Every summer, Tabby’s Place holds a memorial in Cherny’s Garden. The purpose is to celebrate the cats that have crossed the rainbow bridge during the previous 12 months. It is also a time for staff and volunteers to reminisce and catch up with each other. At each memorial, ashes are strewn and rose petals are flung to mark the occasion tenderly and earnestly..
At this year’s memorial, Jonathan, the one who built this ark, spoke of unlikelihoods and improbabilities. Quoting both Benjamin Franklin and the Buddha, Jonathan expressed thoughts on the unlikelihood of any individual cat ever coming into being and the improbability of any one of us making any of the many decisions that led us to that moment in that place. These ruminations brought to mind the phrase, “All roads lead to Rome.”
Despite competing and complementary unlikelihoods, it might seem that, no matter what choices we made, our paths would have inevitably led us to Tabby’s Place. In the case of one volunteer in particular, a delay in arrival at the memorial due to rescuing a cat in need seemed not only inevitable, but also right and proper in every way. For this volunteer, this exact reason for not hearing a beloved cat’s name spoken among the remembered was exactly the best way to honor her cherished feline friend.
Karma is, after all, the Tao of Tabby’s Place. Cosmic alignments following actions have brought a constellation of glowing beings together to do so much more than simply shelter and feed cats. It is gratifying to overhear new visitors – often long term supporters – exclaim the sanctuary’s magnificence. They tell of their very excellent shelters and how very different Tabby’s Place is from those. They leave hopeful and reaffirmed in purpose and reconnected with this sprawling community.
It is an honor and a delight to be part of such a community and this amazing organization, to help bring to fruition the vision and dreams that are changing the way cats are assessed for continued care and reimagining their potential for futures in forever homes or at Tabby’s Place. In changing how we view FeLV+ cats, cats with astonishing injuries, cats in otherwise hopeless situations and in learning how to be part of a grand, guiding hope for them, we learn much about our responsibilities to each other. By being part of the continuation and expansion of Tabby’s Place, we exemplify Pandora’s greatest gift.
Involvement with Tabby’s Place is a constant reminder that with every step we take, there is always hope. Whatever obstacles may lie in our paths, there is always hope. Whether we follow well-trodden trails or drive over disused, dirt lanes, there is always hope. Even on the road to a memorial, there is always hope.
There is always hope for a volunteer to find healing through helping.
There is always hope for a cat whose situation seemed hopeless.
There is always hope for all who grieve that their hearts will be filled with new loves that will glorify and celebrate past loves, ease losses, and create new bonds.
Whoever said, “All roads lead to Rome,” might have been correct at the time, or maybe even still, in some way. But, their vision was more limited than ours. We of, by, and for Tabby’s Place understand that for all beings at all times, all roads always lead to hope. There is always hope for every individual. There is always hope for a brilliant future.
Ever and always, there is a hope for healing, for kindness, for happiness, and for chance to bring us down just the right road, so that we find ourselves standing in a beautiful garden, on just the right day, at just the right time, where we can come together somberly and sweetly. We hold each other, and we are held. We celebrate, even though we ache. We love, even though we grieve. We cast rose petals into the wind, and we know that the blooms represent the stars that glitter more greatly for being seen and for us seeing each other.
Perhaps this is a bit long-winded.
Perhaps this is a bit too poignant.
Nevertheless, my hope is that each of you recognizes that every one of us at this place and in this time are where we can recognize the results of our united efforts. All of our roads, paved with all of our hopes and dreams and goals and daring and joy, have brought us together.
All of our roads have led us to Tabby’s Place.
Author’s Note: Each of the cats pictured was honored at the 2023 memorial and is proof that love endures even after a road leads across the rainbow bridge