Franklin, my dear

Franklin, my dear

He was loved once.

He was loved, so we can’t be angry.

We can’t imagine the train wreck of terribles that led to the decision. When we feel anger rise, all bloated and purple, we must reach for gratitude instead, gripping it like a rescue inhaler.

We can’t imagine doing what they did, which means we can’t relate to their despair. We can’t imagine undoing a braid of love, which means we are blessed with soft hearts.

We can’t imagine putting an ancient cat outside, turning our backs on his bony body, and walking.

If we could imagine any of this, we would be different people. We need gratitude  and fifty-five gallon drum of humility rather than anger.

Besides, he was loved.

We don’t know what they called him, the fudge-striped cat with the marshmallow muzzle. But at Tabby’s Place, where everyone is moved and no one walks away, he became Franklin. He would be respected like a Roosevelt or an Aretha. He would get a new deal and a new song.

He would be accepted not in spite of being old, but precisely because of it. Knotty kidneys, feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), gastrointestinal gymnastics, and catastrophic heart disease did not add up to “no.”

The arithmetic at Tabby’s Place, no matter if you are acrobatic or arthritic, always totals “yes.” More accurately, “yes!” Most accurately, “heckin’ yes! You’re here! At last!”

We can’t imagine why Franklin was so happy to see us. Our kindness is threatened when we feel threatened. But Franklin is not our kind.

Franklin is a cat, as old as the ancestors and as new as morning mercies. Franklin is an uncommon cat, unsnapped by the breaking of old promises. Franklin is an unrepeatable cat, a ragged welcome mat of a cat.

People? The same long legs that walked away? The same jumpy beans that hurt him? Welcome!

Humans? Givers and takers-away? Unsettled weather patterns with uncertain hearts? Welcome!

Days? New and terrifying and as prone to darkness as to light? Welcome!

There was only one explanation. He was loved once.

When you have been loved, you cannot be lost. Your heart may be a fortress. Your tears may fall like sequins. Your hip bones may jut out like hunger’s handlebars. You may forget the name you once heard sung.

But you cannot be disfigured with anger. You cannot be destroyed by grief.

You cannot fully furl the welcome mat.

Franklin had been loved, whether by people or by cats or by the great wide mystery that knows all names. Franklin became Suite FIV’s Forgiver-In-Chief, joy’s best ambassador. Franklin gripped his gratitude even when his kind new friends had to get up and take their laps elsewhere, even when his stomach rode the Vomit Comet, even when the lights went out and all the people left.

Franklin believes that love returns, even though his first people never did.

Franklin believes he hasn’t finished the feast, even though he’s missed several courses.

Franklin can’t imagine how he got so lucky as to be alive, which means to have hope, which means Tabby’s Place was always a possibility.

Franklin can’t be upset about his (medically) fragile heart, because Franklin lives his life with a (truly) unbroken heart.

Franklin Chez Drew, where love beats louder than an old cat’s fragile heart.

Franklin can’t imagine living outside possibility, even though someone made him live outside.

He was loved, so we can’t be angry.

He loves us, so we can forgive what we can’t imagine.

Franklin my dear, what I wouldn’t give to be more like you.

And there’s a shimmering coda to this story. Sometimes, when your long symphony has been stuck in a minor key, the final page of music is an explosion of joy.

Translation: Franklin will spend the rest of his days in the phenomenal foster care of our very own Drew.

The angel who fostered Sophia, Harley, and so many others will fill Franklin’s final days (may they be many!) with centuries of love.

Now that’s a trumpet fanfare if ever I heard one.

“Frankie” attends every bottle feeding of Drew’s littler fosters. Quoth Drew, who is wise indeed: “I truly think he’s the most wonderful boy in the world.”

1 thought on “Franklin, my dear

  1. Franklin is extraordinary – his eyes tell the story of complete love everlasting. We wish you many, many happy, love filled days, Franklin. Thank you Drew and Tabby’s Place!

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