I intended this to be a happy-clappy post about adopted Tabby’s Place veterans.
I anticipated making cracks about Doritos-flavored Mountain Dew and Oreo Churros.
But once again, we’re betwixt and between the quick and the dead. Grizzled, glorious Sylvia has left this earth.
As Tabby’s Place veterans go, perhaps none survived more insurmountable odds than Sylvia.
When she came to us in January 2011, Sylvia’s legs were cold, her heart was weak, and her prognosis was “guarded to poor.” She had thrown a blood clot, a saddle thrombus, one of those Things That Cats Don’t Survive.
Yet she did.
In November 2011, Sylvia’s heart lurched into full-stop congestive heart failure. Our best hope was that she could “come home for awhile.” That while might be a few months, if we were blessed and lucky and sitting under a perfect star. Sylvia did not seem physically capable of years.
Yet she was.
Numberless times through those years, cardiologists and ultrastenographers and Exceedingly Smart Folk would remark that Sylvia’s condition was “incompatible with life.” Still, she lived. With each year, in fact, Sylvia became more fully alive. From untouchable to love-muffin, she made the journey of a jillion small choices to trust.
As Sylvia’s beloved correspondent J.M. put it in his final update to Syl’s sponsors, Sylvia lived up to the brim, right up to her last full day:
“Sunday afternoon, November 9, I visited Tabby’s Place and spent some good Quality Time in AR3 with Sylvia. As ever, she got up from her comfortable bed to welcome her visitor and accept petting and murmured words of affection with her customary grace. Her purring was deep and strong and continued even after she returned to her bed.
“Sylvia was as satisfied, as content as she was on any day in her life, and I’m thankful to have been there to witness it.”
We’re thankful you were there to love her with all your gentle might, J.M.
Sylvia’s skirmishes on this earth have ended. Yet I have it on good authority that our sable soldier’s Captain has ultimately won the war. With our weak, earthly eyes, it may look like Sylvia’s life is over.
Yet she lives. And she will live again — forever.
As this is Veteran’s Day, not Memorial Day, I’d be remiss not to also celebrate the vets still among us. Tiptoe among the adopted tulips, kittens:
Veteran’s Day and every day, the veil between the living and the dead is thinner than fog. You can feel it sometimes, when you step out of a church into the cemetery, or when the first smoky cold bite of winter hits your lungs. We are not parted forever. There is a world without end.
And the mother of all victories is already won.
Until the last skirmish with death is over, we wait, and we grieve, and we fight like hell for the living. But one day, Sylvia and Beatrice and Webster and all our old soldiers, we shall see you again.
And we will all live.