I decided a few days ago to get rid of a box full of papers from when I had bypass surgery — 1998, and doesn’t it seem long, long ago?  More than half of the box was filled with bills and letters my mom sent to my creditors — doctors, specialists, and, of course, Maine Medical Center, the people who had told me not to worry about bills.  I wasn’t aware enough to even know about any of this.

So Mom was in the trenches for me, as far as finances go.  And I will always be grateful, because the costs of that stay topped $200,000, (which doesn’t sound like much, now, but this was at the end of Bill  Clinton’s presidency, and the dollar still had a little value.)  And in this box was all of the evidence of the work she’d done.  One more reason to be grateful that I got into her family!

While I was digging around in these papers, I came upon a couple of big yellow envelopes with photos inside.  And here were all of the pictures I thought I had lost, from my first trip to Mexico, some family shots, both old and more recent, and about a dozen pictures of my cats, Cromwell and Laslo, from long ago.  Cromwell moved twelve times with me, and travelled like a natural — I always knew I could let him run, because he always came home.

When my husband and I got divorced, I moved to North Carolina and, although it  broke my heart, I decided to leave Cromwell with Laslo, here in Maine.  He was eighteen years old, and he really loved the house where we were.  I decided he would be happier staying than going.

After I left, Cromwell was diagnosed with diabetes.  Without me needing to say a word, my ex J. took care of him, fed the right foods, gave him his shots, and made him happy for the rest of his life.  And when he died, J. did the most thoughtful, wonderful thing I could ever have imagined.  He buried Cromwell in the tulip patch, where he loved to sit in the summertime.  J. buried Cromwell in a shoebox, with a can of tuna, which he loved so much.  (I fed him tuna for a while, and he got those terrible crystals in his urinary tract.  I thought he was going to get better, and he just kept getting worse.  We found a vet who would take payments, and he brought Cromwell back to me.)  So in the box, J. put a can of tuna, and a piece of the string Cromwell played with  for years.  When J. called to tell me, I was heartbroken, and I cried, like I’m crying now.

But I’m so happy to have the pictures.  I can look at them and still remember how he sounded, how he felt when I held him.  I feel so lucky that he chose me to live with.  Cromwell, sweetie, I’ll never forget you; I loved the way you could make me laugh, and I really do miss you. Bye.


12 responses to “Memories

  1. What a beautiful tribute to Cromwell. And what a tender thing for J to do. He knows you well in this aspect. Thank you sweetheart for sharing such a precious story about trying trying times and a loyal friend. God rest sweet Cromwell, your mommy misses and loves you much.~

  2. What a beautiful person your mom was to allow you to heal and not worry about the unreal medical bills that were arriving. It would have been so stressful if you had known and your healing would have been jeoparidized. So BRAVO to her!

  3. Very touching story. Seeing the one’s we love in pain is a difficult thing for anyone to go through. At the same time it is when we can express our deepest love to others. That’s what I got from this post. Expressing our love for each other is one of the healthiest things for our hearts. I hope people who read this post can get that message and be inspired to take care of each other well whether in sickness or in health. Life is short, let’s keep on giving love!

  4. Aww that has me chocking up! I’ve lost a lot of lovely kitties too. Most recently my best friend Lucky. She died last summer from anemia because of Fleas. Out of nowhere we got a really bad flea attack, we’d shut off the rooms and bomb them but it wasn’t putting a dent into them, and on lucky we were giving her capstar and frontline to try to get them off but she had REALLY bad skin allergies , and the frontline would “roll” off her skin as the doc explained it because she had dry skin. So basically it wasn’t helping at all, and the fleas got worse and wrose. It was really bad, I’d run a flea comb down her skin and get ton and tons upon tons and tons, it was so gross. And I’d flea dip her,and flea spray her but they woudln’t get off her. We had 2 other cats and they weren’t bothered by the fleas. She was like my best friend though ,she was a grumpy old lady as I called her. Gone, but defnitely not forgotton.
    My husband and I actually had her cremated and she’s currently sitting on the shelf next to his mom. He jokes that by the time we have kids and grandkids they are just going to inherit an odd collection of dead relatives and animals. Sometimes you just gotta laugh to keep from going crazy!

  5. Your Cromwell story is so touching it’s killing me! I can’t even imagine—now—what it will be like when my babies (cats) are gone someday! I’m so glad you found your pictures!

    • They become such a part of the family, don’t they? My only regret in that I couldn’t say goodbye. I hope he didn’t feel, after all those years together, that I had abandoned him.

  6. Ah, Cromwell. Even though you miss him you were lucky to have had hime in your life. And so kind of your ex to have done right by Cromwell too. Glad you found your pictures. It does pay to sort everything before giving stuff the heave-ho.

    • I feel so very lucky to have found him — he was in a box of all white kittens — his little black face just sticking our through the other little bodies. He was a blessing to me, and around when I needed him so desperately..

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