For the longest time Bronte did not wag her tail. She carried it tucked between her legs and high against her belly. Bronte wagged her tail first for Froggy.
Froggy was my small cat in a previous chapter of my life: streetwise and “people particular.” Just like Bronte, Froggy had a rough start in the world. Abused and abandoned to begin with, then Froggy was taken in by a sweet boy and his mother. In fact, it was the boy who named her. The shortest of stories: Froggy came to live with me. In her way, Froggy supported me through an unhealthy relationship that lasted fifteen years. It was my lap Froggy found to curl into and purr.
When it was time to end that relationship, Froggy came with me. By then, Froggy had good days and not so good days. She stopped wanting to go outside or wanting to be brushed. She laid around like a moth-eaten fur hat. That fifteen years had taken it’s toll on both of us. When it looked like I had people to help me, and direction to follow, Froggy and I talked. She would curl up on my lap and purr. She knew. I knew. A dear friend talked about leaving a window open, so Froggy’s soul could fly away if it so needed. Froggy and I talked long and often about her time. About that I would be okay. One morning, soon after with dawn cracking my window Froggy went outside with Bronte. Bronte came in. Froggy didn’t. She was curled up on the deck in the sun. She had simply gone to sleep. I have always felt that she had stayed long enough for me to be safe in my new life.
Today, I watch Bronte walk around the yard with her tail between her legs. When she stands still, just stands there, her tail is high against her belly. I take a deep breath. Taking my right forefinger, I start tapping it against my right temple (sometimes my right cheekbone). I do this tapping when I’m trying not to cry or I’m distancing myself from an emotion to protect myself.
I’m taking in what I see, what I read, and what I hear. I’m starting to see Bronte separating and preparing. Watching her in the yard, I try in the moment to separate from myself, to look at her differently; really, to see that Bronte is entering hospice.
All these years, Bronte has supported me, and done so much to make me happy. I’m reminded that it’s her time, no longer is it about me. It’s not her job to come be all “waggy-butt” to greet me when I get home. Or even to wiggle out of her kennel and hop up on the couch next to me. Goodness knows, if I asked her to run a marathon, she’d try her “damndest” to do that. I know she knows I’m in a happy and healthy relationship. I know she loves Lana. I know Bronte knows I’m safe in this life.