Editor’s note: When the news about Walter crashed like a wave of tears, I was without words and without the strength to do true justice to one of the truest souls we’ve ever known.
Miraculously, words arrived courtesy of one of my favorite living writers, Kitty Le Fey. No one could have said it all better. No one could have loved him better. Kitty, thank you for letting your heart break open into a tribute worthy of our Walter. He adored you. So do we. XO, AH
“Sad” is a pale, abysmally insufficient word to describe feelings of woeful loss, of vast, indescribable heartache, of mourning and of misery and of pathos.
Bereft and bewildered. Better words. Still not enough…too much of missing so much of the point, of the feelings.
Harsh reality is still setting in and, in at least one case, “My Sweet Lord” by George Harrison is on replay in the brain, but edited to “My Sweet Love,” and it’s all about a cat, a cat we lost. It’s about our Walter.
When one loses a Walter, it hits hard.
Walter hit hard…and that boy hit us all SLAM right in our collective heart.
Our cherished swirler in cat fur, whirlpool with whiskers, wonder of a lazy, “not gonna lift my head one fraction of an inch higher than absolutely necessary to eat that food” has bowed out. Who will sneak through doors now that the cat-burglar expert in stealing hearts has broken ours?
The Lobby is an emptier space.
Walter has left the building.
This wasn’t just for a stroll. Though, our Walter loved to stroll, and he adored his adoring visitors.
Our Walter has left Tabby’s Place behind, after all this time. After all his careful supervision of cleanings and feedings and enrichments. Walter is passing the baton, perhaps to Cotton, possibly to Stanley. They have tough toe beans to emulate.
Our Walter was legendary: more epic than Milton, more royal than Elvis, more poetic than Wordsworth, Coleridge, Eliot, Browning (both Brownings!), and every other poet ever — all the way back to Sappho and Solomon — combined. And, now, with reports of his ever-so-recently having been blissful in receiving the well-deserved attentions of the strolling crew, our Walter has glided across the rainbow bridge.
No more a watcher outside the laundry room door. No more a sneaker into the bathroom. No more a liquid cat lying half in a cat bed, half on the floor. No more “you are not relieved of your requirement to continue to heap praise and cuddles upon me until I tire of your attention and release you from your duties.” Walter was very specific about that last, and very clear in expressing that specificity. We even had a word for the times when Walter demanded attention and reprimanded when it wasn’t provided quickly or fully enough.
Simply put, and to a person, we were Waltered. Now we’re not. Except, we never can be anything except Waltered, ever again.
That smashing tuxedo stormed into Tabby’s Place, took over the lobby (sorry, Olive), and worked his unique magic on us all. And now we are left to remember, cherish, and recognize that we have been Waltered.
That can never be undone.