On November 11, 2014, I asked my husband one more time, “Now you’re sure you’re okay with me getting a foster cat from the Humane Society?” He said, absolutely, of course. I said, “Okay, so tomorrow I am definitely going to give them an application and get that started.
Around 8:30 that evening, I was in the house and my husband called me on my phone from the front yard. He said, “There’s a black cat down here in the bushes, crying. I don’t know if he’s got a message from Jessi or what.” I ran downstairs and this cat was crying, crying, crying. I said, “What do you need, baby? Are you hungry?” I brought out some cat food we had been feeding neighborhood cats as well as some tunafish and he gobbled it all up. When he finished, he brushed himself against my legs as a show of gratitude and walked straight into our garage. I realized later that he had said to me, “Hey Mom! I’m home,” because he NEVER left. He didn’t leave during the days and return for meals in the evenings and mornings. He simply never left.
I spent a couple of days hanging out with him in the garage, not really wanting to bring in a stray cat just yet. When we thought it looked like he was going to hang around, my husband asked what we should call him. I thought about Bagheera from the Jungle Book, or “Baggie”, like Baloo called him, but I didn’t like it. It didn’t fit. My husband said, “We could call him ‘Jags’ for the Jaguars.” (The Jacksonville Jaguars, if you are reading this from somewhere else and don’t get the reference). I said, “That’s it!!” And his name became Jags.
The following day, Jags was still in the garage when I left to run errands. I said offhandedly, “Okay, goodbye, I love you!” and I caught myself because I didn’t want to say that until I really felt it and really said it consciously. The next day, we let Jags come inside and I was laying on the floor with him and I realized that I loved this cat. I mean, I LOVED THIS CAT!!!! And not ONLY did I love this cat, but this love was NOT NEW!!! Suddenly I felt bowled over for what I felt for him and it felt like an old love, not a new love. It’s like all the love I had for Jessi was right there, filling this space, and it was just a continuation, not something that just began. And I just laid there with my new love, delighting in the fact that he had come to me just like that. On purpose. He found me, ON PURPOSE. And I love him with all that I am.
This picture of the hibiscus in our front yard was taken on November 26, 2013, just hours before Jessi’s final trip to the vet where we said our last goodbye. It struck me how beautiful it was, and I didn’t miss the metaphor for our life together. That was the last time those flowers bloomed. We had a freeze the first week of January and we lost them. Synchronistically, it was the same day I was finally able to have Jessi shipped to her temporary new home where she would be forever preserved.Check back often for more thoughts, stories, and insights from Aleta.