Death in the Family

Well, you may have noticed I haven't been hanging around here too much. This is partly due to some very sad news -- Julius, Steven's companion for the last 19 years, and mine for the last 3, is no more. She put up a valiant fight, and lived life to the fullest for years longer than she had any right.

There are, of course, no words for how horrible it is. Our apartment feels empty, and I catch myself looking for her, closing doors to prevent an escape and checking before rolling over in bed so as not to crush someone no longer there.

Why do we go through with it? Why do we love things destined to be with us such a short time? My brother and I talked about getting a tortoise once, for the sole purpose of its long life -- neither of us deals with this type of loss well. We still shed a tear every now and then over Matthias:

And if I hear Joanna Newsom's Sadie, forget it:

Several months ago I saw this image on The Year in Pictures, and found it deeply moving:

It's by Koos Breujkel, titled Lucien Freud at the Grave of his Dog. It seems a perfect account of loss and longing, a comparatively small loss that is in fact large and all consuming, only reminding us all other losses we have had and will have in the future. You can plumb the mind and learn the meaning of dreams, but a broken heart is still a broken heart.

Or this lovely thing, which Steven and I couldn't bear to see left at the flea market last summer. A beautiful expression of affection to dear dead Topsy:


Given the area we found it and the level of quality, I suspect it is by the John Stevens Shop of Newport, which has been carving markers of great austerity and beauty for 3oo years. It seems the perfect place to have Julius' little stone made; we're thinking of modeling it after Topsy's.

But for Julius, nothing so solemn. I'm suggesting something along these lines:


Have I never mentioned that, the bat? She caught a bat last summer, at night, though deaf and most likely nearly blind. Julius leapt into the air and snatched the poor thing in midflight. How could such a magnificent creature leave us? As Steven said, "But who will catch the mice? And the bats?"

Rest in peace, dear sweet animal.


Allyson said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your kitty! You guys are in my thoughts.

K:ra said...

I'm sorry for your loss. My heart is still recovering from the loss of the family dog last summer, so i know your pain and the trauma.
Cheers to the life well lived by dear Julius.

Mlle Paradis said...

Sorry about Julius. For small animals, they sure occupy a whole lot of space in our lives and our consciousness. The only way to fill the hole they leave for me is to get another one! And then it starts all over.

katie kentucky chambers said...

"But who will catch the mice? And the bats?" actually brought tears to my eyes. My cat, Necco, is fourteen, and I dread the thought that she won't be around to hang out with someday. I'm so sorry for the loss of your little cat.


It is terribly sad and I'm very sorry to hear this. Our animals are pure love and can never replaced.

Nick Heywood said...

Thanks much, everyone, for these kind words.

5lime said...

Thanks Nicky for posting this tribute to Julius. She was my loyal companion as you said for 19 years. I miss her very much. The picture of her with her tongue out you took a few months ago when I was holding her - she had a habit of starting to clean herself or lick her chops after doing something bad and then forgetting to put her tongue back in her mouth - I'll always remember that.

She was quite a little loyal creature I have to say - she'd sleep burrowed with me every night unless we were in a horrible heat wave and then she'd lay on the floor all stretched out playing dead.

I remember when we first got her back in 1991 one of her first actions was to run like a fiend, jump up on my lap while I was eating dinner and grab a mouthful of my spaghetti and run off with it. She was also famous for finding/grabbing little scraps and running off them. She loved turkey and would grab a piece and run off and when I finally caught her she'd hiss at me and try to protect what she thought was her kill. Her favorite things were turkey, bacon, peanut butter (as nick knows) and ice cream. Oh and of course wok water. Whenever we'd cook using a wok she'd jump up on the stove and drink the wok water while we were in the other room eating. We had to put a bell on her.

But for all her little wicked habits she was the sweetest most loyal pet I've ever had. We got her from the shelter along with her sister Bustoff or tubby depending on who you ask (who had passed away years ago).

Julius loved going outside and just chewing grass, she loved fetching golf tees and other small items. She loved our apartment here in Providence and protected it well - catching a bat in flight this year (which were were able to free from her and release outside despite her hissing), and also a mouse.

I am still heartbroken at Julius's passing and I am just glad in the end both nicky and I were there with her.

Anonymous said...

what breed was matthias?

Post a Comment

Thanks for commenting on Nick Haus! I look forward to seeing what you have to say. Unfortunately, I had to stop taking Anonymous comments -- too much spam, too much vituperative. Come out from behind the curtain, ye nasty Anonymous! Everyone else, please, I love to hear from you.

Related Posts with Thumbnails