Little Walter wrote that line for the song Last Night. I wished I never would say it out loud. It took me an extra day to be comfortable sharing this.
After thirteen years of the most reliable companionship of my life, our cat, Clover, has died. Just typing it is very emotional for me.
Erin and I got Clover more than thirteen years ago in Minnesota. We got a small kitten at the kennel and brought her home. She was a darling from the start.
Living far from where I grew up meant most of my friends were coworkers. It was hard to meet people outside of work when I worked such long hours. I met some wonderful people during my years in Minnesota, New York, and Arizona – but nobody who was there for me every single time.
About a week ago, Sarah asked me who my best friend was. I told her that I didn’t have one because I had so many great friends that it would be impossible for me to pick just one. That wasn’t completely true. The best friend I ever had never spoke a word to me and never left my side during my difficult times. Clover, a simple house cat, was the greatest friend I ever had.
Erin works hard. School and residency are very hard and keep you away from your family for years. During these lonely times in lonely places, Clover was always there for me. Whether we just sat on the couch, she sat on my feet, or she was protecting me from a dangerous moth – she was there.
She actually did find a scorpion in the house once. I must say that was the most helpful thing she could have done.
Once, a ladybug got into our Albany apartment. Clover chased it around the house and managed to catch it. She walked up to me with it proudly in her mouth. She then “meowed” and it flew off her tongue back into the house. I always thought this was so cute.
Another time, also in Albany, our terrible apartment had ill-fitting window screens. Clover jumped up on one and it fell with her attached down two stories! She landed on a bush. I remember looking out the window at her, still attached to the screen, looking up at me letting out a big deep wail. I ran down in the darkness and grabbed her. I asked for new screens and when the complex refused I glued them all in place.
When Sarah was born four years ago, Clover was forced into the back room. She was scared of the new and noisy character in the home. Of course, kids multiply, get bigger, and more curious. And as cats get older, they get more shy. The last few years of Clover’s life were a mix of hiding in our bedroom and poking a head out to say hello when the kids were in school or asleep. It wasn’t ideal but we gave her the best we could.
I discovered that I am allergic to cats when Clover was about four years old. I didn’t think for a second that she would leave my life for my comfort, instead she would go when the time was right and the allergy symptoms were just part of life.
I spent far less time with her during her final years. If I was awake, so were the kids and she was too shy for their noise. I shower in the evenings and she had a habit of waiting for me outside the bathroom door. I’d open the door and she’d plop down on her side so I could rub her belly. We had done this for as long as I can remember. I’m not looking forward to getting out of the shower tonight.
Clover was wonderful and sweet. She had beautiful eyes. I will forever cherish the time we spent together, not saying a word.