She Didn't Come to Bed Last Night

Photo by Daffnet Medium   (500 x 457)on Flickr.com
Photo by Daffnet Medium (500 x 457)on Flickr.com

I'm heading in. You coming?

Most nights, she’d already be waiting.

Warming the pillow. Saving my place.

Ready to curl her lithe body

to the small of my back.

Nuzzle my shoulder, my neck, my beard.

Content in our togetherness.

But not tonight.

She’s holding out, holding back.

Nineteen years together.

Faithful companion.

She’s never strayed. Nor have I.

She knows my moods as well as I know hers.

She tolerates my tirades, always forgiving.

Recently, though, more coolness, less cuddling.

Has she become more finicky?

She’s definitely more aloof.

Increasing her alone time.

Affection receding.

I seek her out.

Invading her solitude.

She shuns my touch.

Arches her back.

Turns her head to the wall.

 

She’s pulling away, pulling into herself.

I know the signs.

Her nature, always independent, becomes intolerant.

I offer. She ignores.

Tentative, I reach to caress.

She repels, retreats.

She’s making it clear.

Nineteen years is a long time.

Longer than most.

I wait. Try once more.

Okay, good night then.

No acknowledgment. Silence.

She's on her way out.

Not tonight. But inevitable.

About this time last year we lost her sister.

 I love you, Pat.

Penny, foreground (RIP July 2008)and sister Pattycat.
Penny, foreground (RIP July 2008)and sister Pattycat.

Have You Had Sibling Pets?

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Comments 42 comments

Hawkesdream profile image

Hawkesdream 7 years ago from Cornwall

so sad, the losing of a friend, is hard to come to terms with.


fortunerep profile image

fortunerep 7 years ago from North Carolina

I have always wondered why this happens. Pets must bond more than humans.

dori


Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 7 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA Author

Hi Hawkesdream. Since the "inspiration" for this hub the other night -- Patty seems to have rallied somewhat. She's got more than 9 lives, this one. But we know she's not going to be with us much longer. I think it's the anniversary of Penny's death that's got us sensitive. Thanks for the comment.


pgrundy 7 years ago

I'm glad she's feeling a bit better. I love my cat. He always knows when I'm down and shows up without being asked. Animals give something people can't or won't. They become as close as husbands or kids over time. I know my cat and dog probably won't outlive me but I can't stand to think about it. Lovely hub, thanks.


Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 7 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA Author

Thanks for visiting. Patty is Hubby's cat. But I love her like my own.


maggs224 profile image

maggs224 7 years ago from Sunny Spain

I knew from the start that this was about a cat, this is a beautifully written poem that expresses far more than just the sum of the words. It captures so much of the relationship and the love and draws a wonderful picture of both. I don't know how to write poetry and I don't read much of it either but I can recognise when something is good and this is very good.


emohealer profile image

emohealer 7 years ago from South Carolina

I had 2 cats, sisters from the time they were kittens, Snickers and Kit Kat.  Around 2 yrs, Snickers was snake bit, tried anti venom etc to no avail.  It has been quite a few years since, but Kit Kat will not let any other cats around and sticks very close to me like she did her Sister Snickers. 

Very nice, obviously really made me take a look at Kit Kat again and remember her story.  Thanks!


shibashake profile image

shibashake 7 years ago

This is lovely MM. A good reminder that we should all enjoy our current moments to the fullest, and show those close to us that we care.


Feline Prophet profile image

Feline Prophet 7 years ago from India

Nineteen years is a long time...


Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 7 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA Author

Hi Maggs24, Darn! I tried so hard to make it seem like I was a man writing about his lover. Guess I'm more transparent thatn I thought!!

Emohealer -- So sorry about Snickers (btw -- love the names of your 2 cats!). But I absolutely believe that the bond between sisters is unbreakable.

Shibashake -- I couldn't agree more. As my mother-in-law and (also RIP, 2/09) father-in-law used to say, "Never go to bed angry."

FP -- You are the expert on these things. Yep. Patty is older than my son!


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis

I hate losing an animal. We all become so attached. It would be unfair and wrong to say we become more attached to them than we do to humans. It's different, but just as strong in their own way. Bless you and yours..


Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 7 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA Author

Thanks, dear friend Christoph. Patty's a crotchety old lady. But she's "our" crotchety old lady. And yes, I understand perfectly what you mean about become more attached to them than humans. They are more than fur children. They are fur spouses (minus the sex -- that would be gross:-).


