visit.

So Sunday night. In the midst of my tears, I thought she is just outside this wall, and yes, it is midnight, but she is just outside this wall, she is laying in the grass behind Katie's car. Join her. So I did. I took a towel and joined her in the night, made a square pallet on which to sit and joined her, next to the grass, on the driveway. She was up and circling me, rubbing against me, happy, happy that I was out there with her, ending up standing next to me, just standing, touching. Side by side. And I rediscovered the night, the coolness after a daytime of 100+ degrees, the deafening sound of cicadas and what I assume to be tree frogs; I will have to ask. The moonlight. The darkness. The breezes. It was magnificent. When I at last went to bed, I slept like a baby.

Last night I dug out my white & blue striped beach chair, one of those that squoosh together like an umbrella, that hold you cocooned inches off the ground, and found the night again with her. She was perched on the wall of the footbridge that crosses the creek; I nestled as close as I could, and she was down from her spot, circling me again, finding her spot next to my right hand, purring loudly. Again the serenade of seemingly thousands of cicadas, breezes that whispered of yesterday's shower, a half moon bright in the sky behind us. I watched a neighbor across the street switching channels on his tv - impatiently flipping from one station to the next, then, finding nothing, switching the thing off; darkness. A man turned the corner, walking who knows where, talking on his cell phone, totally unaware we were there. Maggie moved closer, and I remembered a photograph taken by the ever-wonderful Michael 4 years ago. I was sick, but I didn't really know it yet - it was springtime, before Easter. Feeling feverish & chilled, I abandoned the couch for the hammock in the back yard, needing the sunshine on my skin, needing the warmth. Maggie was outside & came to me, as she always did when I lay in the hammock, and took her usual spot on the grass below me. When I fell asleep, Michael took a picture of the two of us - I'd forgotten that picture existed; my mother has a copy on her refrigerator. When I see it, I always remember how sick I became, a fever that lasted a month, a couple of stays in the hospital, and I turn away. But now I see Maggie. Coming to me, to be near.

I look back on this blog that was to be about art, and I re-read posts, and it seems that it has been about loss, about letting go, almost from the very beginning. I wonder if I sensed all that when Emmatree was born - if I knew I would need this space to gather myself together. Or is loss just a constant? If I look back, that seems more likely - that life is about birth & beginnings, but just as surely about endings & goodbyes. I feel empty of poetry when I talk about Maggie; it feels as if I used it all up with Mary. I put my fingers over my heart and feel this pain again. Still. This heartache. And I feel I should apologize, should say I'm sorry that there are no flowers here lately - but there is life here. And that means there is also death, and I hate just saying that word, I want to pretty it up, I want to say there are endings, there are passings, I want to say anything but that word, but death is what it is.

This summer will be about Maggie.
I will hold her near.
I will sit with her in the night and watch the stars.


  1. so sorry...i have been down this road...it is filled with pot holes and gravel with some smooth patches here and there...i will travel with you...there is no map.

  2. my scrappy cat was diagnosed with lupus about 2 years ago. we've spent all that time thinking it was just a matter of days. there were times when i didn't think he would make it through the next hour, let alone day..but he did, and he's still with us. he is spending all his time outside (in our fenced in yard) now, also. he wants nothing to do with being indoors. he actually seems to be thriving now. it's a magical place out there, outside.

  3. this makes me so sad. it's interesting, to me, how she has retreated to the outdoors and you are joining her there and she in turn is joining you.

  4. Glenn - Damn, indeed.

    elk - That's exactly it! There's no map or set of instructions, and each time it's a different journey & we wonder how we'll get there & we feel so lost. I am glad to have a companion as I wander. Thank you.

    miz katie - It is a magical place, the outside. I am so glad your kitty is doing so well. Maggie has seen a year that her vet did not expect, and for that I am immensely grateful. As for staying outside, that is normal summertime behavior for her. However, this is the first year in 17 that i haven't been able to cajole her indoors for the night. She wants to stay out, so I let her.

    syw - That is interesting - I hadn't thought of that. But she has always been that way. To see me outside has always made her so happy. Perhaps she feels as if I'm visiting her.

