Thursday, July 9, 2009

A Letter of Explanation

Dear Neighbors One Street Up,

About eight years ago, pregnant with D7 and trying to placate J11 -- who was J3 at the time, I decided to take J3 and the dog to the park.  It was about 4:00 p.m. and I was trying to get through that late afternoon/pre-dinner period that is sometimes a challenge with toddlers.  

The park is about three blocks from our house and to get to it requires crossing a very busy, two lane road.  Quite often our cat Tom would come with us to the park.  He loved going on walks with us and I loved how he would just hang out at the park and then follow us back home.   I would pick him up and carry him across the busy street.  Sometimes he would just run across.

I remember that day getting about half way to the park, seeing Tom, and thinking I should turn around because it was getting late and traffic was picking up.  But J3 was cranky and I was tired and just wanted to sit down for awhile.

We made it the park, the four of us -- J3, me, the dog, Tom.  I'm sure we had our usual good time at the park, I don't remember.   It was almost dinner time when we started home and reached the main road we had to cross.

I had a dog on a leash and a three year-old.  I picked J3 up, turned around to look for Tom, wanted to pick him up to.  But was afraid to try and cross the street seven months pregnant, holding a toddler in one arm and the dog leash and a cat with the other arm/hand.  Besides he always made it.

Not that day.  We waited for a gap in the traffic and started across.  But Tom hesitated. I made it to the other side, turned to watch for Tom.  Turned in time to see him start running and then get smashed by a car.  It was horrible.  Heart-wrenching.  I remember he kind of flew up in the air, jumped, ran across the street to where we had started.

Of course I ran back over, with dog and child, all pregnant.  I remember J3 laughing, because Tom had looked so funny to him, hopping and flailing.

The woman driving the car pulled over and her friend explained she had just lost a cat a few weeks ago.  They offered to stay with him (he was still breathing) while I ran home and got the car.   It seemed to take forever to manage to get back home.  The toddler, the dog.

By the time we got back Tom was dead.  Everyone was crying (except J3-who didn't understand at all).  I carefully put Tom in the car and brought him home.  I laid him out next to the house and waited for J to come home and bury him.

Tom was one of those pets that really gets to you.  One of the special ones.  He was a stray who followed me home while I was on a walk when we lived in Maryland.  It was three days after a horrible blizzard and he was very sick.  We saved his life, taking him in.

And then I took his life with my carelessness and selfishness.  I did.  This is one of those times in life where I can't really make any excuses, except that I was stupid.  I knew there would be lots of cars.  I knew I was taking a chance.  I killed Tom and it still haunts me. I still miss him.

Now we have Daisy.  Sweet Ms. Daisy.  Another stray.  Just came to the house, skinny.  Took us in, loves my boys.  She is our cat.  Another one of the special ones.   The boys adore her and love on her and can't get enough of her.

She also likes to walk with us.

So.  Dear neighbors who live one street up, a street that is only two blocks long, but very very quiet.  That is why on many mornings when I go out for a walk, I spend 30 minutes walking up and down your street, back and forth, with a gray and white cat following and calling out to me.     

13 comments:

Louise said...

I'm crying, too. But I'm glad you have another cat that walks with you.

The Green Stone Woman said...

My cat sometimes follows me too when I walk the dog. Luckily, we have no busy streets to cross at all and she is very safe. Thank goodness for that. You were in a very tough spot and did the best you could. Thank you for this story. It could happen to all of us. Forgive yourself and enjoy your walks with your new cat.

Mary Alice said...

Ahhh. This made me cry.

Vodka Mom said...

aww. that was something else.....

Cookie said...

So sweet. I'm not a cat person, but I know what it's like to lose a pet.

Thanks for stopping by my blog :)

Kate Coveny Hood said...

Oh - that's so sad and must have been so traumatic for you! I'm glad that you have another cat to love and take for walks.

Auds at Barking Mad said...

My eyes are still welled with tears. I need to go hug my cats and try not to miss Casey so much. Whilst we didn't lose him, and he's happier in his new home, I still miss him. So very much.

Anna See said...

Wow. That must have been so hard for you. We all make mistakes. You obviously had A LOT going on that day.

I like the idea of your walking back and forth with your new kitty.

La'Tonya Richardson said...

Awww. That was so sweet! You sound a little nostalgic. Feels good to remember.

Leanne said...

Oh Madge. I'm so sorry. I had to have our cat put to sleep a year ago and it still haunts me. I can't even imagine what this was like. Hugs and try and fogive yourself 'kay? Mistakes make us human.

phd in yogurtry said...

I think Tom has returned : )

Elisa said...

That's so sad! I'm not much of a cat person myself, but I know that losing a beloved pet is heart-wrenching. I feel for you. And I'm happy for you, for having found another special pet to call a member of your family.

JCK said...

My heart broke with this story about Tom. I'm not sure I agree that you killed him. But, I will agree that he was very special. Thank you for sharing the story.