WILKES-BARRE — I’m definitely a cat person. Have been most of my adult life. I have had several cats as companions over the years.
But this last one, she was the very best.
Lily, who I brought home as a kitten in November of 1997, left this world and crossed the infamous Rainbow Bridge last Saturday morning. It is a day I dreaded — a day that followed a week of a gradual progression to the inevitable.
As you know from your own experiences, these matters can be extremely emotional and Saturday was the culmination of about one week of watching Lily’s last days.
I shared much of this on the Facebook, but I wanted to tell all of you about my experience and about my Lily.
When it became apparent that she was not going to get better, that she was so weak she couldn’t walk, and her soft whimpering indicated the onset of pain, I held her and talked to her and told her it was time.
When I arrived at the Plains Animal Hospital, I was early, so Lily and I sat in the car and I turned on the radio.
The song playing was “96Tears” by Question Mark & the Mysterians. In the mid to late ’60s, my dad and I would travel to Philadelphia on weekends to visit with my mom. She was battling kidney disease and had to be taken to Philly several times for treatment. During many of those trips, “96 Tears” would come on the radio.
To this day, whenever I hear that song, I think of those days and my mom. To hear it again Saturday morning, while struggling with the decision I never wanted to make, hearing “96 Tears,” for me, was a message from my mom that I was doing what must be done.
The vet agreed after reviewing Lily’s chart and observing her condition.
When “96 Tears” finished, “God Only Knows” by the Beach Boys came on — a song I sang to Lily almost every day — convincing me that Lily was being watched over. I would sing, “God only knows what I’d be without you,” and Lily would listen.
After hearing those two songs back to back, I told Lily that if my favorite song came on next — “Get Together” by The Youngbloods — that I was taking her home because a miracle was happening right then and there. But before the next song played, the hospital opened and in we went.
As I await the return of Lily’s ashes, I have to tell you what happened when I returned to my car Lily-less.
When I started the car to head for home, “Get Together” came on, totally freaking me out. Now I was convinced something was going on — that there was some power at work here. I will believe that forever.
It will be a long time before I will recover from Saturday and losing Lily, my little girl who I sang to every day, held and petted and who I often confided in.
A little bit about Lily — she was never sick a day in her life, having the constitution of her grandfather, William O’Boyle, and the courage and compassion of her grandmother, Elizabeth Kraszewski O’Boyle. Lily also liked to sleep, having special spots on the couch, at the top of the stairs, in the hallway, on her big chair upstairs and next to her dad’s recliner.
Lily liked to look out the windows, often watching birds fly by. She also had a special friend — a male cat in the neighborhood. They would stare at each other through the patio doors on the first floor, never knowing the reality of true love. Lily and her dad shared that non-experience.
Nobody knows the closeness between Lily and me, and she will be missed every moment of every day. Lily would have been 20 on Nov. 6.
As I wrote on the Facebook, “In lieu of flowers, gifts of any kind or anything, Lily asks that all humans cherish your time with your pets and never waste a day with them.”
I learned so much from that little cat. Lily never ever complained about anything, and she always welcomed a scratch on her cheeks, a belly rub and even an occasional kiss, although she probably accepted those because her dad enjoyed them more.
Lily was named after her grandmother’s favorite flower — lily of the valley. She was all white with green eyes and a cute pink nose.
I will miss her always. May she rest in peace.
Reach Bill O’Boyle at 570-991-6118 or on Twitter @TLBillOBoyle, or email at [email protected]