Smiling Back

Smiling Back

Despite the title of this post (more on that later), I have not been this heartbroken for some time.  One of my best friends, Tashi, has left this world.

Tashi was one of the most memorable beings it has been my honor to know.  He brought more joy, laughter and amazement to Tabby’s Place, and my life, than any other being I have known.

Tashi came to us in 2008 from Ohio as a paraplegic kitten.  He was our second paraplegic and we were, understandably, concerned about his future quality of life.  Hah.

After some initial medical scares, the Tash-man proceeded to sh0w us what life was all about.  He was a perpetual kitten and was constantly getting into trouble. Turn your back on him for five seconds and he would overturn your trashcan looking for goodies.  He could turn any object into a toy.  When he decided a cardboard box was an evil foe, there was no quarter shown.  He would demolish the box from the inside with a ferocity worthy of Vercingetorix.

Tashi never tired of playing with the other cats.  Unfortunately, they quickly grew weary of his shenanigans.  Fortunately, there were often kittens around and they were just perfect for him.

Uncle Tashi with the Kids
Uncle Tashi with the Kids

Eating Styrofoam, pulling down wet food from chairs, playing with a baby goat, these were all part of Tashi’s insatiable joy for life.

To our joy and amazement, Tashi was adopted into a wonderful home in 2010. We were in frequent contact with his new family and received reports and photos show that he was thriving.

On the morning of January 17, 2014 Tashi threw a blood clot that put him into virtually total paralysis.  He was at the vet’s within 10 minutes, but there was nothing to do and he was starting to have difficulty breathing.  His family helped Tashi with his last task here on earth.

How do we deal with death?  It’s a question I have been struggling with since starting Tabby’s Place in 1999.  I don’t have an answer, but I get a solace of some kind from the quote below (which explains the title of this post):

“Death smiles at us all, all a man can do is smile back.”

― Marcus Aurelius, Meditations


Death seems to be a mystery beyond our grasp as humans. Since it is coming for us all, I’m thinking it’s “meant to be” that way. If I get to see Tashi and the other beings I’ve loved, there’s no reason to fear.
Rest in peace, Tash. I hope to be with you again.

15 thoughts on “Smiling Back

  1. Oh Tash…You were the very first cat I met at Tabby’s Place when I walked in the door back in 2008. You had recently arrived and were just a little guy. You were in a large crate in the lobby and when I walked in the front door, you reached out your little paws to me and invited me over to play. I fell in love with you from that moment. I received many play invitations from you over the years to come, and took every opportunity. When my beloved cat passed away, you were the cat I sought out that very afternoon to comfort me. Instead of wrestling with me as you usually did, you allowed me to hug you and cry into your fur. You knew, you wise soul, that I needed something more from you that day. I was overjoyed when you were adopted and was so happy that you were in such loving hands. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for being a small part of my life. Your light has made the world a better place. Chase those butterflies sweet Tashi. I will always love you.

  2. To say that I am sad is just not sufficient. I am so totally heartbroken over the news of Tashi’s journey to the Rainbow Bridge. When I first read of his arrival at Tabby’s, I immediatley emailed Angela to tell her I wanted to be one of Tashi’s sponsors. I was so pleased when Angela told me that I was Tashi’s very FIRST sponsor; something that always left me with such a wonderful, happy feeling. We saw Tashi several times before he was adopted and always loved reading about his adventures in his new home.
    Run free and healthy dear Tashi. Say Hi to our other sponsored kitties Corey and Patches.

  3. Jonathan, you say:

    “Tashi was one of the most memorable beings it has been my honor to know.”

    I believe those feelings were mutual. He adored you.
    And I believe there is, indeed, nothing to fear.
    Tash, we will see you again. You have too much left to teach us, and too many more peals of laughter to unleash, for it to be otherwise.

  4. Uncle Tashi my heart is broken today!

    I don’t know how to say it other than I loved you more than you could ever know! You took a little bobbly kitten and taught me about being a brave big boy! You played with me, yelled at me when I needed it, and my world was better because of you!

    You taught me that it’s OK to be different, that there’s always someone to love me and to be my friend. Thank you Uncle Tashi for sharing your life, your toys and yep even your goat with me! Thank your for being you!

    I’ll love you furrever and always!

  5. My heart is so heavy with sadness for Tashi’s loving family. My mom still has the picture that Angela sent me of precious Tashi sleeping all curled up with a blanket. It is on the front of our fridge. You will always be in my heart as a brave little kitten.

