In Memory Of


1988? - March 1, 2002

My black and white kitty Xegon (pronounced Z-gon), best friend for twelve years, said goodbye on a chilly Friday night, not long ago as I write this.

Xegon came out of mystery, an abandoned waif that wandered in to my old apartment and befriended me instantly. Her going was likewise a mystery. Three weeks earlier as healthy and perky as ever, she had become gradually distracted, listless, disinterested in food. Came the morning when I could not ignore the labored breathing across the room, and realized with a shock she had not eaten or drunk anything for four or five days. So, to the vet.

The blood work and urinalysis were ambiguous -- some slightly elevated enzymes, nothing obvious -- but she was dehydrated, badly. The doctor gave her fluids (needle under the skin), then sent us home with antibiotics, a hydration kit, and instructions about force feeding.

Despite it all, her little heart could not handle the mysterious illness -- or perhaps the treatment was just wrong. Late that Friday night, as friends and I prepared to rush her to the emergency clinic, she began to pee and spit up fluids, and went away.

And I was a mess, wept and wept. For me perhaps it was particularly un-guyish moment. But of all the cats I have known, Xegon had the most unique, irreplaceable personality. Those who knew her agreed.

Now, and for the rest of my life, I will remember.

The next day we took the body to the pet cremation place. The rigor made it seem more final and real, neatly clipping off that particular thread of my life. Now I am doing better; still a bit soppy at times. Lives end, life go on. ... No, it still hurts, dammit. Black empty space carved from my heart, containing only a memory of that astonishing purr. The box of ashes came home a few days later, now resting on my mantel.

I set down the story for friends who knew her, but more, because the very act of telling somehow softens the edge of it. You may see it as the same psychological principle as praying, but without the supernatural baggage. Odd, the twisty byways and warrens of human psychology, the labyrinth of grief; but we humans are odd beings. Would a cats cling so much? I wonder.

The moral: Love your pets while you have them, 
because life is delicate as cirrus, fragile as a spider's web.

But of course, you know.

March 5, 2002