Peter’s loss, Peter’s love

One of the sisters in our thread, Ericka, lost one of her cats this week. His name was George. I remember him being a little more quiet and reserved than his really jovial companion cat, Peter. I don’t remember precisely what it was that made me instinctively see that Ericka really loved her cats. It was probably Peter’s behavior though. I remember when I sat at her kitchen table he would just be doing things or sitting in interesting places. He seemed to be taken up place and space in her world. And then, I remember being a little struck at the names of Ericka’s cats. Cats with very human names really brings a certain persona to them, and character. And respect. Yes, that’s right. Each time Ericka called or addressed either of her cats, it was like ‘put some respeck on my name.’

I realize that losing is a part of loving, that the choice to love is also a choice to lose. But do those choices happen simultaneously? When my niece and nephew, Chike and Sakile, passed in 2002, the feeling of loss was sudden and profound, for me, for the family and for my older sister, Twana, their mother. I don’t think any of us thought at any time that loving them was akin to losing them. But perhaps it was. Is losing our loved ones an act or rite of love? I cannot honestly say that my heart has gotten bigger though, that I have become a better, more mature lover, because I have experienced loss. On the other hand, Alice Walker hints at the blessing in moments like this, when she writes “the way forward is with a broken heart.” George, dear George, presente. Peter’s loss, Peter’s love.

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