Life is, Oh, So Precious — A Tribute to R. B.

All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful:
The Lord God made them all.

Words by Cecil F. Alexander

Life is, oh, so precious, and nothing brings that in sharper perspective then the death of a loved one.  Now, least you think my wife or daughter has passed, let me assure you they are well, though saddened as I am by the tragic death of R. B., our beloved cat of 3 years.  You may recall or would like to read of his miracle recovery a couple years ago.

Our family disagreed as to what R. B. actually stood for.  I said it was short for Rocket Bullet, Ann and Amber claim it meant Rascal Bullet.  In truth I think they are probably right, for he was both a Rascal and a Bullet, though evidently not fast enough last night in crossing W. Blue Ridge Road, where I found him lying on the side of the road this afternoon.

I'm still in shock about the sudden loss, and shocked as well at how hard it has hit me. Perhaps it's the suddenness of the loss.  I was just starting a bike ride heading towards Carl Sandburg's home just a few blocks away, using the ride to clear my mind, with plan to walk the forest paths behind Sandburg's home to contemplate an approaching meeting with my business coach.

And there suddenly in my path was the crushed body of a cat…but as I approached closer I realized it was not just any cat…not a neighbor's cat, or a stray, but my own.  I stopped my bike and bent down to check more closely, praying that it was someone else's cat, but knowing in my heart that it was R. B.

I called Ann with my cell phone and told her the news, trying to prepare her for something that one simply cannot be prepared for. Still, I thought hearing about it first, before seeing his body might soften the blow just a bit.  From the sound of her anguish sob on the other end of the phone, I doubt it eased the pain much at all.

I realize as I write this that some people reading this might say, 'Hey, wait a minute.  It was just a cat, get over it.'  Well, for me, our pets, be it dogs, cats, birds, fish, iquana, or whatever, are just as hard to lose to death as our human friends and loved ones.  I know for me the amount of love they give and allow us to share with them is unequal.RBAdult

And yes, I will get over it…time will heal the ripping pain I feel in my heart from the heart strings that have been broken.  Writing this is part of the healing salve.  Remembering R. B. as our 'miracle cat,' and the vivid image of him lying regally on our bed just the other night, as contented as could be as Ann gently rubbed his gray fur…good memories all.  Painful to remember, and yet so important to keep.

R.B. I will cherish those memories and the wonderful lessons you shared with me, including the most recent one — that life is, oh, so precious, and can be suddenly jerked away, without warning, without any apparent rhyme or reason, at least not one easily discerned by us, mere mortals.  To expand on that lesson, I realized today at a new and deeper level….I will also die, and while I hope and pray that day is far into the future, none of us have any guarantee, so cherish the moment, as well as the memories for life, even at its most difficult, painful, even awful times…yes, even then it is, oh, so precious.

I know not where the spirit of animals go.  I pray it is on to new adventures where love is in bountiful supply.