This is what it is like to be old: I come here to write less and less, and when I do, it is often to memorialize a loss. I’ll try to do better, in the future, but I need to re-find the optimism that makes one want to create, discover, communicate, and share. What this blog is mostly supposed to be about.
If you met him, you might have been surprised to hear that Hiro was old. When he was well, he could be as playful as a kitten. When he decided to talk at all, he babbled expressively as a human toddler.
He was a cat who knew how to exult when he was happy and comfortable, although for much of his life he probably wasn’t. He was innately fearful but stoic in the face of his many medical adventures. He might have wanted to appear aloof, but he was capable of delightful, hilarious interactions, with both us and Buster. He was always sweet, and he was occasionally very tender and snuggly. He pretended to be the Cat Who Walked By Himself, the Cat Who Needed Nobody and No One… but he needed us. He knew it, and he made sure we knew exactly what he needed, right up until his last day.
Towards the end, he sought us out for constant physical contact. Maybe he was just giving us a chance to express our love, maybe just needing the extra warmth… but I choose to think he was expressing his love for us and his love of home, too.
He needed a village in his last years. Everyone who met him — the wonderful people who rescued him and healed him and trusted us with the great gift of him, our neighbors, even his doctors — enjoyed his compact, sturdy presence, his goofy, disgruntled stare, and his obvious, proud sense that he did, in fact, Belong Here, Belong to Us. Was A Family Member. Had Every Right and Privilege.
I am sure that even Hiro of the Railways rumbled his way back to the station shed eventually, for a well-deserved rest. Our Hiro was his sort-of namesake in homage to an obsession of a much-younger Jonah. Like Hiro Engine, Hiro Cat was eldest, honorable and honored, a dusty-black, much-travelled, worn-but-stalwart campaigner.
And now he is gone. Whether his path took him over a Rainbow Bridge, I can’t say. I only know he was carrying a piece of my heart away with his stubborn, adorable little spirit.