Saturday, March 1, 2008

Lucky Cat

My husband grew up in a tribe of women. Well before she turned 30, his mother had lost both her husband and her father to cancer. She moved back into her childhood home and together with her mother and several of her aunts (and, to be fair, some uncles too) she reared Jeff and his older brother.

One of the aunts was Evelyn, usually called Auntie (for Aunt E.). While her identical twin sister had married and moved 50 miles away, Auntie never left home. She cared for her father until he died and then she helped take care of everyone else—nieces, nephews, great-nieces, great-nephews. She worked at the elementary school for years so everyone in town got to know her. She was goofy and silly and high-strung and laughed easily. She could always be counted on to rile up little kids (usually right before bedtime). She was Jeff’s mom’s confidante and best friend.
Long after Jeff grew up and moved away Auntie found two homeless kittens. She kept one and gave the other one to her sister. She called hers “Lucky” because she felt the cat was lucky to be alive, and that they were lucky to have found each other. With no more small children in her everyday life she poured all her affections into that cat. She spoiled it, but not rotten. It was still a sweet cat.

One day after only a few years, the cat disappeared—probably hit by a car or snatched by a larger animal. Auntie, though, believed someone had stolen him and taken him home. I don’t think she could bear the thought that he’d suffered, or that he was dead.

Not long after that Auntie herself fell ill. She’d refused to see a doctor for many years—we learned later that she had a huge sore on her leg that had been there for ages; she was afraid of being told it was cancerous. But dizziness and fainting spells finally forced her to seek attention. It was August. Three months later, on the day after Thanksgiving, she died of brain cancer.

Was she lucky? No; she suffered a great deal in those few months following her diagnosis. She missed knowing her great-great-nieces and -nephews, and her twin has never recovered from her death.

But she’d known a lot of love and affection in her life. She’d been the most important person in her sister’s life, and then her father’s, and then even Lucky’s. And that? Was a piece of luck she’d made herself.


Cathy is visiting today as part of the Blog Exchange. She’s lucky enough to live in a wholesome little town in the Midwest with her husband, kids, and dog. She writes (usually more frivolously) at Mayberry Mom, where you can find Heather today – please stop by!

Find links to the rest of the lucky stories at the Blog Exchange.

4 people like me!:

chelle said...

wow. she sounds like a fantastic woman!

Anonymous said...

That's an interesting story- a sore on a leg to brain cancer. She had still so much more love to give, huh?

My 87 year old grandmother has never had a mammogram. If she has breast cancer, she told her doctor she doesn't want to know. She has a lot to live for, too.

Heather said...

It's wonderful to be around people like that...who make their own luck by enriching other people's (or animals') lives.

Alex Elliot said...

She sounds like she was a great person, the type that everyone wishes they had in their family.

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