The Kaddish is the Jewish mourner’s prayer, following the death of a family member. It’s recited in the presence of the congregation.
So let me say Kaddish for dear Fangie, member of this family, in your presence. You, my blog-friends, my congregation. You, who have flooded me with your condolences. I am overwhelmed.
I would surely drown in an ocean of grief. Or my old stand-by strategy would kick in, and I’d be numb.
But with your help, I’m buoyed. I see: You and I share in this ocean of grief. All who love, we know these dark waters. In the midst of life, we are in death. We will lose the ones we love.
So let me say Kaddish for Fangie in your presence.
The theme of the Kaddish is that despite the loss, the mourner still praises life. Another way of this praising is, when you say the name of the departed, you say “Fangie, zichrono l’bracha.” This means “Fangie, remembering him is a blessing.”
Let me sanctify his memory, then. One day after his terrible but mercifully quick death, today let me praise his living. Let me praise the beneficent grace that brought Bugsy and me the honor to become close to the spirit that was our Fangie.
We had only seven months together, and then our beautiful little boy was taken.
Fangie the clown. The goof-ball. Recently he’d taken to flopping sideways on the floor, making eye contact with me, and flipping from side to side waving his paws in the air, looking back up at me, and so clearly speaking, in his unbelievably high little voice: C’mon mom, let’s play. I started to call him Squeaky.
Only three days before he died, he started making biscuits on my belly.
So we were working on a great love.
We have not lost that love. I have heard those of you, who have gone before me into these dark waters, say this many times: We never forget. Never.
So this love that I hold, for this wonderful cat, this love will not die.
When Fangie first came here – when we first welcomed him into our family – he was extravagant with contact. That’s why I called him “Duvay.” During the acclimation-time and quarantine, every time I went into Base Camp he would jump up on me and just cover me right up. Sprawl all over me, cover me right up. Like a down comforter. His fur – all of him – was so soft and silky and warm.
Then he’d bite me on the nose. This was Fang we’re talking about, after all.
Later, he’d do the duvet bit less often when, I think, he became surer of his welcome. He’d still do it, from time to time – but it wouldn’t last long. He’d need to be up and running at top speed, off to find the next adventure to create for himself. To see what other thing he could get into or knock over or chew on.
Bugs did his best to keep Fangie in line, but it was a full-time job.
This morning I spoke to the vet who treated Fang in the beginning, when he was came to us so sick. She said there are very few things that would take a young cat so suddenly. A heart defect – but that would have been painless. So she ruled that out.
She ended up agreeing with the homeopathic vet whom I called right after. Both vets think the most likely suspect was something Fang came here with. This vet said probably heartworm. She said heartworm is very hard to detect, and even one worm will kill. Fangie was really very sick, for a substantial portion of his young life. Perhaps he had this.
I was afraid it had been the poisonous insects we have here. The vet thought that was a possibility. She just heard of a poodle who had been stung by a wasp and very nearly died. Cats are more sensitive than even that. Possibly Fang had eaten or been bit by a brown recluse or black widow spider.
The vet ruled out tick-borne illnesses like bobcat fever, as Fangie was an inside cat. She said he could have been poisoned if he’d eaten a mouse that had eaten mouse-bait – but that hadn’t happened to my knowledge. I neither keep nor use any poisons anywhere in this house and nor do my neighbors (again to my knowledge). I got rid of all my plants. Yesterday I went through the house again and I could find nothing.
So there it is.
We had our time together, we were happy, and then it was time for our darling boy to go.
I cannot possibly be happy about his brutal taking. My heart is broken right now.
But I am glad, in the midst of this terrible grief, that we had our time. I am so glad for that. I will always, always sanctify and cherish the memory of my dearest Fang.
Fanga Duvay, zichrono l’bracha.