Saturday, March 17, 2007


I remember the first time I saw him. He was in the company of his mother, two sisters and a brother. They were all of the same age, though none were identical. They had all been born at home in varying time intervals over a period of quite a few minutes. There was so much happening at the time, with so little help, that no one had been able to keep track of the order in which they were born. In the scheme of life, that bit of information didn't really seem to matter given what ultimately happened to the family. They never knew their father, nor he them. Their mother seemed nonplussed by that fact. They reflected her uncaring attitude and may never even have realized a father could be part of a family unit.

As time passed the family drifted apart, first one sister, the brother, and then his other sister left home. He was finally the only one remaining at home, alone with his mother. The brother and sisters never again had contact with him, or his mother, to the best of my knowledge. Any sense of loss the son and his mother might have felt was not revealed. They proceeded with their usual activities. Then, one day, inexplicably, his mother left -- just disappeared. He showed no signs of even noting her departure. He went about his business, was quite independent, though he clearly welcomed being given the opportunity to stay with us and have us provide his meals.

Considerably later, when any sorrow he might have felt had by then lessened, the unthinkable happened -- his mother suddenly reappeared but she had a new family of little ones in tow. They were without the company of a father, nor did he ever come around to visit them either. As before, the family members showed no discernible awareness or distressed feelings with this apparent abandonment by their father, or, I thought, perhaps the mother had just run off. I finally concluded that they might never ever have had any contact with their Dad and thought about what they all were missing.

Distressingly to me, the mother displayed less than warm loving feelings toward her older son. She even kept him some distance from the new young family, but I thought in time they might begin to reconcile and integrate as the new little ones grew older. But that was not to be.

In the early morning hours one day, sudden traumatic annihilating disaster descended on the new family and the mother's life ceased forever when she was attacked outdoors in a most brutal manner. The older son was inside the house at the time, and neither he nor we knew what had occurred until some hours later. Not only did his mother not survive, neither did any of his younger brothers and sisters for very long after her death. Again, his feelings about this tragic outrage were hidden from me and everyone, but then there had been a lengthy estrangement between the two of them. He had long since been completely enclosed in the arms of our family, so our caring atmosphere may have protected him from any pain he might otherwise have felt with this final, clearly permanent loss, of his mother, along with any semblance of family he ever knew.

Our family openly, reassuringly and lovingly offered him our continued caring. We provided him a home, food, medical care, embracing him as one of our own. He returned our affection in a multitude of small actions and gestures. Of course, there was that time when he soiled the guest room bed pillow, but we later learned he had a medical problem that caused him to be unable to avoid this accident. We felt badly that we had been angry with him and had behaved so poorly toward him at the time. In retrospect, I realize he probably had difficulty understanding our change in attitude toward him then. But once we knew the nature of his problem, were able to get him treatment, we did our best to redeem ourselves in his eyes.

His life was of lengthy duration, rich in experience as he travelled across the country with us, living for a time in a desert climate, then later to the west coast. Our lives were enriched for his having been a part of our family. Our actions toward him through his life's years at least partially accounted for the fact that he thrived as he did, gave so much pleasure to our family, I believe. His mere presence, demonstrated that empowering love which flowed as revitalizing unseen energy between us, each time we stroked his furry body and he gently rubbed responsively against us in tandem with a purr which seemed to motorize his movements. When his health deteriorated beyond his ability to recover we all cried, but each of us was bound together by that invisible ray of energized memory that is the power of love.


  1. Oh joared,
    I wept reading this. Moved me to the core. What a beautifully written story about a beautiful dear soul.

  2. This is beautiful. At first, I thought you were speaking of humans, but then the light dawned. You should publish this!

  3. I knew from the first couple of lines exactly who you were talking about. It's hard to believe that after all these years I was moved to tears by the memories of that special member of our family.

  4. What a wonderful celebration of the mutual love between us and those who own us. Very moving. Took me back to a couple of occasions when my little furry companions have moved on...

  5. This is really a well-written piece. I thought at first it was a real person. Then I thought: aha, a story about Meercat Manor!!!

    It made me miss Hallie, our golden retriever who died last fall. She couldn't make the move to NYC and she stayed with my sister-in-law.

    We still have to spread her ashes. I just can't organize it. Yet.

  6. This was so touching Joared. A beautiful piece about a true love of your life.

  7. What a beautiful story! My wife and I had similar emotional attachments to a wire-haired dachshund and later to twin West Highland terriers, each of whom became a beloved member of our family.

  8. Very sensitive writing. It reminded me of Shadow, my dear friend's black lab. He had stomach cancer and the vet who operated on him said he had about 9 months of "hug" time. And that's the way it turned out. When she asked me to go with her to the vet to say good bye. I said 'yes' only with great reluctance but I'm glad I went because I too had to say good bye to this wonderful animal who would literally jump up on all fours when I walked in the room. It took 10 days for her to pick up a black lab terrier with great intelligence and a overly developed will power too. I named him "Whisker" because he's got dark brown whiskers.

    Thanks for writing this piece because it brought back such good feelings of the way Shadow loved me.

  9. What a beautiful story!! Your words were very moving and told "The Power of Love" so well.

    That would be a great piece for a magazine like "The Readers Digest."

  10. Thanks to all of you for sharing your own feelings and experiences with our furry friends. I've had dogs, too, so know only too well how attached we become to them as well as this cat about which I wrote. How very kind of those of you who suggested I should think about publishing it, but hard for me to think of such a possibility beyond my blog.