I always dreaded the day that I would need to write this blog post, in which I would announce that Lucius Lyndon Lovejoy had died. Until now, I wasn’t ready to write about Lucius’s passing. Lucius drew his last breath on the afternoon of June 12, only one week ago. He was 16, yet once the time came for Michael and me to say our final good-bye to Lucius, our beloved cat looked young again, and at peace with the world.
Because Lucius, in his late senior years, continued to defy the medical odds, I foolishly hoped he would live longer. Still, I had come to understand in the past few months that measuring his life in years was no longer realistic.
Lucius had willed his diabetes into remission. He had stared down pancreatitus. He had survived having a number of his teeth pulled and had overcome periodontal issues related to gum disease. He could not win his hard-fought battle with chronic renal failure.
Lucius also suffered deeply and routinely from anxiety. I can’t help but conclude that the stress he brought on himself contributed to his physical deterioration. Nonetheless, it is difficult to imagine Lucius liberated from his “issues.” His fragile mental state defined him. He had more empathy than some people I know (sad, but true). Michael and I gladly would take back all the “bad days”—of Lucius literally destroying furniture and bedding in our house—just to have one additional moment with him.
A number of my closest friends and colleagues have written to me about Lucius’s legacy. I had the privilege of writing about Lucius regularly in blog posts during the past few years, and at more length recently in Cat Lady Chronicles. Thanks to the media’s coverage of my book, Lucius saw his name in print in Cat Fancy, no less. I am boasting as his Cat Lady, but it is safe to say that journalists were intrigued by Lucius, a cat who inspired unconditional love.
I take some comfort knowing that, in my own way, I helped to spread the word about a truly remarkable creature. I am not in the habit of disagreeing with my mother, who said that Michael and I were remarkable also, “showing compassion and understanding.” How could anyone not appreciate and admire Lucius’s gifts?
Rest in peace, Little Man. You changed my life, and it is not the same without you.
|Lucius Lyndon Lovejoy, in his youth|