Friday, March 16, 2012

Rambo's Daffodils

This morning, my husband rushed into the house to tell me that Rambo's daffodils are coming up in the garden. I had to rush out to see the tiny sprouts emerging between patches of snow at the edge of the deck. It is such a small thing, but after so many years we are still excited at our personal sign of renewal. It is hard to believe that eleven years have passed since I knelt beside the low stone wall placing small amounts of Rambo's ashes in lieu of bone meal into each bulb hole. When we inevitably leave this home, this will be the thing we miss the most.

Rambo was with us for a relatively short time. We adopted the huge strong grey tabby not knowing that at the age of two, he already suffered from the beginnings of kidney failure . . . probably from early neglect. As we know, cats must have ample fresh water all the time to avoid his fate. He was the best cat imaginable. So smart that he learned to sit and raise up his paw to "shake" with astounded visitors. But, what made him so endearing and precious was in part the road we traveled together during the last year of his life.

Each afternoon when we returned from work, we went immediately to the kitchen and pulled a stool up to the counter. As we unraveled the ringer's bag that had become an odd decorative fixture hanging from the cupboard above the sink, Rambo would run into the room and jump onto the stool. There he would hunker down and wait patiently as we stuck the needle in his ruff and filled him with life-saving fluid. Every once in a while if we had not changed the needle or our technique was a little off and he felt the jab, he would turn his head and look back at us with an indescribable look of, well, of understanding.

When he finally succumbed, he and we had extended his life by a year. He was the best of cats and our sadness over losing him was profound even though it was expected. Obviously, as a result of the daily treatments the three of us--two humans and a cat--formed a unique bond of mutual cooperation and care.

We're not exactly the most sentimental or sensitive people in the world, but this experience touched us deeply and remains a strong link in the bond between us, the two humans left behind. And so, we take a ludricous amount of pleasure in watching the inch-by-inch progress of Rambo's daffodils as they push upward and finally bloom, then sadly die back, only to return a year later along with the rush of memories of an intelligent loving animal.