Eulogy for Nickie. When We Grieve the Passing of a Pet

#petcate  #deathofpet  #pet eulogy

On Christmas morning, 1990, my wife entered the room with her present for me—Nickie, a beautiful black Persian kitten who lived with us as part of our family for nearly 18 years. He was a wonderful pet. To grieve his passing, I expressed my feelings of loss in a poem.

                       Eulogy for Nickie

My wife knew why
I walked over to the chair
By the dining room window
That faced the morning sun.
“I brushed away all the hair from the seat,”
She said.
So gone
Was any trace
Of his final, enfeebled days.
We could lay aside our concerns
About his deafness —
He watched our shoes
Whenever we approached —
And how his eyes teared,
Pupils wide in daylight
Like curtains pulled aside
On a vacant room.
He was content
Only when we held him
Or when he napped
On the needle point cushion
Of the sunny chair —
His handsome Persian profile
Calling to mind his vigorous days
Among the leaves
In a back yard wind,
Or nestled
At the base of the embracing oak.

When days passed without a scolding
For our tardiness with his dish,
We knew
He was only wandering out a reluctance —
So many soft, careful steps —
As if to let us know,
He, too, felt the burden,
Impending departures always bring,
Of leaving us to ourselves alone —
And of the grief that would seep
Into simple daily tasks
In a home
Echoing with raw emptiness
It was the right thing to do,
We both knew,
And when she returned,
From the Vet’s,
My wife looked me right in the eye
And said, “I can still feel his warmth
On the bottom of box.”
I took the carton from her,
Accepting the last of his dearness
Feitly into my palms,
And I bowed down over him
Clenching my grief
In my teeth.

John J. Hohn
April 7, 2007