Letter to Ada

by tamarjacobson

Dear Ada,

This morning, as I was taking out the garbage, I glanced over to the area where we buried your ashes almost two months ago. The chrysanthemum we planted over your grave has been cut back in preparation for winter, and all the leaves raked away. It looked bare and cold, especially because of gray skies and chilly winds today. I thought of how I miss chatting to you about what I am thinking or feeling. Indeed, I miss singing to you. You seemed to like that so much, especially when I whistled a tune. You would start following me about, chirping and responding so sweetly. 

I want you to know that a lot is going on in our house lately. You see, I brought home two new kittens. I think they would have driven you crazy, because you had become older and quieter and, at times, I noticed you hopped up the stairs slowly with jumps and steps that were almost painful for you. I wonder, had you already developed some kind of arthritis? The kittens are called Oscar and Mimi, and they are very busy racing around inspecting each and every item. They chase each other up and down the stairs, under couches and cupboards. Sometimes they rough and tumble play with a wild type of aggression that makes me want to weep with worry, until I realize, as Diane from the Kitty Adoption Team (KAT) told me recently, "All kittens do this."

Dear, sweet Ada, Oscar and Mimi adore playing with little toy mice, soft colored balls, and they especially love running after a laser beam, a red point of light, which I can shine on anything. Of course, over Thanksgiving weekend, Gilad and I both thought it was a bit mean to have them chasing after a light that disappears as soon as they achieve their goal of finding it, sometimes jumping high in the air to try and catch it in a corner of the wall. But, I have discovered that they get quite a bit of exercise that way, and they seem to enjoy the task. 

I miss you at night, Ada. You slept at the foot of the bed, tucking yourself into my legs and feet, adjusting to fit in whenever I rolled over, or moved in my sleep. Lately, I wake up suddenly and search out in the dark for the form of your soft, furry body. Each time I realize you are no longer with us, I feel an emptiness, a type of longing and loneliness that makes me weary to the bone. Not tired enough to fall back to sleep, but fatigued from the ache of missing you. This morning, at four o'clock, I had managed to fall back into a fitful sleep, when I heard a little warbling type of chirp. It was so soft I almost did not hear it. I looked down and noticed little Oscar staring up at me from the floor by my bedside. I smiled down at him and said quietly, so as not to wake up life partner, "Good morning, little fellow. Do you want to come up?" Oscar sprung up like a teddy bear as the "Jack" from a Jack-in-the-box, and slipped under the covers, pressing his soft body up against my side. I held him in my arms and we slept together, deeply, for about an hour or so. When I awoke again, he was playing with my fingers with his paws, while gently nibbling on my wrist. 

By that time Mimi had also come upstairs, and the three of us went down to the kitchen together, me as slowly as you used to be, Ada, and Mimi and Oscar, bounding and tumbling like the two toddler kitties they are. As they slurped up their food with an energetic hunger, delightful to behold, I stood close by sensing the pain of yearning for you subside slightly into the background. Ah, sweet Ada, my darling old friend. I will never forget you, you know that. But I want you to know that you taught me how to love openly and unashamedly, and now Oscar and Mimi will inherit all that knowledge and emotion that you helped me develop and enjoy when you were alive.

After Mimi and Oscar fell asleep in the dining room, each on a different chair, just like you used to do when I would leave for work each day, I went up to our study and checked my email messages. There was one from Diane. She had written to cheer me on as a response to my grief and despair these past two days. She sent me this poem, which, although it is written for dogs, seems extremely suitable for you, Ada … and me.


[Click on the picture to enlarge]

A year ago at Mining Nuggets: Becoming includable