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Remembering An Old Friend, And A Beloved Pet

By: Robin Young

Robin’s cat, who had to be put to sleep last week.

So, it’s a new week, thankfully, because the last one just stunk up the place.

At home, we had to put the big fat black cat to sleep. That was what my niece Gwynna called her, but in the end, she wasn’t all that fat, and I just didn’t want to see that meant she was really sick.

Still can’t believe it. One second she’s there, purring in your arms, then she’s gone. Every fiber of your body screaming… Wait!! even though we knew she wouldn’t survive the surgery she needed to end her pain.

To paraphrase Charlotte’s Web? She was some cat. When we found her, she marched into the house, took one look at the ailing Benji dog, and proceeded to groom him, holding him down with one paw.

Later when he was failing, she’d patiently wait for him to struggle to his feet, then hook her shoulder under his and slowly walk him down the hall.

She slept on my head. Sat between me and my guy. Where did cats get this bad rap about being aloof?

You might remember we called a vet once to ask how to deal with her loud purr! sound…so loud..
She would actually would put her paws on either side of your neck..and hug. Oh I miss that.

So, it was a bad week, but it turned out an old college friend was having the worst week of her life.

Mike Serventi passed away in April. He was an old college friend of Robin Young. (Courtesy mikeserventi.weebly.com)

Gail’s husband Mike Serventi was a force of nature, but no match for the car that swerved and hit him while he was riding his bike. Just like that, gone.

He was the guy who went home after college to tiny Perry New York. When hundreds of his friends descended this weekend to say goodbye, we probably doubled the town population. He’d come home to run the family business, later sold Archway Cookies, made a small fortune and devoted his life to helping the less fortunate. Again to paraphrase, some guy.

Have you heard about ghost bikes? Old bikes, painted all white, every inch, and placed where a rider was killed? My college roommate told me about it and we’d like to do something like that for our friend.

It’s inevitable, you’re going to have weeks like last week. What is it that Queen Elizabeth said? Grief is the price we pay for having loved. And even though I hate how this feels right now, hate it!! ghost bikes, phantom hugs, you want to be there right?

Standing in the Greek Chorus that lets the world know, a life counted. You want to show up.

And I guess I personally think you get a head start, if you’ve already had your heart cracked wide open by having loved, and been loved by, a big fat black cat.


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Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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