Forever Loved: Beckett

Forever Loved: Beckett

They said he would not live.

They said he could not see.

They say loss is softer when you are “prepared.”

They say a lot of things, but Beckett had selective hearing.

He heard the wise worrying over his heart. He heard the ultrasound bleep its bloopers. He heard the same words we all did — “not compatible with life.”

He took that music and wrote new lyrics. Like Weird Al in a weary butterscotch body, Beckett made humor his meal ticket.

So they said his days were melting away? He would stretch them like cheese and share his sandwich. They said “hospice,” but he heard “hopscotch.” They spoke in hushed tones, but he rang the bells of freedom.

When you have no reasonable hope of survival, you can live without expectations. When your eyes are cloudy and your hourglass is rushing, you can save your hours for what matters. When everyone is holding their breath for “goodbye,” you’re the one who gets to blow out the candles and the dandelion wishes.

When Beckett came to us from a feral colony in September 2022, he was a cardiac catastrophe. The hour was late. The days were short. Our agenda was obvious: lavish him with love in his final days. Light his twilight with kisses. Try not to wet his pumpkin head with tears.

Beckett did not hear any of this.

Beckett heard someone remark that he was the color of a circus peanut, and he determined life to be sweet.

Our vet team’s meticulous protocol bought days, then weeks. Then it became clear that we were witnessing something that could not be bought.

Beckett lived, and lived, and lived, and lived.

And I tell you: Beckett laughed, and laughed, and laughed, and laughed.

He laughed at the kingdom he was given, an entire Community Room of cats and people and fishy nuggets shaped like stars. He kept mostly to his large, open crate, but he made it a castle and a cathedral and a counseling office.

Beckett heard the secrets of a hundred humans, volunteers and staff and visitors. They say it’s the beautiful cats who steal hearts, and loudmouthed acrobats who ascend the heights.

But they have never visited Tabby’s Place, where a pale old man lived in full color. I cannot count the number of people who confessed, “Beckett is my favorite.”

Even if I could, Beckett did not hear numbers. Beckett heard hearts, leaning in close enough to be a friend. Beckett heard that this particular herd of humans needed him a longer than his body said was allowed. Beckett won those negotiations.

Beckett won, and won, and won, and won, and our jackpot shared his riches. His golden heart touched friends across continents. Our social media posts about the lively and the lovely were scarcely as popular as photos of Beckett. The “dying” cat lived to be an international media mogul.

He lived to goose Gulliver, eons his junior. He lived to nestle, wafting a peace that could be caught. He lived to look us in the eyes and blink sweet sonnets, even though they said he could not see.

Beckett never heard of self-pity. Beckett made sure everyone heard that he loved them. Beckett completed his mission.

Thirteen months after his “terminal” diagnosis, Beckett lay down his pumpkin head one last time on Halloween. He rose on All Saints’ Day with his heart healed and whole.

We are all holding each other tightly today. Our hearts are broken beyond repair.

Beckett would plead: if you only ever heard one thing I said, let it be this: you can live with a broken heart. You can live, and live, and live, and live. Your broken heart can be exactly what makes you gentle, and generous, and good. I will be close to you, forever.

We hear you, beloved boy. May our hearts always beat in time with yours.

The following are a few lines from Beckett’s sonnet, written on the hearts of his friends. If you’ve loved him, too, he hears your verses, and he soars:

Beckett was a kind and gentle soul and I loved that about him. Even in the face of significant health challenges, he never asked for anything. He found solace and safety inside his (opened) crate it was always endearing to find him nestled inside. Beckett’s presence was pure magic, and his absence leaves an irreplaceable void. He will forever hold a special place in my heart.” – Sarah, Board Member

“I loved the way he would, with a crooked head, come out of his crate hoping I had food when I walked into the room, then put his head back down and go back to his crate pouting.” – Ginny, Staff

“I loved that, when I would look into the room through the window, he would perk up and wait for the door to open, even though everyone said that he couldn’t see.” – Tiff, Staff

“In his way, Beckett was a force of nature despite his fragility. With cats, he was protective of his favorite spots and his food and defended his boundaries (Marvin on Sunday!!), albeit sometimes with assistance (Eartha!). With people, he was always happy to receive attention and skritches. Sweet boy! We were lucky to have a chance to love him and know that he was and is forever ours.” – Kitty LeFey, Blogger & Board Member

1 thought on “Forever Loved: Beckett

  1. Well Beckett fulfilled a quest – to leave behind enough love to fill all our hearts. Sometimes magic happens at Tabby’s Place, the gentle magic of being better for having known and loved Beckett.

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