You’d think that, if there was such a thing as a “good death” or an “easy goodbye,” we’d have found it at Tabby’s Place by now. But there’s not – death is a thief every single time. Losing kittens is wrong. Losing elderly cats is wrong. Sudden loss wrecks us. A slow fade breaks us.
And losing one of our grandest grandes dames, Lilac, has hit us all – hard.
And so it is especially amazing that Sandi, one of Lilac’s deepest soulmates, should be willing to write through the pain to honor our girl. A longtime Tabby’s Place volunteer, Sandi connected with Lilac on a level too deep for words, yet known by all who have loved and been loved in return by a cat. My utmost thanks to Sandi for celebrating the love of Lilac here for us all:
“I remember the Sunday afternoon that I opened the door to the Girls’ Room at Tabby’s Place and was greeted by a beautiful calico cat with a wise face and a very intense stare. She seemed to say, “Sit down, I want to get to know you.” So I sat on the floor, and she sat very close to me, curling her arms around mine. She proceeded to lick my hand for a very long time, and we became friends.
“I was told by her devoted next door neighbors, D and W, that Lilac had lived her life with many other cats in the loving home of two remarkable women, who had recently passed away. She and her sisters Lola and Mia, with the help of D and W, found their way to Tabby’s Place through the Guardian Angel Program.
“Lilac had a zen-like approach to life: she would always go with the flow. Even though she suffered the loss of her home and guardians, she seemed to approach her life at Tabby’s Place with excitement and optimism. She accepted all that life had to offer without dwelling on her losses. Her goal was to love and be loved. She cheerfully accepted her new name and new roommates. Eventually she had surgery for breast cancer, but this didn’t change her outlook–or our wonderful visits. She sat on my lap with her hands on mine, reassuring me that everything would be ok and then, as usual, she would lick my hand for half an hour.
“It was impossible to be with Lilac without feeling as if you were in a personal relationship with her. When she would look at you, it was clear that she was really seeing you, and focusing attentively on the interaction.
“When she began chemo, she was moved to the lobby. Again, she demonstrated her resilience to difficult circumstances. She was happy to sit with those who loved her, even when she was feeling nauseated and ill from the side effects of the therapy. And she was always patient when we tried to encourage her to eat.
“I remember the last day we spent together. Lilac had an abundance of energy and was hobbling around the lobby, seeming to say goodbye to the cats and the people who would miss her magnificent spirit. She and I sat together for a very long time. I felt as if we were two close friends who didn’t need to say much, because just being together and holding hands was enough.
“With the help of those who loved her, Lilac peacefully passed away the next day.
“Lilac was a rare and inspiring being. She loved and was loved by everyone who knew her, and she will be missed and remembered by all.”
Until we meet again, Lilac baby.
*Special thanks to Tabby’s Place volunteer and uberphotographer JM of It’s All Good for the two grown-up photos of Lilac.