Every day a Memorial Day

Every day a Memorial Day

Gasp at fireworks. Squiggle veggie dogs with catsup. Frolic through the sprinkler. Give thanks.

Just remember: at Tabby’s Place, every day is Memorial Day.


Remembering is love’s native language. We remember where the cats would be if not for Tabby’s Place, the sanctuary for “cats from hopeless situations.”

But there is a greater question: who would we be without them?

Who would we be if we never knew Durin? He coaxed us into his solarium. He showed us where to find sun when the clouds won’t break. He occupied our laps and untangled the crosshairs of despair. He bore our weight, letting us wet his fur with our tears. He was infected with FIV, FeLV, and patience. He knew there are no answers to “sad,” so he became an answer. We wanted more time. He left us peace that prevails every time we picture his face.


Who would we be if we never loved Lynette? We dressed her in frocks, but she clothed us in second childhood. The ancient tortoiseshell cracked our hearts back open, the way hearts belong. She reminded us to delight in each other. She lived on a Formica table in the Lounge, and she made it an outpost of Eden. She accepted diabetes as just another quest. She was geriatric technicolor and ageless adoration. We wanted her to live forever. She left a wardrobe of warmth.


Who would we be if we never held Honey? Sometimes she made marmalade muffins in our laps, and sometimes she wriggled like a glow worm. She was Jonathan’s deputy and nobody’s fool. Honey was proud to be the most challenging cat to medicate at Tabby’s Place. Honey was proud to remind you that you were easy to love, exactly as you were. Her eyes were round as hazelnuts and brave enough to receive your gaze. We wanted her to reign as queen over all years. She left sweetness salted with strength.

Who would we be if we had not walked arm in arm with Arthur? He dressed in dignity, as though we were the gala worth waiting for. He raised his voice and raised our standards. His cloudy eyes were always laughing. He was unsteady in our laps because his affection caused seismic activity. Arthur attended every meal as though it were the last and best. We wanted to remind him that he was the best until the end of time. He left us a challenge to chase beginnings into old age.


Who would we be with no memory of Photini? Some celestial sewing club crafted her from excess colors and light. She defied diagnoses and gravity. Photini was living proof of a feline sense of humor, dozing in the lap of a plastic skeleton. She forgave our species. Photini outlived expectations and outshone the young and strong. She was as wry as her winking ear and not ashamed to love you all the way to your bones. We wanted to stand in her light for life. She left us her promise that love outlasts shadows.

Who would we be if we’d never belonged to Boom? He was kitten-sized and twenty stories tall. Boom imploded gloom by the sheer force of his ego. He was all three Beastie Boys and a soot-faced saint. The gravity-defying hooligan doted on everyone. His humor hand-caulked cracked and crusted hearts. Boom was never entirely healthy and never remotely resentful. We wanted him to blast death to smithereens. He left us an order never to stop laughing.


Who would we be if we’d never been Josied? The girl with the biggest eyes was a verb on legs, tireless tenderness on a mission of comfort. Josie accepted every offer to go nose-to-nose. If you leaned in close, she never turned you down. She silenced her body’s bellowing so she could listen to you. She let loss make her larger. We wanted to grow with her until earth’s last day. She left us with no doubt that we were first in her heart.

Roxy. Samantha. Unicorn. Tigger. Snowcap. Penelope. Millie. Captain Crunch & Cheerio.

I have scarcely begun. I have named a fraction of the friends we have lost since the calendar last read “Memorial Day.” They are members of our family. Empty chairs and empty donut beds make us tremble.


But to remember is to repair. They are here again, every time we are a little more like them. They are in our arms every time we squeeze each other’s hands. They gallop to the top of the cubby every time we care for someone smaller than ourselves. They return to comfort us every time we feel smaller than ourselves.

Every day is Memorial Day at Tabby’s Place. Every day is spangled with memory and striped with gratitude. We remember when we felt loved, and we want that power to take over the world. Perhaps we also remember times we did not feel loved, and we want to make sure no one has to feel that way.


The longer we love, the more friends we will gain, lose, and keep forever. Every day is Memorial Day, and every hero cat is here still. May we bear their light.

1 thought on “Every day a Memorial Day

  1. I always remember it is better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all. Cats – friend and family beloveds – do that to us. Fill us with huge waves of emotions – but how empty we would be without them. It is better to love.

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