Not Just Monday
I need to write today even though I have been neglecting Older Eyes – Bud’s Blog for over a month. I need to write something to make me cry, to stop holding at bay the sadness I am feeling over the loss of a friend. My son’s Siamese cat, Mr.P. has been missing for three days now. He’s always been a little escape artist, waiting for an open door to slip away on an adventure in the great outdoors. In the past, he’s always returned within a day, usually slipping in through the patio door left open for his return. The hills around our home in Anaheim Hills are full of interesting creatures for a feline to stalk but they are also home to larger predators, like coyotes. With each passing hour, our hope that Mr. P will come home fades. It’s just a cat, Older Eyes, and not even yours, you may be thinking. Well, for one, he isn’t just a cat and for two, I’ve loved him as if he was mine.
Siamese cats are known for their loyalty and when my son moved back home with Mr. P, he was definitely a one man cat … and the man wasn’t me. But gradually, Mr. P became a two man cat, content to curl up with whichever of us was available. I’ll say this, even though it may sound silly. I have never had a connection with an animal like I did with Mr. P. He had a way of showing up to give me head-bumps just when I needed a little affection … and when I felt the need to lavish a little affection on someone who wanted nothing more than his ears or his belly scratched. My relationship with my son has been up and down for years, but a constant has been our mutual love of that cat. Sometimes, it was the only bridge between us. As you might expect, my son is as broken-hearted as I am. Mr. P is a bridge even when he’s not here.
So, today is not Just Any Monday. It is Rosh Hashanah, the holiest day in Jewish year. Although I have never converted to Judaism, the day holds a special place in my heart as a time for looking forward, thinking about how to make the next year a better one. After years of attending services at Temple Beth Sholom, Muri and I have spent the last few years sitting together in the park, reading from the High Holidays prayer book together. Today, I am alone in the park and my companion is my laptop. A nice breeze is making the park bearable for the first time in weeks and I can feel autumn in the air, not just in the season but in our lives. Change is afoot. Every week we hear of another friend dealing with one of the many issues old age has to offer. Our grandchildren have moved away to Salt Lake City and tomorrow, we drive to Arizona to put the Little Houses we love up for sale … Arizona’s no place for us without grandkids there.
So, how the hell do I look forward the Jewish year 5776 from this dark little place in which I find myself. Well, I sit here and cry a little bit then I look around at the many gifts I have in this life that I still think of as Charmed. I try to accept life as it is and remember how many times that there is hope lying on the other side of acceptance. I think about the people God has placed in my life over the years, those who are only memories and those who are still along on this ride called life. Yes, and, I think about the pets, those little furry angels. I am not in the mood for Rosh Hashanah but here it is anyway. The damnedest thing is that while I fear that Mr. P is gone, I haven’t given up on his return. I wouldn’t be astonished to see him stroll in through that patio door we’re still leaving ajar. I see little miracles happen all the time, though I haven’t a clue how God chooses when and for whom. And while I know age brings changes, not all of them good by any means, I wouldn’t be astonished if this year is a good one either. To a great degree, that will depend on how I look at it and how much I accept what it turns out to be. Perhaps that’s the lesson of the New Year.