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis

Yes, that would just be wrong, I mean, even if it was a...oh, I don't know...a sheep or something.


Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 7 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA Author

Christoph, have you been a baaaa-d, baaaaa-d boy?


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis

No, I haven't been bad. Have Ewe?


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis


Paper Moon profile image

Paper Moon 7 years ago from In the clouds

You two are Shameless. LOL

My ex's grandfather died just a few months after his wife.  It was so obvious that he died of a broken heart.  I seemed to be the only one who found that beautiful.  He must have loved her so dearly. 

Pets certainly can be the closest family. And why not? They have so much love.


Am I dead, yet? 7 years ago

beautifully written, MM. Just beautiful. I enjoyed this so very much.


Laughing Mom profile image

Laughing Mom 7 years ago

It's truly a love story, MM. Not really a cat person myself, but I have become so attached to dozens of dogs through my lifetime, many of them siblings or moms and pups. Our Mastiff isn't long for this world, and although we don't have one of his siblings, we do have a second dog that has formed a brotherhood of sorts with him. We took him out to my mom's for awhile to see if he rested better, but the dog left behind went into this depression and wouldn't even get up off the floor. I'm determined not to get any more dogs for awhile, but when the Mastiff passes, we may not have a choice for the Newfie.

I'm glad to hear that Patty has rallied. And a little grossed out by the thought of Christoph and a sheep.


Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 7 years ago from UK

Very touching, Mighty Mum. I've never had pets since I've been an adult, other than my daughter's hamster, but I remember how the whole family mourned our black labrador, Kimmy, when he died, aged 16. I was about 22 at the time, so he'd been a big part of my childhood, and even all these years later I remember him with fondness.

I hope Patty continues on a while longer. It's always sad to lose a friend.


Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 7 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA Author

PM -- I've heard of similar stories and absolutely find it beautiful.

AIDY- Thank you so much. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

LM -Nothing worse than a depressed dog! Mastiffs and Newfies -- you really have your hands full, don't you? God bless.

Amanda -- RIP Kimmy. It is always hard to lose a friend. At 22, tho, it's much more of a "remote" sadness than it is today. Probably something to do with now being a mother and losing my own parents and being that much closer to my own mortality and all that stuff:-).

Christoph -- Guess we can't pull the wool over their eyes anymore, can we?


GiftedGrandma profile image

GiftedGrandma 7 years ago from USA

Beautifully written...pets have love that is unconditional


shamelabboush profile image

shamelabboush 7 years ago

This is very sad that I almost shed a tear!


Iðunn 7 years ago

very moving... just lovely.


Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 7 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA Author

Shamelabboush -- Oh no! Not you! Not a tear! That's truly frightening:-).

And my new friend Iðunn, thank you. BTW, your new avatar is just lovely also! MM


Iðunn 7 years ago

I think the same of your av... you look beautiful, happy and free. it's a great pic with a lot of positve connotations. :)


Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 7 years ago from California

Aww. :( But, the upside is you still have some time with her.

I was listening to an interview with this doctor talking about the journey into death, and how in other cultures and especially other times, accompanying a loved one to death (not literally, but being with them as they made the last part of their journey) can bring amazing depth to our lives as we survive. On a bunch of levels (don't worry, my didactic ass won't go there lol). Like Christoph said, it's not the same, but, it's something with animals too. Enjoy your time with her.


Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 7 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA Author

Leave it to other cultures to have such a mature and philosophical take on the dying process. I'd have to agree, tho. Having been their through Penny's decline and standing by her as the doctor stuck the needle in, it was pretty profound. More profound was watching the monitor on my dad count down to zero and flatline and my father-in-law go through the predictable stages of declining food, then the changed breathing, etc. till.... gone.

Animals are beings, too, and their spirits leave their little bodies. Then they cross the rainbow bridge...

But hey, thanks for visiting and I appreciate not getting too didactic, although this issue could easily lead there! MM


Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 7 years ago from California

Yeah, it could. Then you'd end up with a zealots forum going at some point. I like "cross the rainbow bridge" btw. I hadn't heard that in a while.


Russ Baleson profile image

Russ Baleson 7 years ago from Sandhurst, United Kingdom

Beautiful! This really touched me. So very well written. Thank you.


