Goodbyes come like buses. They seem to arrive in packs. Many years ago Clare Shaw set us an exercise is writing a poem on “Instructions for Saying Goodbye.” Today we bid farewell to a dear friend who spends a fortnight each summer with us. We have more than thirty years shared history, the through thick and thin kind of friendship that bears witness to our lives and times. We cook, place vicious Scrabble matches, walk sedately along the lane, laugh uproariously and mourn together. Because yesterday we buried our pet cat Zelda, the first pet who came into our lives after the move to Ireland.
Zelda was a foundling and was fully grown when she turned up at the local holy well. A neighbour fed her during the summer, but was returning home to Birmingham and a heavily trafficked neighbourhood. Not good for a kitty. So my husband adopted her and she was carried down in the arms by the neighbour’s son and never looked back. She has lived here for fifteen years, the second longest lived of our pets. Tortoiseshell cats must have the elixir of long life. Zelda went on to be dubbed the matriarch of the Fairy Cat Tribe having two litters of kittens before we could get her to the vets (definitely did not have our eye on the ball, never happened again!) She was mother to Zazu, Zeena, Zymina, Ziggy and ZsaZsa by the same father who also hung out at the holy well and for whom she spurned all other lovers’ advances. He was black and white with an orange tail and disappeared in his puff of fluff after she went off to the vets for the wee op.
The Poetry Daily today ponders goodbyes. The quotation is from Jack Kerouac.