She turned to me desperate, her face stricken.
Is he dead, Mom? Is he?
We’d been looking for that old cat since the night he walked away, out the front door, down the porch steps, up the brick walk in front of our house. He paused ever so briefly to look over his shoulder at me. Then he sauntered off.
What a gift it was I didn’t realize that was our goodbye.
He eventually made his way to a shady spot just at the base of our driveway, curling up beneath the azaleas. It was an area with a small clearing; the opening was sizable enough that he could easily see out and we could see in. And still I didn’t find him, in spite of the thousand trips Colleen and I made looking for him, looking high and low, calling out his name. But then Eliza came home, and she spotted him.
I think of Tiger every time I see those shrubs, pray that his last hours spent in that spot were peaceful, hope that he knows how much we miss him. I’ve watched them with particular interest this Spring as they have leafed out, so healthy and full of buds they look as if they will—quite literally—explode.
Except for the little Tiger cave, that is, which bloomed so early, so significantly, that the heavy branches dropped to the ground and covered its opening with glorious white blossoms.
How happy I am for this gift of Spring, this comforting sign, this memory.