    :) Debi

  5. Oh. Oh oh oh. I cannot stop tearing up as I read this. The circle coming round and you visiting her outside, where she needs to be.

    Sending you love. Thank you for sharing this beautiful story.

  6. Summer is the time of life
    ___even cats,
    the time when flowers come
    and poetry blooms__
    the time to hold your heart
    and listen to the night sing.

  7. Our AC went out upstairs, however the desire to sleep in my own bed is strong. So Last night I ventured up there. DH had the windows open and fans going, it was comfortable enough, so I stayed. I was amazed how loud the night is, I was beginning to wonder if I could fall asleep with all the noise, but I eventually did. Funny you should mention it. I'm so sorry about your cat, she sounds as if she's happy and she'd lucky to have you.

  8. i know this pain. i am filled with tears over your, loved filled words.

  9. Yes and yes-they are constants, aren't they?
    And the gift...oh the gift. How sweet that you found it!
    "There is no death; only a change in the worlds." (Seattle Sleuth)
    Enjoy the gift that is before you.

  10. Words are our comfort. Even though they can be painful to put out there, because it somehow makes the pain more 'real' to see it, there is a catharsis there. I love to read your writing, and even though there is pain and sadness, there is a terrible beauty there as well...

  11. how awful. hugs to you.

  12. Honey, we don't come just for the beautiful pictures, we come for the best of you and you give that to us. I feel for you and I am glad that you have this time to spend with Maggie, you will remember these moments for the rest of your life and isn't that what life is all about? The precious moments? Love you!

  13. Honey...there is still much poetry here...how you love your Maggie so.

    It brings me to tears. It brings me to memories of laying on my bathroom floor, many years ago, beside my sick kitty...praying that he would eat...that he would return to his rambunctious self...but sadly, he knew much better than me that it was his time to pass.

    My husband often wonders out loud to me...why do we bring these beautiful creatures into our lives...knowing the pain it causes us when they pass. I still think it's worth it, don't you? The love and joy they bring to our lives, and us,hopefully to them...

    Sending you and Maggie lots of love and stars tonight...


  14. You will sit with her.
    You will just be beside her.
    You will love her.
    And you will never be sorry.
    And you will never loose a moment of your time. Or of that love.

  15. Tango - It has been a tear filled week. Once I didn't comment on something you wrote because it made me cry & I thought it would make you cry more. Thank you for being there.

    jfrancis - Beautiful words & I thank you for them.

    Margo - the nightime we think of as so silent is so not. :) And tonight the cicadas sang earlier - perhaps the rain made them happy & they asre singing songs of joy. Maggie is happy - weaker but still happy. Thanks for stopping by.

    Christina - I have known this pain before myself, and yet chose to allow this cat into my life anyway. We do that, don't we? Choose love anyway? Thank you so much for visiting.

    Paula - Oh, me too. I was grieving and missing what it still here. I, too, am glad I realized it before it was gone.

    Queen - So much sadness - perhaps that is what keeps the sweetness in life.

    Kamana - The hugs are appreciated & needed. Muchas gracias!

    Christy - Thank you. I feel sometimes I should say nothing unless it is joyful, but I also feel I should be honest. It is a special time for me & Maggie, and in writing about what is sad, I find the joy. Love you too.

    Celeste - Your story broke my heart. We try so hard to hold back time, and we can't. And yes, we will always choose to love again. This time, however, I will take a while. Lily awaits me each morning at work, and she will be my comfort when Maggie is gone. And we are catching all those stars! Thank you! :)

    Relyn - I sat with her last night at midnight, and Katie joined us - just us three females in the dark of night. And when I came in, Maggie came with me, to stay indoors for a change. You are right - I will never be sorry.

    Thnak you all for your kind, kind words. It means much.

    :) Debi

  16. Oh they know. That sweet Maggie-pie.
    My goodness...how very powerful they are. They hold us in sickness and in health. Now you do the same. How very beautiful and selfless. xo

  17. i am reading this again on the day of the pet parade and am blessed to read it a 2nd time and know she is still here!


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