  6. I LOVED my brief time as a sponsor of Tashi … and was happy he found such a nice home, but missed the posts on his lively antics. My heart aches for all of you, and tears flow … but, one day I expect to see him in that place where there are no more tears. When one of my beloved cats died I was told that cats won’t be in Heaven. My pastor stood nearby and said, “Nonsense. Why should God’s marvelous creations be shut out? No, the question is not, “Will cats be in Heaven? but, rather, Will you?” Soon after, I had a dream that I had entered the most beautiful place imaginable. Cats were playing like kittens and they had no fear. As I stood there, all of my past cats ran up to me — glowing, as it were. They were so perfected, and yet, so the same. I just wanted to stay there forever. Tashi now is there … and that’s enough to make one eager to go. But, first we have work to do … and lots more Tashi’s to help. You guys, at Tabby’s Place have a golden calling! Hugs all around!

  7. There have been so many tears today for this handsome brown boy who gathered hearts around the globe in his perfect little paws….I vividly remember the first time I met Tash and my heart broke then because I thought that he certainly could not have any kind of quality life, but boy, did I have a lot to learn! I kept coming back to Tabby’s Place and he never failed to amaze me with his indomitable spirit and his endless search for the ultimate feline thrill. Tashi knew what life was about and he dove in and embraced it all! His infectious vitality and zest for the chase crept into my soul and he will forever be a part of me. I am most grateful to have known him as I did…The last time I saw Tash, I was sitting on the Community room floor and he pulled his whole body into my lap and started purring which he had never done before. He stayed there for 10 long minutes while I tried and failed to take photos of him. This memory along with the photos I have are such a gift to me…To all who love Tash (especially Jonathan and Tashi’s Forever Family), I sent comfort, prayers and healing energy and I am deeply sorry for your loss. Try to keep in mind that we got to know him and we are so lucky! What a treasure! What a cat! He lives on in us…..I love you, Tashi!

  8. If cats aren’t in Heaven, then there is no Heaven. “Why should God’s marvelous creations be shut out?” — in deed, Greta. Tashi, there are no words. Jonathan, and everyone who loved this boy as I did (and we all did) – you are in my heart and prayers. Tashi’s human family must be devastated but I hope they remember that earth has no sorrow that Heaven cannot heal.

    Rest in peace, sweet boy, and run with the angels.

  9. My heart dropped into my feet when I read the first paragraph of Jonathan’s post. Tashi was the cat who introduced me to the miracle that is Tabby’s Place. I sponsored him and was joyful when he found a forever home. I have a picture of him on my “Wall of Cats” and will look at him wistfully and lovingly every time I sit at my desk. Rest in peace, and sprinkle the universe with your spirit, Tashi.

  10. My most sincere condolences to his family and to Tabby’s Place. Such sad news.
    Like a comet, bright in the sky. Shedding love and light wherever he flew. Gone all too soon. But the memory of his brightness and wonder will live in our hearts forever.
    I was new to the miracle that was the Tashi story, but this is the best of what Tabby’s Place does – gave this brave little kitty a life filled with love that touched thousands of people. I love you, Tashi.

  11. This is so sad! I’m so sorry to all who’s hearts Tashi touched. From the people in Ohio who found him, to all the staff and volunteers at Tabby’s Place and to his forever family, my deepest condolences. His entire life he knew love, and for that I’m thankful and I know we’ll meet him again. If it wasn’t for Tashi, I wouldn’t have found Tabby’s Place. I love you Tashi and you will be deeply missed!

  12. Sweet Tashi,
    May you bounce, chatter and play in Heaven, disability free. I’m sorry that I didn’t get to meet you here but now know how many lives and souls you have touched, now mine. Please look down and comfort all who loved you so much. I believe they’ll see but grieving is painful after losing such an inspirational life. Your soul, however, will be with many forever.

  13. An Open Letter To Tashi’s Loving Family:

    My heartfelt and sincere condolences to all of you. My heart breaks for the pain you must be feeling right now and I am sending you my love and prayers on the loss of your dear boy. I pray that the hole he has left in your lives quickly fills with only the sweetest memories and comforts you. I sit here with tears – but tears tempered with joy: that in Tashi’s beautiful life he truly knew what it was like to have a forever home and the unconditional love of his own family.

    Thank you for seeing Tashi’s life as he saw it – an adventure. He clearly never acted in a way that indicated he thought of himself as “different or “disabled” – in fact, to the absolute contrary! Tashi was blessed to come to Tabby’s Place – and then to find YOU: an extraordinary family who didn’t see him that way either but only for what he was: magnificent in so many ways.

    On the day you came to take Tashi home, I was watching with tears of joy from Suite A as you packed him and Gabby up for their trip home. It is important you know that you did not just give astounding happiness to two sweet little cats – but to the legion of people whose faith was, at that moment, silently renewed (and some not so silently!) in humankind.

    God bless all of you –

  14. Oh my we are all a bit sadder this day hearing that brave, noble and fun loving Tashi has passed. You can say it is always the good who go first but you can also say they are first to greet that sweet reward that must be at the end of our long journey.
    May we meet again my friend! I cannot wait to see how much excitement you can be with all four fully operational. How we will laugh
    Dad and Timmy T

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