Cris A profile image

Cris A 7 years ago from Manila, Philippines

MM

sensitivity permeates the lines of this one - despite the seemingly sparse wording. thanks for sharing :D


Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 7 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA Author

Thanks very much, Cris. I've got a long ways to go in "mastering" poetry as a medium. But it's fun working on it!! MM


Not Telling profile image

Not Telling 7 years ago from Eastern Nowhere

Powerfully shows the place pets have in our families. Beautiful and touching.


trooper22 profile image

trooper22 7 years ago from Chicago

I have never had sibling cats but when I was a boy we had two cats that were very dear to me and each other. When the male passed, the female went into deep depression and my mother thought that we would lose her. At the time I was over seas and that added to the situation since she was a one person cat and I was that person. What brought her out of it was my return home I think. She was an extremely intelligent and an amazingly emotional cat. She was amazing and the only cat that I have ever encountered that did not cause me to go into allergic fits. I have not been able to have, or even spend more than a few hours in a room with any cat since she passed and that was almost 30 years ago.


Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 7 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA Author

Hello Not Telling. Thanks for being a fellow pet fancier. Their place is right up there with humans -- at least I feel that way.

Trooper -- Your story says it all. Your cat was YOUR cat. I absolutely believe she grieved her sibling and you, until you came back. What a shame, though, that you suffer from such severe allergies. My doctor has suggested I do injections as he is savvy enough to know I will not get rid of my felines.

BTW, yesterday, July 6, was the one year anniversary of Penny's death. We observed it quietly. And Patty seemed to be participating also. MM


S Lynn Mitchell profile image

S Lynn Mitchell 7 years ago from Las Vegas

I know this feeling. I had a stray cat that I adopted as a kitten. She had two litters and I kept a girl from each litter. They were generally house cats but, obviously, they got away occasionally but always came back. Although they didn't die, the youngest got out and didn't return. The other two became very aloof when before they were always quite loving. The middle cat finally had enough and strayed as well. The mother became downright depressed. I seriously thought she would just roll over and die. My then-husband just had enough and took her to the humane society. I just came home one day and she was gone. It's a huge loss. Even though they didn't pass (that I know of), I miss my Classy, Beauty, and Justice...and I have seen how pets' personalities change severely when they lose their companions--mates, siblings, or children--after they have been together for a long time.


Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 7 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA Author

Hi S Lynn Mitchell. I can see you have had a similar -- if not exactly the same -- experience. Thanks for sharing. BTW, LOVE the names of your kitties!! MM


Cindy Letchworth profile image

Cindy Letchworth 7 years ago from Midwest, U.S.A.

I'm reaching for my tissues. This reminds me of a time when I was pet sitting and an elderly cat whom I was watching came up to me one day and looked at me in a different way. I saw this cat frequently, and it always gave me the time of day, but this day was different.

I sat down beside its upright posture and stroked it gently. It watched me again and I had the feeling I wouldn't be seeing him again.

I didn't go to this house for a couple weeks, but when I was called to return the owner told me her cat had died a few days after I saw it last.

Animals know, and say their goodbyes when they can. I just wish it wasn't so hard for us still living.


RK Sangha profile image

RK Sangha 7 years ago from USA

A very good poem, symbolically depicting what happenned between husband and wife one night and why it happenned. Its a whole story of a conjugal relationship of 19 years revealed in this little poem. The poem although written for a pet, as Mighty Mom admits, has risen to the level of a good poetry as it generalizes the conjugal relationship and the crisis it goes through. This is the Power of Poetry. I read the comments, mostly the poem has been interpreted as a love for pet cat. I think the comments given by MAGGS224 are more appropriate. Congratulations, Mighty Mom, for a very good poem.


Chaotic Chica profile image

Chaotic Chica 6 years ago

Very good poem indeed. It is interesting to watch how animals react to bonding with others and how they cope with their loss. We had a very active cat who was forever playing with and teasing our dog. Upon his passing, the cat became depressed, no more playing, no more tricks, nothing. Not even a new dog and an active little kitten in the house perked him up. It was sad and it hurts us to feel like we cannot help them.


Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 6 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA Author

Hello Chaotic Chica,

Your story hurts my heart. I understand how pets can bond as closely as humans. It sounds like the humans in your house reacted to the loss of your dog just fine (or reasonably well), bringing in a new dog and a kitten.

My cats send their condolences to your cat! MM


Chaotic Chica profile image

Chaotic Chica 6 years ago

My step-father stayed out until the wee hours of the morning the night he had to put the dog down. We didn't bring a new animal into the house until about four months later, we thought it might help us-and the cat-heal. Seeing the cat so despondant was worse than the pain of losing the dog. That was several years ago now, I think I was in my pre-teens when that happened but thank your cats for the condolences anyway! :)

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