The year began with sadness. My cat Oliver, my best friend for 14 years finally succumbed to hyperthyroidism and became so ill that I had to have him put to sleep. It was one of the saddest experiences I have had. I don't know why, but in my mind and heart, I believed he would always be here. Hopes of a man with a boy's heart I guess. I buried him in our backyard with a grave marked by a ring of stones and a small piece of slate for a headstone. It was late January, the day before I took my son to see my mom in California.
It had been a few years since the last time I saw my mom. Too may years really. Though I enjoyed driving around San Francisco, and even finally seeing Alcatraz after never seeing it while I lived there, the sights were overshadowed by sadness.
Jack, my mother's beloved companion for about the last ten years had been suffering from both prostate and liver cancers. Last spring we learned of the liver cancer and that he would be undergoing chemotherapy. At the time of our visit, his body savaged by both the disease and treatment, Jack was a shadow of his former self. I don't really want to go into all of my thoughts and feelings about seeing him. Suffice to say, it was painful to see a once healthy and robust man with a kind heart, sweetness, and deep love for my mother suffer and watch my mom try to cope. My own father died 20 years ago and though I never thought of Jack as a stepfather, he was very dear to me.
I did not know whether he was going to get better or not, but did not have false hopes that he would. About a month after our visit my mother called to tell me that he wasn't going to make it, that he had a very short time left. After this and until a phone call from my sister telling me of his passing, every day I would go to work, try my best to do my job and take an interest in people, all the while waiting for a call to tell me that he had died. I can't think of a worse state of being than waiting for someone to die.
He finally passed on March 12. He leaves behind children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, and my mother. Though she was only with him for ten years, I believe he was the great love of her life.