Two weeks after we said goodbye, I still almost can’t believe that our Tony, our tower of love and gentleness, is gone. I am taking comfort that weeping lasts for a night, but joy comes in the morning. And, someday, we will see Tony again, healthy and whole and as sweet as ever. In the meantime, here is the farewell we bid him for his Special Needs sponsors two weeks ago.
I’m not ready to write this update.
But the truth of the matter is that I would never have been ready to write this update, or to feel this ache.
Our beloved Tony has passed away.
Last Friday, I began to worry that we were nearing the time of goodbye. Tony was quiet and had lost a pound in just three days. Everything about our gentle boy cried out that he was just so…tired. We humans were a flock of mother hens brooding over Tony, hearts aching as we did our best to determine whether he was enjoying life more than he was struggling.
I’m thankful to report that Tony enjoyed two more good, love-full days this snowy weekend. Knowing that his time with us was short, the staff and volunteers surrounded him with all the love he could stand (and that’s a LOT of love, since Tony lives for love…well, and wet food).
But, today, from the moment I laid eyes on our boy, I knew he was hurting. I will confess I didn’t want to believe this could be the end. He could rally again, my heart hoped. He could have another Tony Miracle, like when we first moved him to the lobby last summer.
But this was to be a day for a very different sort of miracle. As I looked into Tony’s wide, innocent green eyes, I knew we had to return the selfless love he’d always shown us. Loving Tony today would mean showing him the mercy he needed most. We humans would never feel ready…but Tony’s tired body and straining spirit were clearly ready to go home.
So, surrounded by people who adored him, Tony gently passed out of this world. Weeping, I stroked his chin for the last time, telling him how much I adored him, how much he was adored by every one of you.
In our tears, the staff agreed that the world has lost one of its great lights. Tony broke the mold: there is only one cat in the history of time who has been this gentle, this peaceful, this content with life through all circumstances.
I have loved many cats, but I can honestly say that Tony is the single most gentle and loving cat I have ever known. From wild-eyed kittens to Special Needs seniors to humans of every variety, everyone felt at home with Tony, and Tony loved each one exactly as they were. How could we not feel at home with such love?
Even as we weep together, I cling to a hope beyond death. I believe with all my heart that our Tony is now more alive than he has ever been. I believe that Tony is in the place where there is no more crying, no more pain, and no more diabetes or acromegaly. With a full belly and a happier-than-ever heart, Tony is blazing with life and joy. And I believe that we will see him there, and never be separated again.
In the meantime, we weep. But we also rejoice at having loved this spectacular cat. Tony’s love has made us all better, more loving people, and Tony’s legacy lives forever.
I will always love you, Tony. Until we meet again…